If after years of studying Spanish your pronunciation still sucks, finding out your "Turquoise Sounds" may help you reduce your gringo accent
(only for subscribers)
A pronunciation lesson I learned while a man was buying a pair of sneakers
A man entered a shop.
He wanted to buy a pair of sneakers to match his hoodie. He looked around, and immediately, he felt in love with a pair exhibited on the wall.
– Can I try those green sneakers on? – he asked the shop attendant.
– Sure, what size?
The shop attendant searched and gave him a box.
The man opened the box.
– Excuse me, these are not the sneakers I asked for.
The attendant, confused said:
– I’m sorry, these are the only green sneakers we have.
The man walked away, took one of the sneakers he saw on the wall, and showed it to her.
– Ahhhh!!! This!!! – she laughed. – This is turquoise!
For this man, it was either green or blue.
Turquoise wasn’t in his spectrum of colors.
2. He made the busy attendant work double.
3. He also made an extra effort to stand up, go to grab the sneaker he meant, and come back to show it to the lady.
4. Although the lady was very kind, he felt awkward when she pointed out the right color of the sneaker.
Something similar happens inside our brain when we speak a foreign language with a thick accent
Turquoise sounds are...
- those sounds you aren’t aware of or don’t pronounce properly when you speak,
- that give you aways as a gringo, and
- make the conversation hard to follow.
So when we say words that contained any of our turquoise sounds, we often get that look that says…
"I have no idea what you're trying to say"
Why this happens?
Most of the time, we don’t notice a big difference between what we say, and the correct pronunciation.
It’s like these colored pencils:
(Do you think they are the same?)
Probably you didn’t see that all of them, except for one, are different.
Because the difference is very subtle.
But what may look almost the same in isolation, could show up totally different when we draw.
And the same happens with our pronunciation.
Unfortunately, Diagnosing your Turquoise Sounds is only available for subscribers.
If you want to have meaningful conversation in Spanish and get to connect with natives, I send emails with:
- Tips on how to reduce your accent,
- Stories that could teach you something about pronunciation, and
- Curiosities about Spanish culture, slang and IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet: those strange symbols that represent different sounds, so that you can read any word like a native).
There is 1 thing (almost) everybody does every time they practice their Spanish.
It’s a small detail, with a huge impact, making their thick accent harder to shake off with each passing day.
You don’t believe me?
But if you change that tiny detail, your pronunciation will improve (at least) twice as fast.
Anyway, very few people will put it into practice.
Because it’s difficult?
Not at all.
But it’s something that, even if it seems so obvious when you hear about it, we aren’t used to doing.
(And we all know how powerful habits are).
You still don’t believe me?
Our parents told us not to take any sweets from unknown people.
You shouldn’t believe me, or anyone, or anything until you know.
To know that tiny detail that could have a huge impact on your Spanish, it’s below.
Once you know it, you decide what to do with the information.