Please practice your pronunciation by going to this free site and selecting a topic on the left side:
It is essential that you return to this site many times during the semester to practice your
sounds--and to correct your errors. After a while you will be able to pronounce Spanish correctly
without hearing it, but this will depend on your willingness to exert some initiative on your own.
Please do take it upon yourself to make this your personal project, with the goal of becoming truly
bilingual. The professor and the textbook can only take you so far. The rest is up to you. If you are
going to get really good, you will have to learn more than is contained in any college curriculum
anywhere. Make Hispanic friends, travel, or listen to Hispanic music and watch Spanish or Latin
American movies--anything that exposes you to the language (especially the spoken language).
Work hard but enjoy the journey of learning another language. Spanish will take you many places
you never thought possible.
Your mastery of Spanish will proceed much more rapidly if you spend time on listening and
pronunciation exercises. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS AND MAKE IT THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR
STRATEGY OF STUDYING ON YOUR OWN.
When you do go to this site and click on the topics on the left side, be sure that you also listen and
repeat the sounds given. Language is something that we DO, not merely something that we learn
intellectually. If the best practice for learning a jump shot is shooting jump shots, then the best
practice for learning to speak Spanish is speaking Spanish: please do listen and repeat so that you
can actually use the language. Do not just listen to the sounds. Do not let anyone tell you that you
are a "visual learner" and therefore you will learn better from the written word. You MUST become
an auditory learner, even if that is not your strong suit. You might indeed be a better visual learner,
but do not ever let that fact become an excuse for avoiding practicing your listening and speaking
skills. Language is about sounds, and you learned to speak English before you learned to read it.
Visual learner or not, you became an auditory learner when you learned to speak English. YOU
CAN DO IT. YOU HAVE ALREADY DONE IT WITH ENGLISH. SPANISH PRONUNCIATION IS MUCH
EASIER BY COMPARISON. Therefore, practice sounds and correlate the sounds with letters and
words even before you know what the words mean. This approach will pay many dividends. You
cannot practice too much, because you cannot get too good.
You also need to learn to read and write, of course, but remember that we who teach Spanish at
Livingstone are committed to teaching all four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, not
one without all of the others. PLEASE DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR LISTENING AND SPEAKING
SKILLS. Go to the site and practice the sounds, over and over and over until you get them right
EVERY TIME. Do not be satisfied with anything less than perfection. You will find that the same
letters are always pronounced in a regular fashion, unlike in English, which is really quite a horror.
Notice the various ways of pronouncing ou in the following words: although, through, bough, cough,
enough, etc. You get the idea. That sort of madness NEVER occurs in Spanish. The letters ou are
always pronounced the same (like the sound of ou in "although," as a matter of fact), and you will
find most Spanish words to be very regular in pronunciation. The same patterns come around over
and over and over. There are a finite number of sounds in Spanish--and not that many really. You
need to be familiar with all them and know what patterns of spelling they are associated with.
Please take advantage of the above site. Be aware that there are other sites available on the web,
but not all are reliable. If you are practicing pronunciation, you will progress much faster if you
emulate native speakers. If you find other sites, by all means use them, but be sure that the
speakers are native speakers. My Spanish pronunciation is very good, but you cannot do better
than trying to emulate native speakers.
Please do notice that there are some regional variations in Spanish pronunciation, just as there are
Virtually all Spanish speakers worldwide, from Spain or Latin America, can understand each other
in spite of their regional accents. It is a good idea to be exposed to a variety of different accents.
The site above will often tell you where the speaker is from. After a while you will begin to notice
patterns of accents, just as in different parts of the U.S., Britain, Australia, and Canada. Yes, there
are differences, but usually we English speakers communicate just fine, no matter where we are
from in the world, much less in the U.S. The same is true for Spanish speakers.
Mastery of anything is going to take time and effort. Please commit yourself to this undertaking as a
project of your own, so that your learning goes far, far beyond the minimal requirements for this
Here is the free site once again. Please do go to it frequently from now on--ON YOUR OWN.
Improving your pronunciation is A STANDING DAILY ASSIGNMENT for the rest of the course. You
are responsible for seeing to it that you can pronounce the language and read aloud. We will speak
a lot of Spanish in class, of course, and I will help you with difficult sounds, but there is nothing quite
like the simple maxim, "listen and repeat."
Please start now and do not stop until you can pronounce words correctly the first time, every time.
Everyone of you is capable of doing this, and YOU WILL LEARN THIS WAY. If you take this advice,
all of the other skills (reading and writing) will be easier to master as well. IF YOU PRACTICE
LISTENING AND SPEAKING, YOU CANNOT HELP BUT LEARN THE LANGUAGE. God made you a
natural language learner. You are programmed genetically to learn languages. So, JUST DO IT!
Spanish Pronunciation--and other exercises