Pronunciation Problems For Spanish-Speaking Learners Of English (2022)

Although a strong Spanish accent is usually easier to understand than a similarly strong French or Portuguese one, the pronunciation can cause considerable strain for the listener and seem somewhat harsh and flat. More importantly, Spanish speakers often have listening comprehension far below their other skills.

School English lessons in most Spanish-speaking countries also tend to focus much more on reading and grammar than speaking and listening, and so pronunciation work will both help redress the balance and be considered worthwhile by students.

This article will focus mainly on pronunciation problems that cause miscomprehension, including some attempt to prioritise the entries in each section. The sections themselves are arranged more traditionally, starting with individual sounds.

Points That Spanish-Speaking Learners Of English Find Difficult

Vowels

Short and long vowel pairs

Perhaps the single biggest pronunciation problem for Spanish speakers is that their language does not have a distinction between short and long vowels. They often stretch all vowel sounds out too much and confuse pairs of short and long English vowel sounds like “ship” and “sheep” both in comprehension and speaking. Relevant pairs include:

  • bit/beat
  • not/note and not/nought
  • batter/barter
  • pull/pool

As the pairs above are all pronounced with different mouth positions as well as different lengths, focusing on that can help students distinguish between the minimal pairs above even if they don’t fully get the hang of vowel length.

Other vowels

In common with most learners, Spanish speakers find the distinction between the very similar sounds in “cat” and “cut” difficult to notice and produce. Perhaps more importantly, they can also have problems with the two closest sounds to an “o” sound in “not” mentioned above, making “boat” and “bought” difficult to distinguish. The unstressed schwa “er” sound in “computer” does not exist in Spanish, and neither do the closest long sounds in “fur” and “her”. Spanish speakers tend to find it much more difficult to recognise not rhotic versions of vowel sounds.

Consonants

Words written with “b” and “v” are mostly pronounced identically, making this perhaps the most common spelling mistake in Spanish. There is also no distinction between the first sounds in “yacht” and “jot” in Spanish and which of those two sounds is perceived by English speakers tends to depend on the variety of Spanish spoken (this being one of the easiest ways of spotting an Argentinean accent, for example). There may also be some confusion between the first sound in “jeep” and its unvoiced equivalent in “cheap” (a common sound in Spanish).

The “ch” in “cheese” may also be confused with the “sh” in “she’s”, as the latter sound does not exist in Spanish. The difference is similar to that between “yacht” and “jot” mentioned above, being between a smooth sound (sh) and a more explosive one (ch), so the distinction can usefully be taught as a more general point. Alternatively, the “sh” in “sheep” may come out sounding more like “s” in “seep”, in which case it is mouth shape that needs to be worked on.

Spanish words never start with an “s” sound, and words which are similar to English tend to have an initial “es” sound instead, as in escuela/school. This is very common in Spanish speakers’ pronunciation of English as well, leading to pronunciations like “I am from Espain”. Spanish speakers have no problem producing a hissing sound, so the secret is to have them make the word directly after that “ssss” and then practise reducing the length of that down to a short initial “s”.

Unlike most languages, the “th” sounds in “thing” and “bathe” do exist in Spanish. The problem with “bathe” is that the sound is just a variation on mid or final “d” for Spanish speakers and so some work on understanding the distinction between initial “d” and initial “th” is usually needed before it can be understood and produced in an initial position – in fact making the amount of work needed not much less than for speakers of languages entirely without this sound. The problem with “thing” and “sing” is different as it is a distinction that exists in some varieties of Spanish and not others, meaning that again for some speakers practice will need to start basically from zero.

Some speakers also pronounce a final “d” similar to an unvoiced “th”. “d” and “t” can also be a problem at the end of words, as can “thing”/“think” and sometimes “thing”/“thin” or even “ring” and “rim”. In general, Spanish consonant sounds vary more by position than English consonants do.

(Video) English Pronunciation Problems and Mistakes Spanish Speakers Make

Although a “w” sound exists in Spanish, it is spelt “gu” and can be pronounced “gw”, sometimes making it difficult to work out if a “g” or “w” is what is meant.

As a “z” is pronounced as “s” or “th” (depending on the speaker, as in the two pronunciations of “Barcelona”), a “z” sound does not exist in Spanish. However, perhaps because not so much air is produced in a Spanish “s” I find that this version rarely produces comprehension problems.

