Mexico Connect
Forums  > Specific Focus > Learning Spanish


MariaLund

Jul 30, 2006, 10:06 AM

Post #1 of 17 (8062 views)

Shortcut

Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
baffle me, I admit. My native language (Polish) uses consonants heavily and vowels sparingly. May be due to it we are particularly attuned to recognize slight differences in their peonounciation, because in Polish they would change the meaning of words. I have observed, however, that languages with a heavy vowels use - and long and short vowels - might accept "sloppy" (in an oppinion of consonant sensitive person) pronounciation of certain consonats.
I noticed it first with Swedish, when I could not get, at first, how a word "guitar" shold be pronounced properly. I had at the time three Swedish teachers (in a class for Swedish for foreigners) and all three of them pronounced it differently. When I pointed it out to them, using all three pronounciations one after another they did not seem able to understand / hear the difference. To them it all seemed the same.

Now the same is happening with Spanish. I am just viewing a Spanish telenovela type TV course, "Destinos" with speakers from various Spanish speaking countries: Mexico (mostly) but also Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico and USA.

And I can not avoid to notice how differently the actors pronounce the word "yo" for example. To me the difference between pronouncing it as "yo" and as "dzhio" (or ghio) is striking and does not seem to be a national difference but a personal one? Ok, I learned that both pronounciations mean "yo", but I wonder: don't Spanish speakers HEAR the difference in their pronounciation of the word, or they hear it and don't care, and if they hear and don't care, then why?
May be in certain situations it should be pronounced "yo" while in others "dzhio" ( or ghio)? Help,please, I am baffled.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!



tonyburton


Jul 30, 2006, 10:17 AM

Post #2 of 17 (8056 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MariaLund] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
quote: Mexico (mostly) but also Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico and USA....

Spanish speakers from different countries, and even from different regions within the same country, have significant differences in pronunciation, just as English speakers from different countries, and from different regions within the same country, often have. It sounds like your ear will be easily able to tell these different accents apart, even though some "native speakers" may find this difficult.



MariaLund

Jul 30, 2006, 11:14 AM

Post #3 of 17 (8053 views)

Shortcut

Re: [tonyburton] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
You are certainly right, although with English speakers I noticed mostly the differences in pronouncing vowels, not consonants ( like "a" in tomato differs between English and Americans). Eh, may be "y" is also technically a vowel, though - to me - not the way it is pronounced. And, come to think of it, actors which are supposed to be either Argentinians or Puerto Ricans tend to use "dzhio" more than others, but a bunch of actors, all supposed to be from Mexico City, differ among themselves in pronounciation, which led me to a conclusion, the difference was not regional. But, of course, they might have taken actors from all over the place, not paying attention to their different pronounciation, baffling for some foreign students. Is the "sloppy" pronounciation of "b" and "v" also regional?

Also, despite the regional differences, there seems to be a "model" pronounciation, which is considered a norm to srive towards. In German it is called Hochdeutch, "official German", just like in Sweden the official Swedish is the pronounciation used in and around the town of Norrkoeping and in Spain Castillan is considered proper Spanish. I lived in Andalusia and heard the "eating" of the "s" among the locals, but the announcers at Sevillan TV station seemed to me to speak Castillan. Is it no longer the "norm" for educated Spanish speakers across the world, even in official conversations?
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Jul 30, 2006, 11:24 AM)


jerezano

Jul 30, 2006, 7:32 PM

Post #4 of 17 (8034 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MariaLund] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hello,

Sure there are differences in pronunciation of the y which here in Mexico is as a "model" normally pronounced as we in the USA do in yes. But here in Zacatecas, I often hear the dzgjo for yo. But usually only in surprise, or in emphasis for some reason. On the other hand, we have a small town near by--Yeje--which is always called Dzgjeh' heh.

South Americans, in particular Argentinans tend to say the dzho for yo. Don't ask me why.

The same goes for the ll which is as a "model" here in Mexico the y in yes. But many times again in emphasis that y changes to the dhgjl plus vowel. My first Equadorian Spanish instructor always said the dhgjl and I hear it all the time on TV España.

The same goes for the g which is normally an h sound before i and e. Haven't we all heard the Regio toilet paper announcer on TV who after extolling the softnes ends up saying ¡Reh' hio! ¡Reh' hio! ¡¡Redgeh' hio!! ? We have also in town a clothing shop Gersey which is called Djehr' say.

On the other hand I have never heard a hard B anywhere in Mexico. Even in emphasis. The b and v have always been the same, a very soft b or v.

Marilund, you havent yet moved to Mexico. When you do, I can only suggest that you repeat what you hear. If you can't do that, don't worry. People will still understand you. They will be happy that you are trying to speak Spanish. They will cooperate.

