Spanish Vowel Combinations

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

1.5 Vowel CombosThis is our final video on Spanish pronunciation!  In it, I talked about the common vowel combinations in Spanish.

In Spanish no vowel makes the long “gliding” sounds like some of our English vowels do. (Note how when we say the letter A, we start out with an “eh” sound and glide into an “ee” sound. With I, we start out with “ah” and glide into “ee.”   With U, we start out saying “ee” and glide to “oo.”)  These kinds of gliding double sounds are called diphthongs, and in Spanish they require two vowels to make, because each vowel always only makes one sound in Spanish. Listen to the Spanish names in this video to see how the vowels are combined.  CLICK HERE to watch this mini-lesson!


Spanish Accent Marks and What to Do About Them

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

1.4 Accent marksAre you confused by accent marks? There are some general methods for pronouncing Spanish words with and without accent marks–knowing which part of the word to place the emphasis on. The basic rules are:

1. If a Spanish word ends in a vowel, N, or S, emphasis is placed on the second-to-last syllable in the word, regardless of how long the word is. (more…)

Pronouncing the Letters C, G, and Q in Spanish

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

1.3 CQG

I’ve just finished the next video in our lesson on Spanish pronunciation:  The Letters C, Q, and G.

Here are the basics:

The C has a hard version (pronounced like a K) and a soft version (pronounced like an S), much like English does. The C is soft when it is followed by E or I.  It sounds like “say,” or “see.”


Pronouncing Long Spanish Words

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

long-wordsSometimes as I am teaching new words and phrases, I see my students’ eyes get wide when we come to long words.  Do you have trouble pronouncing the longer Spanish words?  You’re not alone!  Here’s a tip to help you master the lengthier palabras (words): (more…)

Pronouncing Consonants in Spanish

Friday, May 31st, 2013

1.2 ConsonantsMost of the Spanish consonants are pronounced almost exactly the same way as they are pronounced in English, with only subtle differences.  However, there are a few consonants that are different enough that they are worth spending a little time getting to know.  The main ones are:

H – silent in Spanish.  You pronounce the word as though the letter were not even there.  For example, the word “hora” is pronounced “ora.”


Pronouncing Spanish Vowels

Monday, May 27th, 2013

1.1 VowelsWelcome to Swift Spanish lesson number one!  The first lesson is on pronunciation, and I’ll break it into several parts.  The first part is on the proper pronunciation of the Spanish vowels–A, E, I, O, and U.  They are pronounced “ah,” “eh,” “ee,” “oh,” and “oo” respectively. The important thing to remember is that each vowel only has one sound (unlike some of our English vowels, which can start out with one sound and “glide” into another sound).  Also, Spanish vowels are always pronounced the same way–there are no “long” and “short” vowels like we have in English.  A is always “ah,” E is always “eh,” and so on.

CLICK HERE to enjoy the video; I hope you learn something new!


Spanish Pronunciation

Friday, May 24th, 2013

1 IntroductionAre you scared to speak Spanish because your American accent will make you look silly?  Don’t worry.  We all know some people who speak English with an accent and for the most part, as long as they are understandable, it is charming!   The most important thing to keep in mind when learning a second language is that, unless you’re studying to be an undercover spy, having no accent is not nearly so important as being able to simply speak the language clearly enough to communicate your message.  That is certainly the case for most people who want to learn Spanish for work.  If you can be understood by the person you’re trying to communicate your message to, that’s all that matters.  Watch my brief introduction to my first FREE Spanish lesson on Pronunciation.  It’s in Spanish, with English subtitles (for the benefit of anyone who would like to hear a sample of me speaking in Spanish).  CLICK HERE to watch the video.