Spanish Accent

An accent occurs when sound patterns from a native language(s) influence the pronunciation in the second or third language. Although every accent is different, there are popular mispronunciations for adults who learned Spanish before they learned English (referred to as S1 speakers below). Here is a description of frequently occurring Spanish accent sound targets.  

SH & CH Sounds

How To Pronounce SH & CH Sounds

S1 speakers commonly face uncertainty with sounds that are associated with “sh” and “ch.” Many S1 speakers report avoiding words with these sounds altogether. We can work on these pronunciations by first differentiating the sounds through auditory training. This method ensures the client can clearly hear and correctly identify the two. Next, we will practice each sound separately at first, and together towards the end, until you are masterful at using the “sh” and “ch” sounds in real-world conversations.


The word "cheese" becomes "she's"

The word "shoes" becomes "choose" 

Short I Sound

How To Pronounce The Short I Sound

S1 speakers commonly to elongate their “i” sounds so that a word like “tin” sounds like the word “teen.” Part of our work is training the S1 speaker to learn a new vowel sound for “i” and apply that new vowel sound to words containing the short "i" sounds.


The word “bin” becomes “bean”

The word “fit” becomes “feet”

The word “pinnacle” become “peenacle” 

TH Sound

How To Pronounce TH Sounds

S1 speakers often pronounce the TH sound with their tongue farther back than native Canadian and American English speakers. Native Canadian/American English speakers pronounce these sounds with the tongue sandwiched between the top and the bottom teeth. As a result, R1 speakers often substitute the TH sound with something that resembles a D or T sound. Consider the word “the,” do you pronounce it the same way as “duh”?


The word “through” becomes “true”

The word “although” become “aldo”

B & V Sounds

How To Pronounce B & V Sounds

S1 speakers often mix up the “b” and “v” sounds because in the Spanish language they can be used interchangeably whereas in English, they are distinct and meaningful identifiers. Consider for example the implication of saying, “I am looking for my vase” versus “I am looking for my base.” The “v” sound tells us the item that you are looking for is a container for flowers, while the “b” sounds tells us the item is a piece of sports equipment.  Part of our work, again, is to use auditory discrimination training to help you distinguish between the B sound and the V sound by ear. Next, we will practice pronouncing each sound from simple activities and progressing to harder ones. 


The word "valentine" becomes "balentine"

The word "baseball" becomes "vazevall"

Z Sound

How To Pronounce The Z sound

S1 speakers understandably have a difficult time with the “z” sound when speaking English. In Spanish, the “z” sounds like the English “s” sound. We, the speech-language pathologists at Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, can help you to learn and apply the "z" sound once and for all, and then apply the lessons in the real-world to improve your pronunciation accuracy.


The word “fuzz” becomes “fuss”

The word “zoo” becomes “sue”

S Sound

How To Pronounce The S sound

S1 speakers from Spain tend to pronounce the “s” sound in English further forward than the native Canadian/American English speaker. When S1 speakers from Spain pronounce the English "s" sound, it may sound like they are speaking with a lisp but it is not a lisp at all.  The forward placement of the tongue in S1 speakers from Spain is a dialect. Nonetheless, we can help S1 speakers from Spain to pronounce their English "s" sound in the correct way. 


The word “fuss” becomes “futh”

The word “sue” becomes “thoo”

Hooked U Sound

How to Pronounce The Hooked U Sound

English is a tricky language from a pronunciation perspective. There are more vowels than most other languages and often the intended vowel is not clearly indicated by the spelling. For this reason, S1 speakers often have a hard time with a sound called the "hooked u." The "hooked u" is a sound that often is symbolized by a double "o, " like in "look." Consider for a moment the difference between "look" and "Luke". Do you pronounce them the same, or differently? If you are a S1 speaker without specific practice with this sound, you probably pronounce them the same. The "hooked u" is an easy skills to grasp, and we will guide you through this minor pronunciation adjustment.