Adiós. jerezano.


(This post was edited by jerezano on Jul 30, 2006, 7:46 PM)


jerezano

Jul 30, 2006, 7:42 PM

Post #5 of 17 (8030 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jerezano] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hello MariaLund,

In my previous post I missed the y comment you made that y is technically a vowel in English.

That is a misunderstanding. In American English y is a consonant which sometimes acts as a vowel.
Our grammar rule is that our vowels are a e i o u and sometimes y.

Words in which y acts as a vowel are for example, city, money, party, bogey, etc.

Adiós. jerezano.


(This post was edited by jerezano on Jul 30, 2006, 7:44 PM)


MariaLund

Jul 30, 2006, 10:30 PM

Post #6 of 17 (8018 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jerezano] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Thanks for your explanations, jerezano. Interesting with Y as consonant sometimes acting as a vowel in English. As for reporting what I hear in Mexico - I will. I viewed the same course Spanish telecourse tonight and a Puerto Rican ( actor) pronounced "ayuda" as "adgiuda" while a Mexican (actor) pronounced it as ayuda.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!


esperanza

Jul 31, 2006, 4:48 AM

Post #7 of 17 (8013 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MariaLund] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
In another thread on another forum here on MexConnect, you asked about what to bring with you for a six-month exploratory stay in Mexico. You've received some good advice there.

It's wise, however, to leave one thing at home: the expectation that here in Mexico there is a 'right' way to do most things. There are numerous right ways to do everything from choosing the route to follow to get to your destination to the pronounciation of Spanish words.

Expect to be surprised all along the way. You'll find that in the north and central parts of the country, the letter 'X' is pronounced like the American English 'H'. In the southern part of Mexico, the 'X' is pronounced like the American English 'SH'. As has been mentioned, the pronounciation of the letter 'Y' sometimes varies. In some places, word endings are dropped or swallowed.

Allow for regional variations. If you are familiar with regional differences in American English--the sorts of differences that one hears in the speech of natives of the state of Maine versus natives of the state of Georgia, or natives of the state of Wisconsin versus natives of the state of Alabama--then you understand that there is no single right way to pronounce English. The differences in regional Mexican Spanish are not quite so extreme, but they definitely do exist.

Pronounciation differences aren't the only differences. There are regional differences in the use of nouns, adjectives, and verbs. What one person calls a certain flower in his or her hometown will be different from what a person from another town calls the same plant. The bus may be called camión in one town and something entirely different in another. A verb which has no sexual connotation in one region will be tabu in another region.

As you learn to speak Spanish, you'll learn certain rules of pronounciation. Follow those rules, but allow cheerfully for native-speaker variations. If you've left your need for correctness at home, you'll discover the multiple ways of being right that make Mexican Spanish such a broad and deep language.

If you bring those expectations of one correct way to speak Spanish, you'll be confused and frustrated with the rich variety of language here. Rather than weigh yourself down with what's 'right', enjoy what is. You'll be happier here in México lindo y querido.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on Jul 31, 2006, 4:51 AM)


MariaLund

Jul 31, 2006, 3:07 PM

Post #8 of 17 (7987 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hmm, I think we have some misunderstanding here. Granted, as European I am used to more rigid rules and regulations (EU regulates for example the minimum size of cucumbers or strawberries that can be sold in EU territory, thus rendering some of the tastiest local variants illegal... unless you grow an consume them yourself; Sweden regulates even the minimum length of a hat shelf in an entryway to a single family home or an apartment and you won't get a house loan if the shelf length differes, or... horror of horrors, there is no proper entryway ... as is the case in most American style houses...), that is the case in the USA , which in itself, as I have learned here, is more "organized" than Mexico. I like the US flexibility better than European rigidity and don't see a reason why I would not like an even grater amount of freedom in Mexico.

As a continental (vs English language native) European I am also used to languages, where, contrary to English, pronounciation is logical (? please, it's just a thought shortcut, don't you Bubba and company get defensive) vis a vis spelling. Spanish is such a language, and thus the rules that apply to other continental European languages should - logically - apply also to Mexican - and generally Latin American Spanish. I might be wrong - after all I am not a linguist by profession - I never studied linguistics, just languages and only for the purpose of being able to communicate in them.

Being from Poland, I was aware, that I would have many times run a risk of being treated in Western Europe - or even in the United States - like Mexican immigrants usually are in the USA: like a second (if not third) class citizen, and suffer the effects of prejudice in the form of more limited employment opportunities, lower incomes, limited social circles etc. etc., despite my education and expertise. Language for immigrants can be a tool to counter such prejudice, but you have to totally disregard local dialects and be aware that your vocabulary, grammar, syntax AND pronounciation identify you as a foreigner, but a highly educated foreigner, not an unskilled (what you Americans politically incorrectly call) "white trash".

