You have seen us in:
Spanish pronunciation classes
Practical classes to learn how to integrate Spanish pronunciation into your DAILY STUDY ROUTINE. Reduce your foreign accent and double your understanding!
SPANISH PRONUNCIATION CLASSES
Why choose us?
We can help you if:
You are tired of not being able to participate comfortably in conversations with Spanish native speakers. Sometimes you can’t understand them, but you know you would if you could read what they say.
It annoys you when native speakers ask you "where are you from?" before finishing your first sentence, or when they prefer to speak English with you.
You feel frustrated when your Spanish teachers or friends say that they don't understand you, or that you have a thick accent when you speak Spanish, but they don't know how to help you.
You have an intermediate or advanced level of Spanish.
Fully satisfied students
Students’ reviews and comments:
Rating at Italki
As an intermediate student, I struggled with being understood in conversation. When I started working with Alexandra, I came to not only understand how to correctly pronounce letters, but how to form sentences with correct inflection so that people can understand whether I am asking a question or making a statement. I now can see differences between the English and Spanish languages that I was not aware of before, and can adjust the flow of my Spanish to sound more natural. Alexandra is an encouraging and supportive teacher, and her lessons are always enjoyable.
Lisa Proctor - USA
I started studying with Alexandra because sometimes native speakers didn't understand me very well because of my accent. I could not pronounce some sounds correctly (especially "r"), nor could I manage rhythm or intonation. My two "highlights" have been understanding the mechanism to pronounce the ERRES and how to connect the words so that they do not sound one by one as in my native language, but linked as in Spanish. Thanks to this I have been able to better serve the Spanish-speaking elders in my city as a volunteer in my church.
Marcos Wang, Software Engineer (China).
Hi! I'm Tereza and I contacted Alexandra because I was too embarrassed to speak in Spanish, and that didn't allow me to evolve, nor to achieve my personal and professional goals. With Alexandra's help I have learned a lot about the vocal apparatus, about the formation of sounds and about how natives speak. I am even preparing a presentation in Spanish and I am going to face a Spanish audience, something I would never have imagined. If you are looking for someone professional and who will help you achieve your goals, look no further because Alexandra is the perfect person and I recommend her 100%.
Tereza Afonso, Translator (Portugal).
Some frequently asked questions
Here you can read some of the frequently asked questions. To read them all visit "Frequently Asked Questions"below.
Because there are 5 false myths about the Spanish language:
- FM1: Pronunciation = R - J - C/Z - LL
It is very likely that in the Spanish courses you have taken you have never been taught anything about pronunciation, not even in conversation classes, right? If you know anything about pronunciation, it is only about sounds.Isn't that right? The few textbooks about Spanish phonetics, or YouTube videos, are totally oriented to improve the sounds. But there are other elements that are MUCH MORE important to understand and to be understood. For example, my friend from Chile and I speak Spanish, and the pronunciation of s and z differentiates us WHEN WE SPEAK, but our melody and rhythm are EVEN MORE different.
- FM2: Listening for a long time helps you improve.
My teacher is a native speaker, I listen to podcasts every day, I watch series, I read aloud... And I have an accent when I speak! Most of my students tell me this... Of course! When you are listening you pay attention to what is said, but you pay no regard to how it is said. And whenever you read without paying attention to how you say it, you use the pronunciation of your native language. Listening or reading more is not the key, you have to know what to listen to and how to read in order to improve.
- FM 3: You speak too fast, that's why I don't understand you.
When you are in class you understand your teacher. Then you go out or visit a Hispanic country and you barely understand a thing. And the reason is: "Because you speak too fast!" I have been there, that's what I thought the first time I visited Ireland... We speak fast, it's true, but most of the time you don't understand because you don't know the pronunciation rules that are present when speaking. You know well how we write but not how we speak. This has to do with the following false myth.
- FM4: Spanish is spoken as it is written
Big no-no! Spanish is NOT spoken as it is written.
