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Lesson Transcript


JP: Hello folks! This is Lesson 3 of the Pronunciation series. My name is JP.
Fernando: Hola a todos, yo soy Fernando.
JP: Hey Fernando, como te va, how is it going?
Fernando: Muy bien. So, today in Lesson 3, we’re gonna present some exotic sounds.
JP: Oh yeah, exotic sounds?
Fernando: Yes. These are sounds that appear in Spanish but not in English.
JP: All right. So, where are we gonna start?

Lesson focus

Fernando: Let’s start with J.
JP: J. Okay, this is written like the English letter “j” but it makes the English “j” sound.
Fernando: Never. J makes thes the -j sound like in jalar.
JP: jalar
Fernando: ojo
JP: ojo
Fernando: reloj
JP: Oeloj. Okay. Now Fernando, You’re using the Mexican pronunciation, right, which is forward in the mouth. In Spain, your Spanish friends will make the same sound, but it comes from further back in the mouth, so it sounds like a thick [j] so they would say jalar, ojo. Fernando, show us again how Mexican people say ojo.
Fernando: Ojo. The Mexican way is more forward.
JP: And the European way is more throaty, right, so…
Fernando: They probably say ojo.
JP: Ojo, right. So, you got Spain [j], and you got Mexican [j] and then you got the Carribean version which sounds just like the letter “h,” right? So they would say ojo, ojo. So this is every time you see the letter -j, the letter “j.”
Fernando: Yes. Also, the letter “g” when followed by “-i” or “-e,” so gel, angel, girafa. Those are all letter “g.”
JP: Okay, gel, angel, girafa. So the “j” and the “g” both make the sound, right?
Fernando: Right.
JP: Okay. So now, speaking of letter “g”
Fernando: We should be saying it in Spanish, no, G.
JP: G. Okay, speaking of G, we should mention that besides making the -j sound, G has two more varieties. So, you’re gonna hear the hard [g] like the English “grief,” “good grief,” right? That’s a hard [g]. “Good grief” has a hard [g].
Fernando: Yes, exactly! So in Spanish, you can hear that hard [g] after a consonant like engañar, desgracia.
JP: And there’s also a not so hard -g right that’s more continuous.
Fernando: I’d say hago, la gota, agarrar.
JP: That’s kind of in-between -g, right? It’s definitely harder than gel, but it’s not as hard as engañar and it’s not as hard as the American hard [g].
Fernando: You know, if you use an American hard [g], we’ll still understand.
JP: Okay. So if I say hago, you could still understand me.
Fernando: Exactly.
JP: So it won’t create any misunderstanding, but it’s something to listen for, right? Hago, la gota, agarrar.
Fernando: Exactly. So, the next topic, Y and LL.
JP: Okay, now, here is the deal, in Spanish, the “y,” i griega is “y” and -ll which is a double “ll,” they’re usually pronounced the same. However, in Spanish, there’s a wide range of what is acceptable because it’s not really like in American “y” or a “ll,” correct? So it’s actually -y and -ll, so you can’t have this expectation that they’re all gonna behave like English letters. So just to warn you, you might hear Spanish speakers saying yo me llamo and you might hear them saying [yo me llamo] and you might hear [yo me llamo], right with a hard [j] as in judge. I, as a speaker of English perceive [yo] and [jo] and [ju] as radically different sounds, but the speakers in Spanish…
Fernando: To me, they’re just varieties of the same sound.
JP: Okay. Now, is one more correct than the other? Is it better to say [yo] than [jo]?
Fernando: Not really, I’m from Northern Mexico, so you’re more than likely to hear me say yo me llamo like a straight “y.”
JP: All right. I’ve also heard a hard [j] sound from a Mexican as well, right, because my Spanish prof in college was from Guadalajara and she said [jo] every once in a while.
Fernando: Yeah, it’s not that big a deal. Argentinian people say [jo], yo me llamo, Yuillermo.
JP: Right and they have that accent too. Kind of sounds like dracula.
Fernando: Ay, those Argentinos.
JP: Okay Fernando, we got one more exotic sound, right?
Fernando: Yes, ñ.
JP: ñ. Now, for those of you who are looking at the lesson notes, it’s the “n” with the squiggle above it that makes that [nya] sound, right? And you can start a syllable with it.
Fernando: Mañana, España.
JP: Mañana, España, right? Now, that’s the -ñ. Is there anything else?


Fernando: No, that’s it for today.
JP: Cool, let’s wrap it up. What do we have to look forward to?
Fernando: Well, coming up, we’ve got a podcast on more regional differences and another podcast about how to roll your “r.”
JP: Okay. So, we’re gonna look forward to those topics in subsequent podcasts. For now, it’s time to go, so hasta luego!
Fernando: Bye!