If after years of studying Spanish your pronunciation still sucks, finding out your "Turquoise Sounds" may help you reduce your gringo accent

Before you waste your time scrolling, there are 3 important things I want you to know.

The first one:

  • I don’t have any official studies related to Teaching Spanish.
  • I don’t speak flawless English, and
  • You may see mistakes in this text.

If this is a problem for you, you shouldn’t continue reading.

The second one:

People who speak good Spanish didn’t born with a special gift for learning languages or a good ear.

That’s a myth.

There’s something anybody with an IQ higher than a fly could start doing right now to speak better Spanish.

I’ll explain what in this page.

The third one:

If you think you’ve already tried everything to improve your pronunciation but you don’t see results, discovering the Turquoise Sounds may be your last bullet. 

And I say “last”, not because there aren’t more options (there are always more options) but because you won’t need them.

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?
– 43.

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!

But the turquoise color wasn’t in the spectrum of colors of this guy.

For him, it was either green or blue.

Not knowing the turquoise color had consequences (not only for him):

  • He asked for the wrong sneakers.
  • He made the busy attendant work double.
  • 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.
  • 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: What's a Turquoise Sound?

Look at the following image.

There’s a green, a blue, and a turquoise sound.

Explanation of the image:

When I heard or pronounce the word  apple” (pronounced [æ]pple), my brain needed to decide whether that first sound was [a] or [e].

[a]pple or [e]pple?

Green or blue?

The turquoise sound [æ] didn’t exist in my brain (so it wasn’t an option).

(Yet).

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?

Why this happens?

Most of the time, we don’t notice the difference between what we say, and the correct pronunciation.

It’s like these colored pencils:

(Do you think they are the same?)

This is the difference between you pronunciation and native pronunciation. Reduce your accent in Spanish

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.

A game to improve your speaking skills

Situation:

If I had never been surrounded by natives, I’d have been the happiest person on earth with my B1 (written/reading) level.

Luckily, that didn’t happen.

Like most people, I studied English

  • at school,
  • in academies, and
  • with private tutors (some of them were native speakers),

After 10 years, (when I started speaking with natives on a daily basis in the USA) I realized that all that people could see, were lots of pronunciation errors that were never corrected.

I was young (and more stubborn than ashamed).

And I wanted to have fun so nothing was not gonna stop me.

What did I do to improve my pronunciation?

I played the following game.

They had fun hearing a foolish Spaniard pronouncing "very easy words" as if I had a speech disorder

When my friends and family didn’t understand me, I asked them to repeat what I said. And I repeated after them, like a parrot.

1, 2, 3…17 times.

Until they told me I did well.

Of course, as adults, we can’t do this with everybody. For most people, it would be boring. Or annoying.

But for me and my friends, it was like a game:

They had fun hearing a foolish Spaniard pronouncing “very easy words” as if I had a speech disorder.

And I had fun mimicking them.

After a couple of weeks of repeating like a parrot -for at least 5 hours a day-, I learned more than in the last years:

I was focused on improving my speaking skills, but I got something else with that game.

2×1.

When I improved my pronunciation, I automatically improved my listening skills

At that time I didn’t know what or which my Turquoise Sounds were.

I just repeated random words and sentences, without focusing on any specific sound.

However, I had a lot of fun, time to practice, and direct feedback from natives all day long.

This is the best way I know to improve your pronunciation and anybody can do it

Listen, repeat, feedback.

It just takes (quite a lot of) time if you do it as I did (repeating random sentences and words, without knowing on what specific sounds you need to focus).

What can you do now?

  • If you have time, or
  • you only learn Spanish for fun,

you may want to try the previous exercise, and repeat random sentences you hear in podcasts, Youtube videos or songs.

Or you can surf the net to find more drills to improve your pronunciation in Spanish.

But

  • if you are a busy person,
  • you think you’ve already tried everything or reached the roof of your pronunciation, or
  • you need Spanish at a professional level (Spanish teacher, international business)…

you may be interested in finding out which are your Turquoise Sounds to go straing to the point.

Will the Pronunciation Diagnosis tell me how well (or bad) I pronounce each of the 33 Spanish Sounds, so that I can practice my Spanish more efficienly and improve faster?

Yes, with a quick look at your Diagnosis you will know exactly:

How accurate is each sound you produce (with colors, charts and percentages), which sounds are screaming for your help to fix them (and stop hearing the annoying “Can you repeat that?”), what is the problem with each one of the sounds…

And stop wasting time by trying to improve your pronunciation “in general” (probably you’re practicing areas you don’t need).


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True story of a dry trip to Costa Rica
(and why this service is called X-Ray: Pronunciation Diagnosis)

A friend went on a trip to Costa Rica, and she fell down.

She couldn’t walk long distances or swim in the sea because she had a cast. It could’ve been worse… – she said to herself.

Until she arrived in Madrid, and they made an X-Ray radiography.

(Ohhh, surprise!!)

The bone was never broken.

She could’ve swum in the sea, visited all the places she had planned, and avoided the muscles of her leg weakening unnecessarily because she didn’t need a cast.

A radiography allows to see the problems you can’t see with the naked eye.

That’s the idea of the X-Ray Pronunciation Diagnosis:

To prevent unnecessary efforts, and make you enjoy your journey while focussing on what you really need.

If you could see a radiography of your pronunciation, what would you see? Do/did you wear an unnecessary cast?


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FAQ

If you have a lot of free time don’t buy. This is a shortcut.

It’s thought for busy people who need feedback from a native to go straight to the point when they practice.

And to have an Before&After picture, like people take do when they start a diet and go to gym. To see where you are, your improvements and keep up your motivation when you see the results.

There is 1 thing you need to do before I can shoot the X-Rays.

You’ll know when you buy.

Don’t worry, they take less than 10 minutes.

For me, it’ll take a little longer (up to 3 working days) since I need to analyze each sound, one by one. Several times. In different contexts.

There are some sounds you always pronounce the same way (be it good or bad).

But there will be other sounds that you may pronounce right or wrong depending on the moment or the sounds around.

By analyzing each sound in different contexts you have a more real diagnosis. You will see (with percentages and visual charts) how accurate you pronounce each of the 33 sounds of Spanish.

And how good you are at joining sounds as natives do.

No.

It’d be strange that you have any doubt about the document, is so visual, that even a Primary-school child could understand it.

In any case, if you have any doubt, just tell me and I’ll explain whatever you need.

The X-Ray Pronunciation Diagnosis doesn’t include exercise corrections.

All you need to know where to focus the next time you practice your Spanish, is in the document.

You’ll find an analysis of each and every sound, how close your pronunciation is to native pronunciation, and whats the problem with each of your broken sounds.

If you need to see how you are improving, you can buy another X Ray Pronunciation Diagnostic in a few months.

Before a doctor decides the correct treatment, he needs to know what is the Diagnosis.

If you want to cure your pronunciation, knowing your Diagnosis is probably a good investment.

Unless you decide not to open the doccument, and put your Pronunciation Diagnosis in the same folder where you save the pictures you have with your ex-girlfriend.

Or you have a lot of time or learn Spanish just for fun.

In that case, don’y buy.


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