Firstly, because a language is more than sounds (there is melody, there is rhythm, there are emotions... and all that cannot be written); and, secondly, because in Spanish some letters have more than one sound depending on the context. Because of this belief, many teachers don't know how to correct you or they tell you that, of course, since you don't get the "R" you have an accent... Has something similar happened to you? The truth is that they only detect the foreign accent but not what is wrong.
- FM5: Spanish Pronunciation is easy
Why don't my teachers teach pronunciation?
Because everyone thinks it's easy!
Its absence in the classes is the tip of the iceberg, but what you don't see is that there are Spanish teacher training courses that do not include pronunciation, and that, in addition, there is a prejudice among Spanish speakers themselves.
Therefore, if teachers don't learn it, they can't teach it! And since they don't learn it, they keep thinking that it is not important.
I work daily with ELE students of many different nationalities who have serious problems with Spanish pronunciation. You see, it is not easy. They think that because it has fewer vowel sounds than English, it is easier. Then, people think that LESS quantity means EASIER. BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE..
English speakers, for example, have a lot of trouble pronouncing Spanish vowels correctly, even though there are more in their language. Bottom line, Spanish has different elements from those of your mother tongue that you must know in order to understand and produce correctly..
So, we have 5 New Beliefs for you, please share them with everyone 🙂
NB 1. Pronunciation = much more than sounds
NB 2. Listening to pronunciation helps you improve
NB 3. I don't know the pronunciation, that's why I don't understand you..
NB 4. Spanish is NOT spoken as it is written
NB 5. Spanish pronunciation is VERY IMPORTANT.
As I told you in the previous question, pronunciation is key to better understanding and speaking. I have experienced this myself with the languages I have learned and I see it every day in my students.
You have to learn to listen to the key elements of pronunciation in isolation and integrated into speech, i.e. at the same time. This is the only way to better understand the message. And only when you listen to these key elements of pronunciation you can produce them well..
Because when we learn a new language, we are deaf to the new pronunciation.We pass through the filter of our mother tongue all the sounds and music/melody that we hear, therefore, we end up not understanding correctly what we hear. This is the basis of the Verbo-tonal Method, a method of teaching pronunciation that I invite you to know (link https://www.verbotonal.org/sistema-verbotonal/metodo-verbotonal/ )
Surely it has also happened to you that you have listened for years to podcasts, series, the news... and yet you still have a strong accent when speaking Spanish. It's absolutely normal, you don't have any serious problem... What happens is that at the age of 7 or so your ear stop picking up new sounds and melodies as easily as before. And no matter how much you listen, it is very difficult for you to grasp what you need to reproduce the message well without the influence of your mother tongue.
So, is there a solution? Yes, people like Alberto and me, who do not have an amazing ear (most of us, by the way) need to stimulate the brain, not the ear. You must stop listening repeatedly, it makes no sense at all. That might help you improve other skills, but not pronunciation.
Traditionally, what is done is to stimulate the ear by listening to Spanish repeatedly, daily. But by doing that you engage the ear, and therefore you continue to keep on pronouncing with a foreign accent.
When you stimulate the brain you pay attention to how the message is said. Instead of spending 30 minutes listening to a podcast, you spend 3 minutes focusing on pronunciation key elements, just pronunciation, ignoring the meaning. This exercise should be done several days in a row so that the brain can detect the new pronunciation and change habits when listening and, subsequently, when producing.
It is very important to stop thinking that pronunciation means sounds. There is a super important part called PROSODY, which is key to successful communication.
Prosody includes intonation and rhythm. We can say that it is what surrounds the sounds, the melody of speech. It is something abstract that you need to learn to listen to because it contains much of the meaning of the message and, of course, it is responsible for the foreign accent. At Spanish Pronunciation Academy we know how important it is for communication and we help you understand it and produce it successfully.
