This Is How Latinos Pronounce Names In English

There are many situations where older generation Latinos that live in the US mispronounce words. This YouTube video about Abuela Pronounces GRINGO Names showcases some of the common names that Latinos find hard to pronounce like Alex, Alistair, Alison, Aidan, Catherine, Scott, Jonathan, Jenny, Sean, Dorothy, Savanna, Clifford, Ruth, Faith, Jenna, Cameron, Wendy, Bruce, Stephanie, Jack, Jessica, Janet, and Michael.

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English is indeed a difficult language to pronounce of it is not your native language. There are concepts of English pronunciation that are challenging for some native Spanish language speakers.

“Y” Instead of “J”

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In Spanish, the sound for the English letter s “j” and “y” are allophones, which means it is easy for them to be substituted for each other. As a result, it may be hard for Spanish-talkers to know how to differentiate between those particular sounds. Most individuals who talk in Spanish tend to pronounce “j” as “y” or vice versa. “Jonathan” may be pronounced as “Yonathan”, “Jenna” may be pronounced as “Yenna”, etc.

Omission of “t” and “k”

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The word “breakfast” is simple to pronounce for native English speakers, but for those who speak Spanish most of the time, it is a struggle. Spanish speakers will usually leave out the “k” and the “t” as those two are connected to another constant. In the end they say “brefas”. As for English names like “Janet” in Abuela Pronounces GRINGO Names video, the word may be mispronounced as “Yanet”

Failure to Pronounce the “th” Sound

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At times, pronouncing words that have the “th” sound may be difficult for native Spanish speakers. From a fun point of view, it is really hilarious uttering “teet” instead of “teeth”, “Rut” in place of “Ruth” or “Fait” for “Faith”. Speaking English is harder than it seems, actually any foreign language takes time to master.

Lengthening Vowel Sounds

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People who speak Spanish usually make short vowel sounds tense or long, and thus they confuse word like “ship” with “sheep”, by replacing the relaxed “i” with a long “e”. Examples of English names that are also fit in this category are “Jessica” and “Aidan”. “Jessica may be mispronounced as “Yesseeca”.

“Uh” Instead of the Long “o”

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In English, letter “o” is a diphthong /oʊ/. To pronounce it rightly, the “o” should be long, within the speaker’s lips closing downwards while saying the sound. However, non-native speakers may substitute the long “o” with “uh”. Therefore, a name like “Dorothy” might come out as “Duhruhty” or “Jonathan” as “Juhnathan”.

Problem with Final Consonant Clusters

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Spanish-speakers may find themselves adding some syllables to the final consonant clusters in English. Like saying “fiss” in place of “fifths”, or “Aless” in place of “Alex”. Try saying those words out loud and see how it sounds. Quite humorous, isn’t it?

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The Spanish language features 5 pure vowels and five diphthongs. Here, the length of the vowel is not important in differentiating between phrases. On the other hand, English has twelve pure vowels and eight diphthongs. The vowel sound length is significant. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Spanish native language speakers may find it really hard to pronounce some English vowel sounds.

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