Speak Spanish Like a Native By Learning Its Special Sounds
That being what it is, one characteristic of Spanish you'll notice right away is that to speak it correctly you'll need to learn to make a few sounds with your mouth that you've never made before, or at least that you're not used to making all the time.
While it's true most of the sounds that we make when speaking the Spanish language have a corresponding similar sound that we are used to making when we speak English, the Spanish language does in fact require us to make a few sounds we are not accustomed to.
Now the sounds in this article shouldn't be confused with sounds made with certain special Spanish characters. For instance, the letter ñ looks different to English speakers but we're used to the sound it makes from words like canyon. Likewise, the ll sound of words like the word for yellow -- amarillo -- is a common sound we make with the y. But this article will tell you about a distinct set of sounds you'll make speaking Spanish that you never made while speaking English.
Different But Not Difficult
Now, just because you haven't needed to make these unique sounds before in the past that doesn't mean making them will be impossible, or even extremely difficult. Like everything else we do that is new to us, with a little practice these special Spanish sounds can be mastered.
The Native Spanish Audio on this site will help you to learn these special Spanish sounds. You can take advantage of this and listen to the ative Spanish speaker over and over as you learn the exact pronunciation of these unique sounds.
The first step to master the sounds is to be aware of them in the first place. That's why in this article you'll learn about 3 common sounds that Spanish has that are not made in speaking English. Here comes the first sound.
The B/V Sound
The first sound you'll learn about is the b/v sound. It's true that these are 2 separate letters in Spanish but I combine them on purpose here because in many parts of the Spanish-speaking world the sound they make is interchangeable. Now depending on the country they are written in some books will tell you the letters have a slightly different sound. And sometimes the distinction in contrary to what would be expected in English.
Anyway, most of the time you can assume the b/v sound comes out as a combination of the two letter sounds. The word trabajo is a good example of the b/v sound. To prove the point that the b/v sound is interchangeable, this word is often misspelled by native speakers of Spanish -- using the letter v. (Instead of b as it appears in the dictionary.)
You can listen to an example of this unique Spanish b/v sound by listening to the word trabajo at the end of the first phrase on this page of phrases.
Listen carefully to the companion audio file for this page of phrases and hear how the native Spanish speaking person says the word trabajo.
Estoy buscando un apartamento cercas de mi trabajo.
The RR Sound
The second unique sound is the rr sound. The rr is a distinct letter in Spanish and it has a sound of it's own. The rr is the rolled r sound you hear in Spanish. And although some other languages make a sound like this if you have only spoken English you'll need to develop it.
The trick to getting the rolled rr to sound good it to practice it and repeat it a lot. Listen carefully to as much of the rolled rr as you can and then work on repeating the sound you hear on your own. Learn all the words that contain the rr and focus your attention on learning what they mean and how to pronounce them correctly.
Here is an example of a phrase that contains the rr letter to get you started:
You can listen to an example of the Spanish rr sound by listening to the word guitarra at the end of the last phrase on this page of phrases.
Mis jobis favoritos son leer y tocar guitarra.
N Followed By R -- Un Rato
The third unique Spanish sound I want to teach you is a combination sound consisting of a word ending in n followed by a word beginning with r. Look at this example : Voy a leer un rato. -- I'm going to read for a little while.
Another example of the Spanish n followed by r sound is available here. By listening to the words un recibo in this phrase Necesito un recibo de regalo, por favor., you can hear how to pronounce this unique Spanish sound combination.
Concentrate on making a clear and distinct transition between the two words. What other pairs of words can you think of the have this combination of first word ending in n and second word starting with r?
Just The Beginning
Now it's time for you to take it from here. You now know some special sounds made only in talking Spanish but that's just the start. Keep these sounds in mind now and look for examples of them. Then practice the examples often and always search for ways to include them in your dialogs.