Hi there,

Can anyone tell me the most noticable differences between the English accent and the Spanish accent (when speaking English), like 'family' in English has the distinct 'a' sound, yet said in Spanish accent it seems to be pronounced 'u'.

Are there any more distinct differences?

Anyone? Please?!!

1 2 3
Hello Edward,

There are tons of different sounds in English and in Spanish. For one thing in Spanish we only have five vowel sounds (a, e, i, o and u). But in English there is a difference between long and short vowel sounds. On the other hand, there are some consonant sounds in English that we don't have in Spanish, such as the two possible sounds occurring when (a) is written, or the aspirated (h) which in Spanish is silent. There are many more examples of this, so if you are interested, I can give you some links to webpages about phonology and its symbols, or recommend some useful books. If you have any specific question about sounds in English or Spanish, feel free to ask.

Hope this helps
If we grouped languages according to the mobility of the primary accent in the word, we would conclude that both English and Spanish have free accent[1]. Within this freedom, however, Spanish shows a marked tendency towards fixed position of word accent, and English a tendency towards greater variability. The main differences are found in three- and four-syllable words. Whereas Spanish shows a clear tendency towards accent on the one before the last syllable, English favours accent on the first syllable.

[1] free accent- the place of the accent is variable, and accentuation rules - with their exceptions - have to be learned in order to know which syllables to accentuate.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Spanish speakers don't have weak forms and that makes their way of speaking kind of hard. Moreover, Spanish speakers don't make a distinction between /b/ and /v/. Spanish speakers don't have the sound /z/, so they pronounce it as /s/.

There are a lot more
/z/ sound exists, but only spaniards (except canary islands and some parts of andalucia) pronounce it.
The previous post is mistaking the /z/ sound with that at the beginning of "think" - sorry, I don't know how I can write that phonetic symbol here (in Spanish the written letter "z" is pronounced as that sound in "think", at least in the areas the previous poster has stated, but it has nothing to do with the sound /z/, which for us sounds as /s/). We always pronounce the letter "s" in the same way, with no difference between /s/ and /z/ (although many Latin American friends have told me that in Spain we pronounce an "s" sound much stronger than in America).

Until some years ago there were different sounds for /b/ and /v/ in Spanish, but now only a few people use them, and it's considered archaic and incorrect as far as I know (we only use the sound /b/ now). In Spanish the letter "h" is silent, so when we must aspirate it (like in "house") we tend to exaggerate it, and say it almost as our "j" (a sound I'm unable to explain!) Another thing that helps spot a Spaniard speaking English is the difficulty in pronouncing words like "Spain" without saying an "e" before the "s". There are other consonant sounds that do exist in English but not in Spanish, like "sh" (which is not difficult) or the "j" in "joy", but I'd say the main difficulty for a Spaniard speaking English are vowels, owing to our tendency to use only five vowel sounds, as Novalee said. All of this said, there are Spaniards who speak other language apart from Spanish who use more vowels. I'm thinking here about the Catalan. In Catalan, "a", "i" and "u" are the same as in Spanish, but there are two different "e" and "o" sounds, and another vowel just between "a" and "e", so there are eight vowel sounds, which makes a Catalan speaking English less hard than, say, a Castillian.

Novalee, are those books and links you talked about also useful for us Spaniards trying to make English sound as such? If so, I'd be very interested in you telling us more about them!
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hi Edward
Please I would like to know more about this topic. I wonder if you could send me the pages and books.
Thanks a lot
This topic is of great interest to me as I am preparing to bring home my two adopted daughters from Guatemala-aged 4 and 6.

Does anyone have any phonetic advise or good books i could read for this age of children?

Thanks a lot


would you please reccommend me any links, books and other resources related to Spanish accent in English?

Thanks for help

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Show more