One of the first things we learn when we study a foreign language is the alphabet – perfect, we can spell but can you pronounce the letters of the alphabet accurately?
There are different reasons why you have a terrible accent but most of the mispronunciations are the consequence of reading a symbol (letter) and saying it as we’d do in our native language.
And it’s very tough to shut that association (letter-sound) off.
For example, most English natives pronounce the letter B in “la bota” (SP) as the English B in “a boat” (EN) (error!)
Your brain did the effort to learn this association a long time ago, and now, when you see the letter B, you don’t think how to pronounce it.
Your mouth produces the sound automatically.
The problem is that English, Vietnamese, or Spanish native speakers read and pronounce multiple letters in a different way so you’re likely to produce the wrong sound if you speak in Spanish or any other foreign language.
Spanish is not a phonetic language
You probably heard that, in Spanish, we pronounce the words as we spell them.
It’s a lie.
Some people may disagree and they will say “Spanish is a phonetic language” -and they’re quite right. Nonetheless, less than half of the letters of the Spanish alphabet are always pronounced the way they’re written.
- The Spanish alfabeto has 27 letters.
- There are, at least, 33 sounds in (European/Castillian) Spanish, so
- Some letters are pronounced in 2 -or more- different ways, and
- Some letters are pronounced the same way.