Although a Spanish “r” is different from most English ones, it rarely causes comprehension problems. However, the English “r” can seem so soft to Spanish speakers that it is sometimes perceived as “w”.

The Spanish “j” in José (similar to the Scottish “ch” in “loch”) and the English “h” in “hope” rarely if ever cause communication problems, but is perhaps the main thing to work on if students are interested in accent reduction. An English “h”is like breathing air onto your glasses so you can polish them, and students can actually practise doing that to help.

Spanish doesn’t have the soft, French-sounding sound from the middle of “television” and “pleasure”, but this rarely if ever causes comprehension problems.

Number of syllables

Particularly when it comes to final consonant clusters in English, Spanish-speakers can suffer both from adding extra syllables (e.g. three syllables for “advanced” with the final “e” pronounced) and swallowing sounds to make it match the desired number of syllables (e.g. “fifths” sounding like “fiss”). With words that are similar in Spanish and English, they can also often try to make the English word match the Spanish number of syllables.

Word stress

Trying to make Latinate words in English match Spanish pronunciation is also true for word stress. There is also a more general problem that Spanish, unlike English, has a pretty regular system of word stress.

Sentence stress

Spanish is sometimes described as a “syllable-timed” language, basically meaning that each syllable takes up about the same amount of time. This means that the English idea of unstressed syllables and weak forms being squashed in between stressed syllables doesn’t really exist in Spanish. This can make it difficult for Spanish speakers to pick out and point out the important words in a sentence.

Intonation

Spanish speakers, especially males, can sound quite flat in English, and this can cause problems in formal situations and other times when polite language is needed (especially as Spanish speakers also have other problems with polite language such as over-use of the verb “give”).

Alphabet

The names and pronunciations of the letters of the alphabet in Spanish can cause confusions between these pairs in both listening and speaking, e.g.

  • A/E
  • A/R
  • E/I
  • C/K
  • G/J

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.NET July 2012
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers
© TEFL.NET

(Video) Aprende inglés: 10 common Spanish speaker mistakes

  • Alex Case says:

    I don’t know enough about Mexican Spanish to be sure about all Omar’s points, but there are several points which make me doubt that my points on sh and ch should be changed. For me, the Argentinian pronunciation of ll sounds much more like the j in “jeep” or the middle sound in “television”, which are both voiced sounds and so unlike sh. If it can also be an unvoiced sh sound in Argentinian Spanish, that just makes a different problem with confusing the English sh and other sounds.

    I’m not so sure about this one (as it’s 20 years since I lived in Spain, studied Spanish and lived with Cubans and a Mexican), but the way I remember it a Spanish Spanish “shhhh” for “quiet please” often sounded to me like something between an English sh and an English s or ch, meaning that it was not necessarily a distinct, distinguishable sound. I don’t remember any of Omar’s examples of borrowed words being used in Spain, but the “champu” for “shampoo” that Nicola mentioned is very common.

  • Nicole Neira says:

    Well, Omar, you made a strong point about the existence and clear distinction of the sounds “ch” and “sh” and mentioned that Mexico has the highest number of Spanish speakers, where this doesn’t occur.
    Let me tell you that I know many people that say “champu” or “suchi” from many different latin American countries. Now, I’m not exactly sure why that is, but there is such a thing in Spanish and perhaps they have the same issue in English. If anyone knows why, please let me know,thanks!

  • Omar Zarzour says:

    Interesting but misleading since this might only apply to Spanish speakers from Spain and not even that. Mexico has 123 982 528 Spanish speakers which makes it number 1 of Spanish speakers in the world, then the USA with 57 398 719, Spain has only 46 659 302. Spanish language should include all the countries in which it is spoken and all its varieties. With that being said, I do not agree with the following:

    The “ch” in “cheese” may also be confused with the “sh” in “she’s”, as the latter sound does not exist in Spanish.

    In Spanish, THERE IS A CLEAR DISTINCTION BETWEEN THESE TWO SOUNDS in words such as chango, chancla, mochila for /ch/, for the /sh/ sound, it is always used when you want to ask for silence by saying ¡shh! or foreign words that everyone knows like flash de la cámara, el show del circo, short (pantalones cortos) Just listen to people from Argentina and their lignuistic phenomena of /sh/ sounds called yeísmo rehilado. It is super common for them to use the /sh/ sound for words such as yo, ello, vainilla, and pretty much all y´s or LL´s.

  • Carlos Alberto says:

    Thank you very much !

