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Old 17th September 2007, 04:55 PM   #1
El Niño
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Default Which accent to go for?

Pimsleur used the neutral or south american accent i.e ZaragoSa not ZaragoTHa, I'm going to be using Assimil next which is Spanish from Spain so uses the 'th' pronunciation, obviously I'd be visiting Spain mostly as I'm in the UK, does it matter which I use or would you recommend one over the other?

Gracias
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:46 PM   #2
ZeroTX
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It makes the most sense (to me) to mimick the accent of the country that you plan to visit the most. The "th" pronunciation, to me, just makes it really hard to decipher what people are saying in many instances, especially words spoken quickly (in which the "th" sound just disappears into nothing, while an "s" sound is quite clear). However, if I was in the UK and planning to mostly travel to Spain, I'd learn how they speak it there....

Since I live in Texas, I'm learning the Latin American pronunciation, but I listen to podcasts, etc, with the Spanish form. It's more difficult to decipher, but not impossible.

-Michael
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Old 17th September 2007, 09:35 PM   #3
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What are some other accent differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish I should look out for? I'm from Texas and plan to use my Spanish in Mexico and Latin America, but I'm using some resources that teach the Spain-style accent.
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Old 17th September 2007, 09:51 PM   #4
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Well, some Latin Americans use an unusual pronunciation of the Spanish "ll" letter combination. If you listen, it normally sounds somewhat like an English "y" sound in most places, but many Latin Americans make it sound like an English "j" sound. This is not universal and is, in fact, some sort of regional difference in different parts of Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Of course, the overall "accent" is different in all Spanish speaking countries. The Mexican accent is relatively easy to listen to once you are accustomed to it. Costa Ricans have a sort of "sing-song" way of speaking that is sort-of pleasant, if not a bit distracting, to listen to. Cubans have a really muddled indecipherable way of speaking Spanish
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Old 17th September 2007, 10:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroTX View Post
Well, some Latin Americans use an unusual pronunciation of the Spanish "ll" letter combination. If you listen, it normally sounds somewhat like an English "y" sound in most places, but many Latin Americans make it sound like an English "j" sound. This is not universal and is, in fact, some sort of regional difference in different parts of Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Eeenteresting . . . yes, so far I have found that Mexican Spanish is the easiest to understand through listening. On one learning CD I had, the speakers pronounced a "y" like a soft "j" - like, "Jo voy a la tienda" instead of "Yo voy." I wonder where that comes from.
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Old 18th September 2007, 12:15 AM   #6
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My Spanish accent is largely European but as far as listening skills are concerned, I'm trying to get used to a variety of accents. I'm interested in the Spanish-speaking world as a whole (Spain and Mexico being my favorite countries) and I listen to several podcasts from Spain and Latin America.

Of course, Spanish has got many regional 'dialects' and vocabularies (regionalismos) but every country also has a generic version of its own which enables people from all over the Spanish-speaking world to communicate with each other.
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Old 18th September 2007, 06:03 AM   #7
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So most of Spain uses the 'th' sound?
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Old 18th September 2007, 07:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Niño View Post
So most of Spain uses the 'th' sound?
Andalusía doesn't, nor do the Canary Islands. Canarian accents are actually far more like an accent from say Venezuela than from mainland Spain. I worked in Gran Canaria for a while and to this day I find it very hard to pronounce the S on the end of a word. Or to say España instead of Ehpaña
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Old 18th September 2007, 09:08 AM   #9
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Like el niño, I am learning from Pimsleur and am quite concerned that I may have made a bad decision. The fact is there is far more learning materials available to learn South American Spanish then there are for European Spanish. So long as I can be understand I don't suppose it matters. I'd just like some reassurance that I'll be ok.
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Old 18th September 2007, 09:56 AM   #10
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The "j" sound in "ll" is something very characteristic of Argentina, most specifically in Buenos Aires. I spent about a month there this summer and it was very obvious--"jo (yo) voy a comprar poi-joh (pollo) y se-boi-jah (cebolla)." Also: "A-jah" (ella) and "eye-jah" (alla). I have never heard of this particular accent being used much in other regions..has anyone else?

I agree that the best plan is to try and pick up the accent of the region you are going to be visiting the most often, but there is huge diversity of accents within Latin America. Bolivians and Perivians both have reputations for having very "good" standard Spanish "correct" (ie, formal) accents, while Chileans and Cubans have reputations for having very unique pronunciations and accents.

It seems to me that anyone living in the States would be safe to focus mainly on a Mexican accent since there is a wealth of free resources--television channels, radio stations etc. The Mexican accent is also fairly standard.

Finally, despite my inclination to use more of a Chilean accent, it only takes me a couple of minutes to slip into a more Argentine or Mexican dialect, depending on who I am speaking to. And I guess in reality I will prob always sound somewhat like a gringa!
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Old 19th September 2007, 05:58 PM   #11
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well because i have learned from argentinians, the argentinian accent is IMO the best. I also like the accent from spain, but my fav is most definetly from Argentina. Like he said above, pollo --> "posho" and playa --> "plasha." You will find this strongest in Buenos Aires, where the "porteños" are, but also in Santa Fe and other parts of Argentina the speak in varying degrees like this. In parts of Uruguay its very difficult to differentiate the argentinians from the uruguayos as well.
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Old 20th September 2007, 02:33 AM   #12
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I would say, just try to mimic whatever you hear. I think something people forget is no matter how hard we try, as close as we get, we will likely never completely lose our native accents. And I really wouldn't be put off by that. So I'd go ahead and mimic the Assimil accents, or whatever's around you, the best you can. Your accent will likely change as you have more opportunities to speak with native speakers anyway.
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Old 20th September 2007, 03:39 AM   #13
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I used to really like Spanish from Spain - until watching dozens of badly-dubbed (usually old) movies while living here. I, like I believe many in Latin America, groan when the movie starts and you hear an Madrid accent. And 80's VHS movies on long distance buses with bad speakers, dubbed in a Madrid accent, can be seriously detrimental to your health.

The Madrid accent still remains one of my top easiest to understand though, I'd prefer it over incomprehensible Chilean or Caribbean/Venezuelan, squeaky Central American and just plain incorrect Argentinian. (My opinions)

My favourite accent is Mexican.

I have no idea if it is easy to switch accents depending on where you are... I'm not sure I'd be able to do it. I now get tongue-tied trying to say difi-TH-il.
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Old 20th September 2007, 06:07 AM   #14
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I guess it depends where you are likely to go most, many people did tell me to stay away from the Argentine accent and that Mexican was clearest but I'm going to be in Spain more than anywhere else so I guess the Madrid accent is worth mimicking.
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Old 20th September 2007, 09:59 AM   #15
Edith
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Here is a small collection of national accents from all over Latin America. They were collected by Sofía from Argentina, who runs a language weblog called 'Desde el baño':

http://desdeelbano.blogspot.com/search/label/Acentos

Countries like Mexico seem to have a wide range of regional sub-accents because its population is very diverse.

From my own experience, I would say that some Mexicans are very easy to understand whereas others speak some kind of regional dialect or urban slang. The four Mexicans in the audio sample have different accents.

Last edited by Edith; 20th September 2007 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 20th September 2007, 03:01 PM   #16
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This morning I witnessed three Spaniards from different regions argue about the pronunciation of "Paella", so us poor guirris will never win.

Pimsleur is the wrong accent for most of the Spanish peninsular, but any resource for learning the language is good. The differences are akin to Uk and US English, so no really big deal.
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