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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Spanish.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Lia
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Spanish pronunciation.
Accents &Dialects
Spanish is a rich language that's decorated with a wide variety of accents and dialects. Since accents and dialects play a huge role in pronunciation, let's take a more detailed look at the different types of accents and dialects of Spanish from around the world.
First off, an accent is just a particular way of pronouncing words, like “tomato” or “tomato.” They may sound slightly different from one another, but all the rules that govern their use in the language are essentially the same.
Dialects, on the other hand, may branch off from the standard language by differing in grammar, word order, and of course, pronunciation as well. Therefore, it's generally harder to understand a dialect than an accent.
First, let's make some distinctions as to how we refer to the Spanish language. First: Español. Español is generally used to refer to the "Spanish language" as a super group; this includes ALL varieties of Spanish spoken in Spain and internationally.
Beneath that is Castilian, which is the actual term used to exclusively refer to the Spanish spoken in Spain.
Castilian, Mexican Spanish, Argentinian
Mexican Spanish is a dialect of Spanish that is spoken in Mexico. Unsurprisingly, due to its proximity to the USA, Mexican Spanish uses far more English words than other dialects of Spanish.
Another example, which we mentioned in the previous episode, is Argentinian. Argentinian is another dialect of Spanish spoken in Argentina, and it closely resembles Italian because a huge wave of Italians migrated to Argentina during the 20th century. So Argentinian actually sounds a bit like Italian.
Pace is a very important aspect of Spanish, because it varies greatly depending on the dialect of Spanish spoken.
Spanish is almost renowned for being a fast-paced language.
The pace greatly depends on the region, however, as people in Mexico and some South American countries, generally speak slower than speakers from Spain.
In some Spanish-speaking countries, it's common practice to shorten words. For example, words ending in an "s" will instead have the final vowel prolonged. Casas for instance, would be pronounced casaa.
We also mentioned before that some dialects of Spanish are influenced by other languages such as Italian and English. Mexican Spanish uses a lot of English words - and English being considered a slower paced language - slows down the pace of the language, and that's one of the reasons Mexican Spanish is slower than the Spanish spoken in Spain.
The pace of Spanish, then, depends greatly on the dialect of Spanish.
English vs. Spanish sounds
For the most part, English and Spanish share a lot of the same sounds which generally correspond to the same letters.
Thankfully, learning Spanish pronunciation is much easier than English pronunciation. Learning English is more a matter of memorization and practice, whereas Spanish is a combination of learning and practice. It takes much much longer for a student to learn English pronunciation than Spanish pronunciation.
That's because there are many more irregular pronunciations of words in English than there are in Spanish.
Take these words for example:
The first word is pronounced colonel, not co-lo-nel.
The second word is pronounced arise. Adding an N however, doesn't give you a-rise-n but arisen.
The last word is pronounced eight, but adding an H doesn't give you h-eight. Instead, it becomes height.
Spanish, on the other hand, can mostly be pronounced as it's read.
Almendra (“almond”)
The word Almendra, meaning “almond”, is pronounced Al - MEN- dra. It's pronounced exactly the same as it's written.
The same thing happens with the word Carretera, meaning “road”:
it's pronounced Ca- rre - te -ra. Exactly how it's written.
That's a good example, which demonstrates sounds that do not exist in English.
That's right. The double RR here, is a rolled R. It can be a little tricky for some learners.
Another common word is perro, meaning “dog”:
The trick is to build pressure at the point of contact, using the tip of your tongue to contact the top teeth and gum ridge, and then releasing the pressure quickly by flicking the tongue up and back. When you release the pressure, allow only the smallest amount of air to pass through, so that a tiny passage opens and closes rapidly. This should cause the tongue to vibrate or "roll" correctly.
Try again.
Well done! Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned about accents and dialects in Spanish, that the spoken pace depends on the dialect, and that Spanish is mostly pronounced as it's written.
We've covered only the basics of Spanish pronunciation. If you're interested in learning more, check out the entire course we created named "The Ultimate Guide to Spanish Pronunciation.” In that course, we cover and break down every single sound in Spanish, showing you mouth and tongue positioning, and giving you tips to help you perfect your Spanish pronunciation.
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of Spanish grammar, where you'll learn how to form sentences and ask questions in Spanish!
See you in the next lesson. Bye!