  • Awad Osman says:

    Excellent article. Is there a book on this?

  • Leonel Quesada says:

    Alex, I’m from Cuba and the borrowed words having sound /w/ are pronounced with /g/.

  • Leonel Quesada says:

    Thanks for your analysis, it will be of Paramount importance to provide corrective techniques to correct such errors. I’m working on it right now.

    (Video) Improving the English Accent Pronunciation Problems of Spanish Speakers

  • Ros says:

    In fact, this article would only help Spanish speakers of English with listening comprehension problems if it included video/audio examples.
    Still, it might be useful for some native speakers of English teaching in Spain. Thanks for the summary, though

  • Franco Briones says:

    Hello, I wanted to know if by any chance you have the references or bibliography from which ou retrieved the information, thanks in advance.

  • Alex Case says:

    My list of minimal pairs for Spanish speakers now up here:
    https://tefltastic.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/minimal-pairs-for-spanish/ (linking to the most relevant of my minimal pair lists on TEFL.net’s sister site)

  • Alex Case says:

    Thanks Arnold, that’s a good point which I would definitely add if there was an edit function…

    I’m not sure that I agree with Janet’s point that a Spanish “w” in borrowed words sounds just like an English “w”. In fact, when I lived in Spain in the weekly comic El Jueves cartoonists often deliberately misspelled such words with “gu” in words like “gueekend”. It’s true that a U sometimes just makes a hard “G” as in “guerilla”, but that isn’t really related to my point about the /w/ sound.

  • Áine says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for this article.

    Just to let you know people who are resident/native to Liverpool are known as Liverpudlians. There is a more common term for them, but this is both the polite and correct option (the other is less polite and more common among the locals, so it’s not advised that you use the other term unless you are also from Liverpool).

  • Kristin says:

    Very helpful, thanks!

  • Liz says:

    the information here is very helpful.
    IJust as a recmmendation it would be even moe usuefl to know the sources of your concepts so that we have research more deeply

  • Marcelo Bernal says:

    Please do not confuse more to Spanish speaking people. To the end, what matters most in dealing with people is effective communication. Pronunciation depends on numerous variables. When I was a student in a TESOL masters´ program, I was freed from this pronunciation issue, when I saw two native American classmates arguing over what the right pronunciation of picture is. The one stated that ¨picture¨ is pronounced as ¨pitcher¨ and the other one disagreed utterly. Two native Americans were arguing over the pronunciation of a simple word. Picture yourself.

    (Video) THE SECRET TO ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION FOR SPANISH SPEAKERS

    Let´s go beyond these artificialities and communicate one another without pointing on mispronouncing issues. Americans, African Americans, Italian-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Argentineans, Cubans, Irish, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Londoners, Liverpoolers (?), Hispanics, Chinese, Japanese and so on do not have the best pronunciation because every brain is different. We must do all the best to communicate with each other peacefully and gracefully. That matters to me! The long e, the short e, the schwa, the alveolar r, the th sound, v vs. b, sh vs. ch sounds is simply a distraction that affects communication.

    To reflect on pronunciation:
    https://espanol.video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-iba-1&hsimp=yhs-1&hspart=iba&p=life+is+simple+ted+talk#id=1&vid=bc0b5bbf99373329e505606402195548&action=click

    How did this person manage to be a speaker in a tedtalk? I assume the TedTalk team and Jon Jandai did not worry much about pronunciation. They simply focused on communicating ideas, opinions, and wisdom to other people.

  • Arnold Kapleau says:

    You state: “Spanish words never start with an “s” sound, and words which are similar to English tend to have an initial “es” sound instead, as in escuela/school.”

    This is not totally accurate. There are many Spanish words that start with S, such as sombrero, solo, salir, etc. I think what you meant to say is that there are no Spanish words that start with S followed by a consonant, such as school, sport, smart, stop. These tend to be pronounced by hispanoparlantes as eschool, esport, esmart, estop.

  • Jack McDougall says:

    Outstanding article

  • Janet says:

    Interesting article, but as a native Spanish speaker I disagree with some points. For example:

    “Although a “w” sound exists in Spanish, it is spelt “gu” and can be pronounced “gw”, sometimes making it difficult to work out if a “g” or “w” is what is meant.”

    The w sound doesn’t exist really in Spanish, the letter exists in the alphabet but all words are not really Spanish, and it is pronounced just the same as in English.

