As the second most spoken language around the world, Spanish is among the many languages one will encounter on a frequent basis. If you grew up learning Spanish, you may find that Spanish speakers tend to speak English a little bit differently, and maybe even sometimes are difficult to understand! Let's go over some common mistakes Spanish speakers make when speaking English.
A common mistake that Spanish speakers make is pronouncing 'V' as 'B' sound in English. As such words like 'very' will sound like 'berry', and 'vote' will sound like 'boat'.
'TH' sounds are also a common issue. In English the 'TH' sound is pronounced with the tongue staying between the teeth. Spanish speakers may pronounce it with the tongue behind the teeth, resulting in words like 'the' and 'that' sounding like 'de' and 'dat'.
Spanish words never start with an 's' sound, and instead are often pronounced with an initial 'es' sound. As such, Spanish speakers learning English may carry that pronunciation over, resulting in some English words sounding quite different. Examples include 'school' and 'Spain' sounding like 'es-school' and 'espain'.
Another troublesome issue are 'M' sounds, as Spanish words do not end with 'm'. Spanish speakers may replace it with a 'N' sound - for example, 'time' becomes 'tine', and handsome becomes 'handsone'.
One of the biggest pronunciation problems for Spanish speakers is that Spanish lacks a distinction between short and long vowels. When speaking English, Spanish speakers may stretch out vowel sounds which can change the word entirely to an English listener.
The 'I' sound in English can be pretty tricky for non-native speakers. Spanish speakers may pronounce 'ih' sounds as 'ee' sounds. For example, 'ship' becomes 'sheep' and 'trip' becomes 'treep'. Other examples include pronouncing 'bit' as 'beet', and 'pull' as 'pool'.
Similarly, Spanish speakers may have difficulty distinguishing the 'O' sounds, so words like 'boat' and 'bought' are both pronounced as 'boat'.
That concludes our list of common mistakes Spanish speakers may make when speaking English. It is by no means everything, but should cover some of the more common mistakes as you learn to speak English.
Want to learn more about common mistakes? Read our blog post about common French speaker mistakes here.
Learn more about common mistakes from our blog posts here!