Patética Fonética Debut

March 02, 2010 By: erik Category: Colindres, Funny, Spain, Videos 620 views

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Native Speaker of U.S. EnglishLast month, I was asked to participate, as a native English speaker, in a videocast from the local language school, Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Laredo, about English pronunciation. The man who filmed me and is the brain of the whole videocast, Rodolfo, is really annoyed at his students’ (and, in general, all Spaniards’) lack of care when pronouncing English words. Rather uniquely, Rodolfo has specifically chosen American English as his pronunciation goal; he has worked really hard, and his pronunciation is superb. This is the third installment in his videocast. Here are the first and second.

Unfortunately, as the husband of someone with a fairly strong Spanish accent in English and someone who has struggled to learn a foreign language, I was more sympathetic to Spaniards speaking English poorly than Rodolfo would have wanted. Many of his questions in the ten minute interview were along the lines of, “How disgusted are you by Spaniards that don’t take the time or make the effort to speak English without an accent?” To which I gave answers that didn’t really align with his agenda.

All of his videocasts are excellent! Several have illuminated me on common mispronunciations that are ridiculous. The one I most remember is how Spaniards have trouble properly pronouncing “I scream”, but have no trouble pronouncing “ice cream”. I highly recommend them all to anyone who speaks English to Spaniards, and especially to Spaniards trying to speak English.

I appear, with my astro story, exactly at 5:00. Of course, because I rarely see myself on video, I think I look totally goofy. If you listen carefully, you can hear Nora screaming in the background.

Rumor has it that part of my interview will be appearing in the next videocast. It’s going to be hard, but you’ll just have to be patient.

  • I feel so lucky to have grown up learning English (or at least a popular variation of it)
    I love English; speaking it; the sound of it, and I know that it would be a pain in the neck to learn as a second language.

    I sometimes still have a hard time figuring out what some Spanish-speakers are talking about, even after they repeat the English-origin word several times, and I used to want to try and correct them, so that they would know the “right” way.

    Then I realized that if they used the “right” way in conversations with other Spanish-speakers, no one would understand what they were talking about, or they would come across like those annoying TV reporters in Southern California, who stop the whole rhythm of the sentence they are saying in English, pronounce words of Spanish-origin in a different accent, and then pick back up in English.

    It used to be difficult for me, but I no longer have any problem with accepting Spaniards, and whichever happens to be their pronunciation of English-origin words, when they are speaking their own language, especially in their own country.
    It’s kind of funny, but it actually was the recent Peksi commercial that made me reconsider the usage of English words in Spanish language.

    (However, I do have to admit, that “WiFi” and “Spiderman” still kind of get to me – even now.)

    • Wee-Fee and Speederman? Ha!

      Once you comprehend Spanish pronunciation, it’s pretty easy to translate from whatever mangled pronunciation they produce into the letters they meant to say, and then into English from there. My problem is that, after learning how a Spaniard would pronounce the word “Spiderman”, I can totally understand them when they speak. Whereas a native English speaker without Spanish training would not.

      • Es-SPEED-er-mahn… “Ohhh!!!!” hablas de “Spiderman” ¿Por qué no se dice “Hombre Araña”?
        I still remember the first time I heard that one. It was while talking, or attempting to, in Spanish with one of those Catalans that already makes it seem like it’s an effort for them to be bothered with Spanish in the first place, let alone English.

        Yeah, it pretty much makes me feel totally vindicated whenever I butcher some Spanish word.

        San Jacinto, a town near where I used to live, I have always pronounced, “Senja Sinno” – and, when speaking in English, I always will. That, or “Saint Hyacinth”

  • *clapclapclapclap*

    I love this.

  • This video is funny!

    Did you notice the book he “accidentally” pulled out of his shelf when he was going for the Bible?

    • Aahahahahaha!!! That’s so funny! Good eye!

      I made a screen capture for all posterity.

      Good book to keep next to The Good Book

  • Kristin

    I’ve just sent this link to my Spanish students here. This is genius! It’s needed in every country that’s learning English.

    Erik, your American accent sounds funny. 🙂

  • Excellent!! Es un trabajo excelente, enhorabuena, como profesor de portugués me das mucha envidia; veo que tengo que aprender mucho, mucho de ejercicios como éste.