    The sound of the letter ‘g’ is the same as in English in the word ‘gun’ when before a and o. And the same as an English ‘h’ before e and i. The ‘u’ after ‘g’ is muted if it’s followed by e or i, and sounds like g in ‘gun’.

  • Renee says:

    This website is very helpful. Could you please provide some examples the pairs of letters that cause confusion for Spanish speakers learning to speak English? (under the heading “Alphabet.”) Thank you!

    (Video) Pronunciation Problems of Spanish & Portuguese Speakers of English- English with Ryan- PTE with Ryan

  • FAQs

    What are the main pronunciation problems for Spanish speakers of English? ›

    Perhaps the single biggest pronunciation problem for Spanish speakers is that their language does not have a distinction between short and long vowels. They often stretch all vowel sounds out too much and confuse pairs of short and long English vowel sounds like “ship” and “sheep” both in comprehension and speaking.

    How do you teach English pronunciation to Spanish speakers? ›

    All right the first sound for Spanish speakers to master their English pronunciation is the letter O

    What do Spanish students struggle with in English? ›

    Those who speak Spanish have trouble with English spelling, coming as they do from a more phonetic system. The different ways to spell the same sound in English can cause problems, as in words like “tough” and “fluff.” The large number of vowel sounds and diphthongs are also troublesome.

    Why is English so difficult for Spanish speakers? ›

    Vowel sounds

    Different languages encourage us to place our tongues in different positions to make the correct sounds. There are a number of sounds present in English that don't even exist in Spanish. For example, there are only twelve vowel sound positions in Spanish versus nineteen in English.

    What are the common errors in pronunciation? ›

    Here's a list of the most common errors of this type: au in English is pronounced as /ɔː/ (as “aw” in “law”), not as /au/, as in many other languages; for example “auto-” is pronounced /ɔːtə/, as in “autobiography” /ˌɔtəbaɪˈɒgrəfi/ (aw-tə-by-ogg-rə-fee) and “autopsy” /ˈɔːtɒpsi/ (aw-top-see).

    How can I improve my pronunciation in Spanish? ›

    Tips for a perfect Spanish pronunciation
    1. #1 Read and talk. The first rule to learn to read in Spanish with the correct pronunciation is to read aloud. ...
    2. #2 Accent and intonation. ...
    3. #3 Pay attention to the position of your tongue. ...
    4. #4 Talk to a native speaker. ...
    5. Vowels. ...
    6. Diphthongs. ...
    7. StudySpanish.com. ...
    8. SpanishDict.
    18 Oct 2021

    Why do some Spanish speakers not pronounce s? ›

    Since there's no Z (as in zoo) in Spanish, the Z sound is often misplaced with an S, especially when it appears in the middle or end of words. The Z is the voiced pair of the S consonant sound. Basically, they are pronounced the same, except that for the fact that with the Z sound, the vocal cords are vibrating.

    Why do Spanish speakers add E in front of S? ›

    Senior Member. As Juandiego has said, the reason why Spanish speakers tend to add an e before "s + consonant" is that clusters of the form "s + consonant" are not allowed by the phonotactics of Spanish at the start of words. The phonology of a language is not just a collection of sounds.

    How can I teach English to Spanish speakers online? ›

    Top 5 Companies to Teach English Online to Spanish Students
    1. #1.) Preply.
    2. #2.) Cambly.
    3. #3.) italki.
    4. #4.) Verbalplanet.
    5. #5.) Open English.

    What are some pronunciation differences that may pose challenges? ›

    The Top 5 Pronunciation Problems and How to Fix Them
    • Stressing individual words incorrectly. ...
    • Stressing the wrong words in a sentence. ...
    • Pronouncing certain consonant sounds incorrectly. ...
    • Mixing up short and long vowel sounds. ...
    • Forgetting to finish your words.
    1 Mar 2011

    What is the hardest language for Spanish speakers to learn? ›

    Mandarin Chinese

    It is perhaps the language that offers the greatest difficulties. In fact, Mandarin is not only difficult for Latinos, but it is perhaps the most difficult to learn worldwide.

    What sounds are different in Spanish and English? ›

    Here are a few differences between Spanish and English: The consonants: v, ll, h, j, r, rr, z, ñ, x. Combinations in Spanish that are pronounced differently: que, qui, güe, güi.

    Is English easier to learn for Spanish speakers? ›

    This pick should come as no surprise. Spanish has always been a go-to language for English speakers to learn due to its practicality and wide reach. Well, it's also one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers.

