Here are the top five pronunciation improvements that you can try if you are a Spanish speaker of English.
· The sound “th”.
Whenever you speak English, there will likely be many “th” words, for example, “there are thirty-three things I have to do this Thursday.” Every time you say the word ‘the’, or ‘this’ or ‘that’ or ‘with’, you are saying the sound “th” and so it is really worth your while to say it accurately. To pronounce “th” correctly put your tongue between your teeth and blow air out, that’s all there is to it! Notice that when you say “th” correctly, not only does it sound very good in North American English, but it also looks good. By the way, don’t feel that you’re being rude by putting your tongue between your teeth, — we all do it—and so can you.
· The sound “v”.
The sound “v” is easy to make, especially if you use a mirror to make sure your lips are in the right place. Bite your lower lip, blow air out and use your voice. You can put your fingers on your vocal chords and feel the vibration to make sure you’re using your voice. There are many words in English with the sound “v” such as ‘very’, ‘value’, ‘wave’, ‘waving’ or ‘saving’. But what’s really important for Spanish speakers is to make sure that you make a very different sound from “b” as in ‘berry’ or ‘bow’ with your lips together. You also need to say “v” differently from the sound “w”. To pronounce “w”, have your lips rounded and forward, blow air out, use your voice. Practice these words with “v”, “w” and “b” and notice the difference between them.
Bow, vow, wow
Berry, very, wary
Best, vest, west
· Make an accurate difference between “y” and “j” such as in ‘yellow’ and ‘jello’.
These are two entirely different sounds in English. “j” is a voiced sibilant – you put your lips forward and get the tip of your tongue to bounce off the roof of your mouth. The easiest way to say “y” as in ‘yes’ and ‘yellow’, is to just make an ‘ee’ sound at the beginning of the word and that will help produce the correct sound. Practice these word pairs and focus on the position of your lips .
· Make an accurate difference between “ng” and “n” at the end of a word.
The sound “ng” is made with the back of the tongue going up, and the tip of the tongue down while you vibrate the sound through your nose. The sound “n” is made with the tip of the tongue going up touching the ridge behind the top teeth, while you vibrate the sound through your nose. Practice these word pairs:
‘win’ and ‘wing’.