Yes, I do learn with time to recognize regional differences, dialects, colloquialisms etc. but I personally try not to use them. People, especially educated people, like to think that they are liberal minded and prejudice free, but this is largely an illusion: many harbor subconscious prejudices and are quick to classify - to judge and misjudge on the basis of a first impression of a person: not only visual but speach related as well.

Being careful to use perhaps at times overly stuffy language served me very well in every country in which I lived: I have rarely -if ever - been discriminated on the basis of my national origin ( or my immigrant status), not in Sweden, not in Germany, not in UK or USA because - in addition to being "lillywhite" (I know it helps to be a very fairskinned blueeyed blonde - unfair, I know) I use language in a way a highly educated native uses it - albeit with a foreign twist. I have seen equally - or more - educated immigrants ( and equally "lillywhite") both in Europe and in the USA, who were treated like dirt, and denied opportunities, because their language was not up to "snuff" - their language made them sound uneducated.

Mind you, most natives, no matter what their upbringing, use a different language in official settings: at job interviews, presentations to clients (especially executive level clients), in classrooms (if they teach college), at official dinners, fundraisers etc. etc. And listening to Spanish language cassettes (maid in Spain) it was easy to tell a social class of a speaker: a coincidence? I don't believe it. So there is always a proper way ( or a way considered proper if we want to slit hairs) to use a language in order to be treated like an educated native and not trampled over. This is usually the language used by national newscasters, etc. It might have some local coloring in pronounciation and vocabulary, but it is easily recognizable as "model" use of language.

And that's what I ask about: about "the" model ( or "a" model, if there really are more than one models) rules. The local variations and colloquialisms are of a far lesser importance to me. My experience tells me that "proper" language is always understood, local dialect might or might not be. Thus I don't see it as lack of flexibility but as a sui generis insurance against possible prejudice.

P.S. Now, I'd like to challenge Irish to express it in 25 words or less.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Jul 31, 2006, 3:19 PM)


Rolly


Jul 31, 2006, 4:12 PM

Post #9 of 17 (7980 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MariaLund] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Friendly hint: English, with all it's weird spellings and pronunciations, works best with short sentences. Short sentences with a single thought, unlike this one and my previous one, and most of yours.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jul 31, 2006, 8:13 PM)


MariaLund

Jul 31, 2006, 4:25 PM

Post #10 of 17 (7978 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Thanks, Rolly, I do know that, but here, especially after over a quarter of a century of English use, I allow myself a considerable (may be too considerable) dose of eccentricity. After all a rebel in me needs some kind of an outlet. ;-) Still, for my professional publications in English I always used an editor - usually a native student of journalism. They do condense more skilfully - in my opinion - than students of English literature.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Jul 31, 2006, 4:26 PM)


quevedo

Jul 31, 2006, 5:13 PM

Post #11 of 17 (7969 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] Frases cortas

Can't Post |
"El español es un idioma de frases cortas", used to say a very good Spanish teacher I had many years ago. As English, better Spanish is short sentences Spanish.

Saludos,

Quevedo


Bloviator

Jul 31, 2006, 7:46 PM

Post #12 of 17 (7958 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Rolly] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
That was very well put Rolly. As always, you are a gem. I wish I could write in short sentences without the dashes and parentheses. Perhaps if I did, people would have some idea what I am stating when I post. Even I get confused when I get into a convoluted sentence or paragraph.

All my Spanish sentences are short. I don't know how to write long ones.

See Spot run. See Dick and Jane. See Dick and Jane go up the hill with a pail for water (oops! - wrong people. See Jack and Jill go up the hill.)

Just riffing. There is no doubt that Rolly is right.


(This post was edited by dlyman6500 on Jul 31, 2006, 7:51 PM)


jerezano

Jul 31, 2006, 9:14 PM

Post #13 of 17 (7946 views)

Shortcut

Re: [quevedo] Frases cortas

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hello,

I sure wish Quevedo's very good Spanish teacher whom he quotes had exerted some influence on Journalists and Columnists for the Mexican newspapers.

How many times does one read a whole paragraph or even at times a whole page without a period?

The Who, What, Where, When, and Why requirements for the first paragraph that are taught to reporters in US Journalism classes all go begging here as well. Many times not answered in the whole article. Of course columnists are excused from these, but we do get a plethora of political opinions.