    What is the easiest language for a Spanish speaker to learn? ›

    Portuguese is one of the easiest languages for Spanish speakers to learn, mainly due to the similarities between the two languages. They both have Latin roots and use similar grammar structures.

    Is Spanish more complex than English? ›

    This is where Spanish gets significantly more complicated than English. Spanish has 14 complete paradigms for verbs– seven simple tenses, and seven compound tenses.

    What are three pronunciation errors that learners make? ›

    Students' pronunciation errors are also classified into three types. Those are interference errors, intralingual errors, and developmental errors.

    What are the 10 most mispronounced words? ›

    Here are 20 of the most commonly mispronounced words in English, and how to say them right.
    • 1 Pronunciation. Ironically, many people mispronounce this word! ...
    • 2 Cupboard. ...
    • 3 Epitome. ...
    • 4 Salmon/almond. ...
    • 5 Library/February. ...
    • 6 Definitely. ...
    • 7 Ask. ...
    • 8 Wednesday.
    6 Aug 2020

    What is the most common reason for wrong pronunciation in English? ›

    The following are some of the most common Level 1 pronunciation mistakes English learners find themselves struggling with: Word stress: In essence, mistaking word stress doesn't really make much of a difference for a language learner until the point the stress changes the meaning of a particular word.

    How do you pronounce Spanish words correctly? ›

    Learn Spanish Pronunciation in 12 Minutes - YouTube

    How do you train your ears in Spanish? ›

    In summary, to attune your ears to the Spanish language try diligent listening; This means:
    1. Sitting and concentrating solely on the listening at hand.
    2. Doing it consistently for at least 3 or 4 months.
    3. Choosing material that is right for your level.
    4. Getting immediate feedback.
    23 Apr 2018

    How can I improve my English pronunciation? ›

    Here are six top tips for you to practice and perfect your pronunciation.
    1. 1 - Listen! Listening to examples of authentic speech is the most obvious way to improve your own pronunciation. ...
    2. Record yourself. ...
    3. Get to know the phonemic chart. ...
    4. Use a dictionary. ...
    5. Do some exercise! ...
    6. Get to know your minimal pairs.
    6 Nov 2019

    Why is Z pronounced th in Spanish? ›

    If you study Spanish long enough, sooner or later you'll hear a tale about Spanish King Ferdinand, who supposedly spoke with a lisp, causing Spaniards to imitate him in pronouncing the z and sometimes the c to be pronounced with the "th" sound of "thin."

    What sounds in Spanish do not exist in English? ›

    In Spanish, the “sh” or /ʃ/ sound does not exist. Therefore, native Spanish speakers might produce English words containing “sh” with a “ch” sound instead.

    What is the most difficult word to pronounce? ›

    Onomatopoeia

    The word onomatopoeia is a jumble of vowels and is probably the most difficult English word to pronounce. It is pronounced [on-uh-mat-uh–pee–uh], and it defines a word that imitates a sound.

    How do you say R at the end of a word in Spanish? ›

    To pronounce the Spanish simple r, you touch your tongue to the area just behind the alveolar ridge. The Spanish alveolar tap is actually very similar to the sound most American speakers use to pronounce the t in words like water and hater! (to live).

    What is the Spanish lisp called? ›

    Castilian Spanish of the Middle Ages had originally two distinct sounds for what we now think of as the "lisp": the cedilla, and the z as in "dezir". The cedilla made a "ts" sound and the "z" a "dz" sound. Both in time were simplified into the "lisp", or what Spaniards call the "ceceo".

    Why Spanish people speak with a lisp? ›

    Why do some people speak Spanish with a lisp? Ancient Spanish had four sounds that were closely related to one another. People were often confused by the different sounds, so these sounds were simplified to make things easier. These simplified sounds are what many people refer to as the Spanish lisp.

    How can I teach Spanish online without a degree? ›

    Yes, it is possible to find Spanish teacher jobs online without a degree. Here at Preply, to become an online tutor we do not require that our teachers have any formal credentials. That being said, many of our teachers do have advanced degrees as well as specialized training in teaching Spanish.

    Do I need to speak Spanish to teach ESL? ›

    You absolutely do NOT need to speak the local language, or another language for that matter, to teach English abroad. Teaching English in a truly immersive classroom (while it may be a bit challenging at first) will ultimately push your students to actively learn what you are teaching them.

