Spain - Spanish Language Pronunciation

Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:07 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 417
Received 15 Likes on 3 Posts
Spain - Spanish Language Pronunciation

We know some Spanish, both from long ago school as well as living in the Southwest. But we bought a Berlitz language guide for Spanish.

The pronunciation is like a different Spanish. Berlitz does say it is directed at Spain, and we can see that in different areas of Spain they might speak differently, just as between Texas and Louisiana. For example, Centro, is pronounced Thentro as opposed to what we expected to be Sentro. There are major changes to how J, D and Z are pronounced too.

Simple question. How hard will it be to be understood if we use our current Spanish as opposed to relearning, and remembering the difference?
TravelerKaren is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:19 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 306
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"Simple question. How hard will it be to be understood if we use our current Spanish as opposed to relearning, and remembering the difference?"

About the same as when you use your english in the UK, Australia, NZ, etc. Some way of saying things tend to be different (for example juice is zumo in Spain/jugo in Mexico, just as you rent a car in the US/hire a car in the UK, …) some accent changes, but you should generally be fine. You will get used to it quickly. Be adaptable and have fun with it!
kanadajin is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are many difernt version of Spanish and in much of Spain they speak Castilian - which is very different from the various new world version of spanish (cuban is very different from Perto rican from mexican).

In Castilian there is a definite "th" sound in a lot of places where it is not in new world spanish. But people in spain are used to all sorts of weird accents - even british spanish - as in the song Konkwistodoor - (Conquistador). If people are not understanding you try speaking more slowly.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:29 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What you learned in school, or living in the southwest, is somewhat different then you will find in Spain, where the main language is Castilian Spanish, with many regional variations as you move around the country. Just to confuse you more, there are also a few different languages spoken in Spain such as Galego (Galicia), Euskara (Basque) and Catalan (Catalonia), to name three.

In answer to your question. You shouldn't encounter any major problems, especially if you can read Spanish. Just note that some words are different, such as bodega, which in Spain refers to a winery, not a grocery store.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:52 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 8,493
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Be aware that about 90 per cent of all foreign tourists visiting Spain speak a rather approximate Spanish (or no Spanish at all). All kinds of mixtures between Castellano, Italian and French are current.
And all people working in tourism understand (and speak some English and German too) .....
neckervd is online now  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 08:56 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 417
Received 15 Likes on 3 Posts
Thank you for all the quick replies. I will continue to learn the pronunciation as shown in the guide as we like to at least make an effort to know as many words and phrases as we can. But, it makes the thought of a few slip ups less of an issue seeing the comments here.
TravelerKaren is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 11:17 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,533
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You'll probably be fine - it's a variation, not whole new language. In a similar vein, when visiting Buenos Aires double L pronounced as "sh" initially threw me for a loop but after a day or two it was not a problem. Still sounded a bit "off" to hear "cash-eh" instead of "kai-yeh" but had no problem comprehending or being understood.
Seamus is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 11:58 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Whether you are understood or not depends on the context you have not outlined. Those in businesses requiring frequent dealing with non-local speakers would understand not only different Spanish accents, but also Spanish with strong foreign language accents. People working at customer facing jobs at airports, hotel front desks, shops and restaurants frequented by foreign visitors probably speak fluent English in the first place as well as understanding your Spanish. I think many language classes spending a lot of time teaching expressions useful only at airports and at large hotels to be unproductive.

If your learning time is limited, I would recommend focusing on language elements relevant for talking with those the limited foreign visitor facing time. Taxi and bus drivers in regional towns without major tourist attractions, off the main street shop owners selling items meant for local consumptions, restaurant serving as local hangouts in smaller towns , asking for an item you cannot physically point to a room cleaning person, etc. might present difficulties.

One of the major impediments in learning a language is not wanting (to be seen) to make mistakes . Unless the mistakes involve major material loss, the mistakes are the integral part of learning the language. I have been astonished by quite many people (in the U.S.) who travel abroad but would not learn foreign languages. Reason? “ I don’t want to learn a language unless I can speak it fluently.” How does one move from knowing nothing to fluency in one step? They are really serious in saying this.
greg is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 12:35 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't think you will have any problems. Although there is some variation in vocabulary (local words) from country to country and region to region the grammar of Spanish is pretty much the same whereever you go so someone from for example Santo Domingo would have no trouble making themselves understood in Bilbao.
MaisonPlague is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2014, 12:56 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I dont agree at all with what nytraveler says that "There are many difernt version of Spanish and in much of Spain they speak Castilian - which is very different from the various new world version of spanish (cuban is very different from Perto rican from mexican)."