Too, the announcements for events that leave out times or locations, and the reports of accidents that give license plate numbers and the statute reference under which some participant was arrested, but don't tell you what happened to the unlucky people can really be irritating.

Adiós. jerezano.


esperanza

Jul 31, 2006, 9:36 PM

Post #14 of 17 (7944 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MariaLund] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
I was not talking about dialects, slang, or colloquialisms, but about differences in usage and pronunciation. Perhaps you have misunderstood me.


http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









MariaLund

Aug 1, 2006, 8:08 AM

Post #15 of 17 (7931 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
I understood that, but = perhaps due to my linguistic ignorance - to me all differences in usage or pronounciation are to be attributed to some kind of deviation from the "model" of correct use. You say there are different correct uses in both English and Spanish. Like a correct Oxford and correct Cambridge and correct Scottish or in the USA a correct New York or a correct Southern drawl. Still, when I learned English ( at Oxford when I was advanced enough) nobody taught me those "correct" variations, only ONE general correct way of use and propnounciation. Perhaps I was not advanced enough.
But, thinking of other languages, there are variations between, say, Berlin and Hamburg German pronounciation as there are variation between Lund and Stockholm Swedish pronounciation, yet none of them is cosidered THE model German or Swedish, they are considered regional variations, part of regional dialects. I KNOW in Spain Castilian is THE model, all others are regional variations. I also read somewhere that Latin America during the conquista and colonial times was populated mostly by Andalusians and thus Andalusian Spanish pronounciation is prevalent in Latin America. But if that were true, I would still want to know - where those variations came from and are they now really all considered correct ( are all part of a model use of language) or are they just local dieviation, labeling their users perhaps not only as reference to their regional origin?

If someone taught me, for example, a southern drawl pretending it be a model English, I think I would kill such a teacher, because he/she would make me an awful disservice.
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!


jerezano

Aug 1, 2006, 9:13 AM

Post #16 of 17 (7926 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MariaLund] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply
Hello Marialund,

Your point is well taken. The "model" American English which is taught to most foreign students is known as Heartland English and is based on the north American region of which Chicago is the North boundary more or less.

Here in Mexico the "model" Spanish is based on Andalusian Spanish as MODIFIED HERE IN MEXICO over the centuries. Years ago television giant TELEVISA, headquartered in Mexico City, published a "Diccionario Anaya de La Lengua" [my edition is 1981] which they expected all their announcers to use as a "model" for Spanish here in México. I think that effort was long ago given up.

So, is border Spanish a good model? No. Is street Spanish from Mexico City a good model? No. Is the street Spanish in Puerto Vallarta a good model? No. So where is a good model? I am told that most of our American Films dubbed into Spanish for Latin American distribution use Puerto Rican voices. How true this is, I don't know.

I am here in Zacatecas for many reasons. One is that after studying Spanish with an Ecuadorian instructor for a short time in Matamoros, Tamaulipas I realized that border Spanish was not my bag. I was told that here in Zacatecas the Spanish was more "pure". I came here and found it so. When I took a year of Spanish Literature with the University of Zacatecas, I found that the University Instructors spoke almost exactly as my neighbors with the exception that their vocabularies were a lot more extensive.

Still as soon as I open my mouth and say Buenos Días, my listeners know that I am a foreigner even if their backs are turned and they can't see me. Do I worry? Not a bit. They understand me and I understand them. What more can be expected of oral communication?

Now that isn't saying that some of our campesinos don't speak a bit more roughly. Zacatecanos in general have a bad habit of swallowing their final s's. The laboring population also have a noticeable habit of rolling their final r's. But in general, the Spanish is indeed "pure".

Wherever you go, you will find deviations from that "Model" wherever it is and whatever it is. When you discover "IT", please let me know. I will join you in a class.

One other word of advice and counsel. Never use Cuban Spanish as a model!

Adiós. jerezano.


MariaLund

Aug 1, 2006, 10:15 AM

Post #17 of 17 (7923 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jerezano] Differences in prononciation of certain consonants...

Can't Post | Private Reply

In Reply To

Now that isn't saying that some of our campesinos don't speak a bit more roughly. Zacatecanos in general have a bad habit of swallowing their final s's. The laboring population also have a noticeable habit of rolling their final r's. But in general, the Spanish is indeed "pure". Lol, those quirks seem pure (unmodified?) Andalusian to me. :-) Thanks a bunch for your response, jerezano. I almost started believing - however illogical it seemed to me - that Latin Spanish defies all known to me rules concerning languages. :-)
Vivere non est necesse, navigare necesse est!

(This post was edited by MariaLund on Aug 1, 2006, 1:05 PM)
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4