Jane Cronin’s Spanish language

JANE CRONIN
Spanish courses and Talks about Spain
Torrevieja, San Pedro del Pinatar and Camposol, Mazarrón.
Tel: 968 18 32 58 www.janecronin.eu

Z

December 23rd, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

Well, here we are at the final letter of the alphabet!   The letter Z, which is called “ceta”, is pronounced the same as the letter C when it is found before an E or an I, that is as a soft, unvoiced “th” sound.  The Z is always spoken in this way in standard European Spanish, although in South American Spanish it is pronounced as an S, as it is in some areas of Spain, notably Andalucía. […]

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Y

November 27th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

If you think about the letter Y in English, it actually has a dual function.  Sometimes it is a vowel, as in the word “pretty”, and sometimes it is a consonant, as in the word “yellow”.   If you think about it even more and listen carefully to how your mouth forms the sounds, you may even notice that the Y vowel and consonant in English are actually very similar.  For example, if you were to say “iellow” instead of “yellow”, the sound would come out the same.  A very similar relationship exists between the two uses of Y in Spanish.  It can be a consonant, in which case it sounds like the English consonant Y, as in the word “ya” (now) or “yo” (I).  In other instances the Y acts like a vowel, substituting the letter “I” as in the word for ‘and’, which consists of the single letter Y. […]

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W and X

October 26th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

The letter W is not actually a native Spanish letter.  The name of it in the Spanish alphabet is “uvedoble” and the few times it does appear it is pronounced in the same way as the “uve” or V – that is, as a soft B sound.  All the words in Spanish containing W are imported words.  For example, we have “whisky”, “walkman”, “walki-talki”, and “windsurf” and that’s about the lot!  I suppose we could now add to that the commercial name “Windows” which will inevitably sound like “bindows”. […]

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V

September 27th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

The pronunciation of the letter V is identical to that of the letter B in modern standard Spanish.  Once you have accepted this fact, it makes life a whole lot easier.  People seem to worry excessively about the pronunciation of their B’s and V’s and I often find students staring at my mouth and pouncing on any slight variation they might detect!!  Sometimes during speech the movement of one’s mouth can vary slightly, but the fact of the matter remains that B’s and V’s are the same!  They are both pronounced like a soft, lazy English B.  Variations within that sound from lips being fully closed to being slightly parted are equally well understood, and you will find this variation amongst native Spanish speakers as well. […]

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U

August 29th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

The Letter U We have made it to our fifth vowel in the alphabet and like the other vowels, the U has a single clear sound, this time made with the lips rounded and protruding.  If you remember how Frankie Howard used to say “ooooh”, but then cut the sound short, you may get the right idea!  That isn’t the whole story about the pronunciation of the U though, as there are three instances in which it is actually silent, which are as follows: […]

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T

July 30th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

The letter T represents one of those soft consonant sounds in Spanish.   With very few exceptions, Spanish consonants are softer than English ones, and become increasingly soft when the language is spoken at speed. […]

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S

June 18th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

The Letter S There’s good news about the letter S.  It’s pronounced the same as in English!  The only thing that needs pointing out about it is that the sound is the same as the English unvoiced S, that is, the sound we might make when imitating a snake, and not the English voiced S which is the same as a “Z” sound. […]

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R

June 1st, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

With the letter R we come to the second sound in the Spanish alphabet that causes particular difficulties for native English speakers, the first being that pesky “ge” and “j” made in the throat. […]

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Q

April 27th, 2012|Categories: Jane Cronin’s Spanish language|

The letter Q in Spanish does exactly the same thing as it does in English, that is, it always appears in combination with the letter U.  However, the pronunciation in the two languages is different.  Whereas in English “qu” makes a “kw” sound, in Spanish it makes just the “k” sound alone. […]

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