    How do you say basic words in Spanish? ›

    Basic Spanish Phrases
    1. Buenos días = Good morning.
    2. Buenas tardes = Good afternoon.
    3. Buenas noches = Good evening.
    4. Hola, me llamo Juan = Hello, my name is John.
    5. Me llamo… = My name is…
    6. ¿Cómo te llamas? = What's your name?
    7. Mucho gusto = Nice to meet you.
    8. ¿Cómo estás? = How are you?

    What are the problems faced in pronunciation? ›

    Mistakes students made in respect of phonology may therefore be classified in three major groups, and are as follows: wrong stress, mispronunciation of words and, wrong stress and wrong pronunciation.

    What are the methods of teaching pronunciation? ›

    Approaches to teaching pronunciation. It is stated that there are three significant approaches to teach pronunciation namely analytic-linguistic approach, intuitive-imitative approach and integrative approach. The mentioned approaches are associated with different methods of language teaching.

    Why pronunciation is difficult in English? ›

    English spellings and pronunciation are so strange because the language is really a mix of lots of different languages. In fact, English is made up of words taken from Latin, Greek, French and German, as well as little bits and pieces of other local languages like Celtic and Gaelic.

    Which language is the closest to Spanish? ›

    1. Portuguese – One Of The Languages Similar To Spanish: Portuguese comes from Galicia in Northwest Spain. By far, it is considered the most similar language to Spanish.

    What is the simplest language? ›

    '” That metaphorical process is at the heart of Toki Pona, the world's smallest language. While the Oxford English Dictionary contains a quarter of a million entries, and even Koko the gorilla communicates with over 1,000 gestures in American Sign Language, the total vocabulary of Toki Pona is a mere 123 words.

    What is the easiest language to learn for English and Spanish speakers? ›

    If you know a little bit of Spanish, Portuguese is one of the easiest languages to pick up. They're so similar that native Portuguese speakers can often understand Spanish speakers without having learned Spanish at all.

    What are the 5 Spanish vowels? ›

    As previously mentioned, Spanish has five main vowel sounds: /a, e, i, o, u/. Let's next discuss the position of the tongue, the roundness of the lips, and the position of the jaw in the pronunciation of these vowels.

    How do you pronounce y in Spanish? ›

    Spanish Pronunciation Guide of the Alphabet - YouTube

    How do you pronounce v in Spanish? ›

    In standard Spanish, the b and v are identical in terms of pronunciation. The b and v are pronounced somewhat like a soft version the English "b" after a pause and after the m sound. In other situations, the b and v are pronounced somewhat like the English v but with the lips touching each other.

    Why do people say Spanish is easy to learn? ›

    Contrary to some beliefs, Spanish grammar is easy. It's a language with many regularities and very few exceptions. Spanish nouns have only two genders and the rules to distinguish them are very straightforward. If a word finishes with an -o, it is masculine, if with an -a, it's feminine.

    What is the hardest language to learn for English speakers? ›

    The Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers
    1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. ...
    2. Arabic. ...
    3. Polish. ...
    4. Russian. ...
    5. Turkish. ...
    6. Danish.
    25 Feb 2021

    What is the easiest language to learn if you speak English? ›

    Of these, Spanish and Italian are the easiest for native English speakers to learn, followed by Portuguese and finally French.

    What language should I learn if I speak English and Spanish? ›

    French might be the number one obvious choice. English is a Germanic language with huge numbers of Romance loanwords, most of them from French. Spanish is, well, a Romance language to begin with. If you already know English and Spanish, you'll go into French basically knowing every other word.

    Is French or Spanish easier? ›

    Learning Spanish or French

    All in all, neither language is definitively more or less difficult than the other. Spanish is arguably somewhat easier for the first year or so of learning, in large part because beginners may struggle less with pronunciation than their French-studying colleagues.

    What language is closest to English? ›

    The closest language to English is one called Frisian, which is a Germanic language spoken by a small population of about 480,000 people. There are three separate dialects of the language, and it's only spoken at the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany.

    Why is English hard for Spanish speakers? ›

    The stress in Spanish language is regular and always marked. While English doesn't necessarily have more regular consonant or vowel sounds than Spanish, but how the stress is placed on some of those consonants or vowels that make it such a difficult language for Spanish speakers who are learning English.

    What is the fastest spoken language in the world? ›

    1. Japanese:

    Japanese is the fastest recorded language. It has a rate of 7.84 syllables per second.