There's not such a thing as "cuban, puertorican, mexican" languages, and it certainly there's not a major difference from "castillian" . I'm Cuban born, but grew up in PR and have traveled many times to Mexico and Spain. We all speak "castellano", obviously with different accents (the same way in the US you have different accents between Southern and northern states), some slangs particular to the country/ region, and pronunciation of a couple of letters, most noticeably the "z" and the "s".
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2014, 02:12 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,687
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cruiseluv...I think that "castellano" is what in Spain we consider the Castilian Spanish, of almost neutral accent (like the Queen´s English), and "español" is what they speak in Spanish speaking countries. In any case, we all understood each other without major issues (well, apart from the funny use of "coger"..."to take" in Spain, "to f..k" in Argentina)
mikelg is online now  
Old Apr 11th, 2014, 09:55 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry - there are a lot more than just differences in accent. We were working on a patient information guide in Spanish and had it done by an approved medical spanish translation company. Then we showed it around the office. Various people picked out several problems - from sentence structure to specific words used - with significant differences based on where their families were from originally. Quite an interesting conversation.

When my mom went to high school (NYC) they were taught Castialian spanish. When I started to learn Spanish in 7th grade (NYC) we were taught what they called standard latin american spanish (or mexican) - without the "th" sounds.

And anyone trying to understand some regional dialects in rural areas of england can tell you english is not always understandable by all english speakers. I even had a lot of trouble with a supplier from Alabama - ended up having to use email versus phone (partly a very strong accent and partly use of different words/idioms).
nytraveler is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2014, 10:24 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you want to check your compatibility with Castlian, you can watch TVE or 24H on the web.
The anchors of the newscasts speak a pretty clear "Spanish" for my ears.
Though I learned Castlian in school, and must admit that it is pretty hard for me to understand any Latin American variation. But probably because my command of Castlian is also more basic than fluent.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2014, 05:12 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love these guys. Best explanation ever on the subject.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyp7xt-ygy0
Nepenthe is offline  
Old Apr 11th, 2014, 06:03 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,880
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This video explains some of the different pronunciations according to dialects ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spfG...id=P-c-OaYXkx8 I came across this while taking the free Spanish class at duolingo.com ... after taking that class I did pretty well in Barcelona last fall.

I wouldn't worry too much about getting the pronunciations exact, the locals will appreciate you even trying and you're going to have an 'accent' to them anyway.
Bill_H is offline  
Old Apr 12th, 2014, 04:57 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 66
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I learned Spanish in Madrid and have never had any trouble making myself understood in the various Spanish speaking countries I've visited. I've been to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico, and Uruguay (well, just for the day) so far as well as many parts of Spain. I could understand everything said to me as well as read their newspapers etc. OK you will find you may need to look up certain words and adapt to the local accent but it is not really a big problem. Also there is no snobbishness amongst Spanish speakers about accents or prononciation etc. which is refreshing. It might be best to learn so-called 'Mexican' Spanish as Mexico is the most populous Spanish speaking country and their accent will probably become the standard one.
MaisonPlague is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 02:33 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 306
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What MaisonPlague said.

I learned spanish in Spain (Salamanca and Sevilla) and never had any problems, anywhere in the spanish world. In fact, my work office has sent me numerous times (at least half a dozen) to Mexico City to give technical presentations to Mexican engineers and technicians, who by and large are unilingual spanish (as opposed to businessmen), and I never had any problems making myself understood or understanding them, and also fielding all questions in spanish.
kanadajin is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 02:50 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
MaisonPlague, that is not true. Many Spanish people are HUGELY snobby about accents. One Spanish woman I used to live with claimed that Peruvian Spanish wasn't even really Spanish.
ClementineLdn is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 03:04 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,881
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I had a friend from Colombia who used to get really mad at the talk about how there were different Spanish languages. She said, so we have a different word for ..., that doesn't make it a different language, it's like in English there are two words for lots of things (like pants and trousers).

There are some countries with really strong or unusual accents and I know fluent Spanish speakers who cannot understand people from Cuba, for example. I think El Salvadoreans have a fairly neutral accent that isn't too hard to understand, though. I have trouble with some of the pronunciations from Argentina. In any case, I learned regular Castillian Spanish but have read enough to know some of the differences in some consonants, but I don't think it's that big a deal. No one seems to have trouble understanding me in Spain or in Mexico or Puerto Rico -- at least as well as I know what I'm saying, but it's not the accent.
Christina is offline  
Old Apr 13th, 2014, 05:48 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,533
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My guess it's a we/they thing, where only one Spanish speaker is allowed to cast aspersions on another Spanish speaker's accent/diction, but non-Spanish speakers are not permitted to comment at all.

Using my "gutter Spanish" in multiple countries was met more with surprise that a gringo could string together a coherent sentence than with derision.
Seamus is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -