When English-speaking people speak Spanish

T   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 00:45 GMT
Ok, so some English-speaking people may think it's sexy or it sounds good when French or Italian or Swedish-speaking people speak English.
I asked my Spanish-speaking friend what it sounds like when English-speaking people speak Spanish. My friend said it doesn't sound particularly good or sexy. Anyone else have an opinion? What does it sound like? I'm sure it probably depends on one's level of proficiency and practice in speaking Spanish. But I'm just curious to see if I sound like an idiot. Maybe this is why no Spanish-speaking girls like me ;) jk
T   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 00:47 GMT
Sorry for the dorky question. Hehe. I'm usually very cool ;)
Julian   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 21:02 GMT
Since I live in Los Angeles, I hear many native English speakers attempt to speak Spanish. But, while they may have learned certain words and phrases, they haven't mastered correct vowel pronunciations and end up sounding ridiculous.
Damian   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 22:43 GMT
I cannot comment on native English speakers speaking Spanish, but I only hope it is better than when they speak French! One possible exception is Queen Elizabeth...she sounds quite cool when she speaks French and the accent is pretty good I think..I hope native French speakers think so as well. A former British Prime Minister was pretty dire in his French accent and his home town was on the Kent coast about 25 miles across the English Channel from the coast of France usually visible on clear days.
Juan   Sunday, June 06, 2004, 22:19 GMT
English speakers usually keep and use the vowels from English system that sounds closest to Spanish. If no effort is made to mimic the "exact" way the vowels (specially) are pronounced in Spanish, than they do sound odd. Just like an ESL student has an "accent" when they speak English.
Eugenia   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 20:16 GMT
English speakers sound so funny when they try to speak Spanish.
Damian   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 21:24 GMT
Some English speakers sound so funny when they try to speak English
Dulcinea del Toboso   Wednesday, June 09, 2004, 23:42 GMT
Equally funny, years ago, was listening to the U.S. TV reporters trying to
out-Nicaragua each other, with the pronunciation becoming more extreme
by the day.

Nee ka ra gwa... Nee kha ra wa.... Nee ah rah wa...
MJGR   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 10:03 GMT
I met once an English husband of the sister of an aunt-in-law of mine and the fact was that his Spanish was perfect. I only knew that he was English becuase they told me he was! He said that his wife had helped him in losing his accent when talking in Spanish.
That made me think that the general intonation of English and Spanish people is quite similar. In fact, when I have heard President Bush trying to talk in Spanish (you know, when he says that if he don't learn Spanish soon he is going to kill "la idioma", or something like that) my sensation, and that is my personal opinion, was that, apart from the sounds he had difficulties to pronounce, his accent was quite similar to that of a Spanish native speaker. I repeat that that is my own personal opinion, sure that there is a lot of people who think I am talking about other President Bush.
When I have heard English speaking people talking in Spanish it results clear to me that you have a serious difficulty in pronouncing some Spanish sounds.
In fact, I have a theory of my own about this issue. I sometimes think that the "absurd" spelling of the English language is absurd only in one direction: from oral English to written English. Because in the other direction, from written to oral, the only thing you have to do is to pronounce the words as you would in Spanish but with the "deformed" (sorry for the expression) vocal chords of an English person used to speak in English since he was a child.
It is only a theory and I don't believe too firmly in it but I think that there is some truth in the idea.
Damian   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 13:49 GMT

Nicaragua and its capital city Managua......how would the local Nicaraguan people pronounce them? Further, how would someone from Spain pronounce them? I would like to know if Latin American Spanish differs widely from European Spanish?

MJGR: in particular, which sounds in Spanish do English speakers have the most difficulty with? I am Scottish, and I cannot understand why English people are quite unable to pronounce the throaty Scottish "ch" sound, as in "loch". I think the same sound exists in Spanish, does it not?
RR   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 14:24 GMT
I have tried for a very long time, but as an English speaker I just cannot pronounce the letter 'R' in spanish.
Damian   Thursday, June 10, 2004, 15:57 GMT
Yes, that's another problem that the English have..the letter "r". Mostly it is glided over in spoken English, and not pronounced, whereas in other langugages it is clearly sounded, even trilled as in French. And we Scots really sound our "Rs". Maybe that is one reason the English have problems with foreign languages.
Willy helping his people   Friday, June 11, 2004, 04:11 GMT
Let me help ya.

R in Spanish harder than the d or t how Americans say it.

Carro (car) sounds /'ka:Ro:/ as you hear it in Italian, Greek, Russian, Romanian, etc. Don't say it how Portuguese and French say it.

Caro (expensive) sounds /'ka:(d in ladder)o:/ It's softer than the two r's in ''carro."

Just trill the r as Scots do.
mercycat   Saturday, June 12, 2004, 20:54 GMT
English speakers that are trying hard to communicate with others in a different language other than their own sometimes sound just as dorky as anyone else who is trying to communicate in a language other than their own. The beautiful point is that they are trying to communicate. If I were to stop trying to speak other languages for fear of sounding dorky or being laughed at, I would have stopped years ago. I love people enough to keep trying no matter what people think.
Jordi   Sunday, June 13, 2004, 07:27 GMT
Differences between European and American Spanish occur including the accents but there are more listening comprehension problems between varieties of English that between varieties of Spanish. The vowel system in Spanish is quite simple and comprenhension between varieties of one same language usually suffers when vowels shift. That isn't the case in Spanish.
There are some sounds that most Spanish-speaking people can't pronounce in English. One case is "v" that sounds exactly like "b". Therefore, "vaca" (cow) sounds like "baca". Foreigners speaking Spanish shouldn't try to pronounce "v" as if it existed in this language also it does exist in written form. Due to the very simple vowel system in Spanish it is usually very hard for native speakers of Spanish to adopt a more complex system. That's what the whole "Spanish accent" is udually about.
Scottish "r" could be almost fine in Spanish and the "ch" in "loch" could be almost like a Spanish "j". After all, I would say Scottish is the most exotic native English accent there is. So being Scottish does help in certain occasions if what you want to learn is Spanish. In Spanish you'd pronounce Ni-ca-rá-gwa. The main tonic accent would fall on the before last syllable.
The English-speaking peoples of the world have a very similar accent when speaking Spanish. It is usually very hard for common European Spanish speakers to tell which English speaking country you're from just from hearing you. Most of them will say "acento inglés" and very rarely "acento americano". Maybe in South America they'll all think you've got "acento gringo" o "acento americano" even if you're from London.
Just one last more thing, it's hardly a coincidence that the native English people I've met with better Spanish (learnt when they were adults) usually have a Celtic background.