    What is the top 10 hardest language to learn? ›

    Let's explore the 10 hardest languages for English speakers to learn, and the challenges they deliver:
    1. Mandarin. Mandarin is spoken by 70% of the Chinese population, and is the most spoken language in the world. ...
    2. Arabic. ...
    3. 3. Japanese. ...
    4. Hungarian. ...
    5. Korean. ...
    6. Finnish. ...
    7. Basque. ...
    8. Navajo.
    16 Sept 2022

    Why do some Spanish speakers not pronounce s? ›

    Since there's no Z (as in zoo) in Spanish, the Z sound is often misplaced with an S, especially when it appears in the middle or end of words. The Z is the voiced pair of the S consonant sound. Basically, they are pronounced the same, except that for the fact that with the Z sound, the vocal cords are vibrating.

    Why do Spanish people pronounce E before S? ›

    Senior Member. As Juandiego has said, the reason why Spanish speakers tend to add an e before "s + consonant" is that clusters of the form "s + consonant" are not allowed by the phonotactics of Spanish at the start of words. The phonology of a language is not just a collection of sounds.

    Do Mexicans pronounce V like B? ›

    The most important thing to remember about pronouncing the Spanish b and v is that in standard Spanish they are pronounced exactly alike. Although English makes a clear distinction in how the two letters are pronounced, Spanish does not.

    What sounds do Spanish not? ›

    Spanish does not have the following sounds (listed by category): Vowel diagraphs: ou, ow, eigh, au, aw, oo. Consonant digraphs: sh, th, wh, ph. Consonant blends: sl, sm, sts, scr, spr, str.

    Why is Z pronounced th in Spanish? ›

    If you study Spanish long enough, sooner or later you'll hear a tale about Spanish King Ferdinand, who supposedly spoke with a lisp, causing Spaniards to imitate him in pronouncing the z and sometimes the c to be pronounced with the "th" sound of "thin."

    What is the most difficult word to pronounce? ›

    Onomatopoeia

    The word onomatopoeia is a jumble of vowels and is probably the most difficult English word to pronounce. It is pronounced [on-uh-mat-uh–pee–uh], and it defines a word that imitates a sound.

    Why do people in Spain talk with a lisp? ›

    Why do some people speak Spanish with a lisp? Ancient Spanish had four sounds that were closely related to one another. People were often confused by the different sounds, so these sounds were simplified to make things easier. These simplified sounds are what many people refer to as the Spanish lisp.

    What is the Spanish lisp called? ›

    Castilian Spanish of the Middle Ages had originally two distinct sounds for what we now think of as the "lisp": the cedilla, and the z as in "dezir". The cedilla made a "ts" sound and the "z" a "dz" sound. Both in time were simplified into the "lisp", or what Spaniards call the "ceceo".

    How do you say R at the end of a word in Spanish? ›

    To pronounce the Spanish simple r, you touch your tongue to the area just behind the alveolar ridge. The Spanish alveolar tap is actually very similar to the sound most American speakers use to pronounce the t in words like water and hater! (to live).

    How is Z pronounced in Spain? ›

    Spanish Consonant

    The Spanish letter Z is pronounced like the soft C (the letter C in front of E and I); that is, it is pronounced like a TH (in Spain)* or an S (in Latin America). * This is what you will hear in the sound files.

    How do you say LL in Spanish Mexican? ›

    How to Say "LL" | Spanish Lessons - YouTube

    Is the H in Spanish silent? ›

    There is one letter in Spanish that trips up both native speakers and new learners: H. Because it is the only silent letter in Spanish, it can be quite confusing to remember which words are spelled with an H.

    How do you pronounce g in Spanish? ›

    How to Pronounce G in Spanish - YouTube

    What are the basic pronunciation rules in Spanish? ›

    Basic Rules of Accentuation

    Words ending in a vowel, or n or s, the next to last syllable is stressed. For words ending in a consonant other than n or s stress falls on the last syllable. If the word has an accent mark, then that syllable is stressed, ignoring the rules above.

    What are the hardest languages for Spanish speakers? ›

    Mandarin Chinese

    It is perhaps the language that offers the greatest difficulties. In fact, Mandarin is not only difficult for Latinos, but it is perhaps the most difficult to learn worldwide.

    How do you pronounce y in Spanish? ›

    Spanish Pronunciation Guide of the Alphabet - YouTube

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