To begin with, and as we have said, by learning pronunciation, you learn to notice how we speak and, with practice, you get to know what you have to do to be able to imitate successfully. What happens is that instead of "listen and repeat", you listen, understand the pronunciation, and repeat successfully.
In addition, you learn to detect how native speakers sound and how you sound, therefore it is easier to correct and imitate.
We know from experience that learning a language is like a roller coaster, and so is pronunciation! But the ability to recognize and produce in a controlled manner is never lost or forgotten. With the integrated pronunciation method you gain a lifelong skill.
There is no point in knowing pronunciation if you have to think about it all the time. It's not enough to know the rules and practice a day or two. You have to integrate it into your Spanish.
With our method, you will do an intensive initial practice in order to change your listening habits and be able to perfectly recognize the pronunciation element. Afterwards, you will do quality listening practice because you will focus on the pronunciation. The goal is to create a habit using a few minutes a day. By paying attention to pronunciation you will be able to listen to what we do and what you do. Then, you will repeat better and by repeating better in your practice, you will sound more natural, i.e. you will speak with a lighter foreign accent.
There are several key elements that are unique to Spanish and different in most languages: intonation, rhythm, some occlusive phonemes, approximant phonemes, vibrant phonemes such as the R's, velars such as the "j", palatal phonemes such as the "ll", vowels... Most people learning Spanish have problems with these elements because they are unique to Spanish. They are key because they help you understand better and reduce your accent.
So, regardless of what your native language is, you will have problems with all or almost all these key elements.
Any. It is true that after the first 7 years of childhood the brain does not pick up new sounds and melodies as easily as before, but the power of motivation and perseverance is brutal. 50% of my students are over 50 years old and the results are totally satisfying. Older people tend to have more free time and are more consistent.
At the beginning, learning pronunciation requires exclusive, intensive practice and high levels of concentration to grasp what is new. However, afterwards much of the practice can be done while walking the dog, driving, reading a book or listening to the news.
This, as you can imagine, depends a lot on your involvement and the time you can dedicate to pronunciation.
Something I have noticed over the years is that, on average, it takes a week to pick up a new element when practicing every day. Another week to be able to produce it successfully, and two or three more weeks to reach spontaneous speech. Depending on the elements you need to improve, you can calculate the time you need. Also, the time you can spend practicing at home has a drastic influence.
Yes, it can be done, but it is not an easy goal to achieve.
At Spanish Pronunciation Academy we think that it is not desirable to speak like a native, but to speak with confidence, enjoying ourselves, clearly, so that native speakers do not have to make an effort to understand us.
What you can definitely achieve is to reduce your foreign accent, to sound more natural and gain confidence when speaking. The people around you will notice the difference and native speakers will understand you more easily and will prefer to speak Spanish with you.
Generally, a minimum of 5 pronunciation elements to be corrected or improved are detected in the Diagnosis. To be able to control all these elements 100% of the time in spontaneous speech is not easy, so we advise you to focus on the previous paragraph.
A Diagnosis of your pronunciation. You will know what your strengths and weaknesses are when conversing, not only regarding the sounds, but also the melody and rhythm.
A customized action plan. Which elements of pronunciation are essential to work on first, and which later, and the time needed.
Pronunciation-Springboard. Understand twice as much RIR Spanish. Improve the level of your Spanish. Enjoy learning and practicing Spanish much more.
Less "what?" from natives. Native speakers understand you without so much effort and no longer want to speak English with you.
More Spanish practice. As you feel more confident, you enjoy speaking Spanish more and, therefore, you practice more.
Less weight. Overcome a frustration that has been dragging on for years.
In short, to know what to do to be able to converse comfortably in conversations with native speakers, and to take the leap you need to take your Spanish to the next level.
AI (Auditory-Intensive) activities: listening exclusively to the element or elements you are working on. These activities are the first ones, they are used to learn to recognize the pronunciation element, both in Spanish and in your native language. We recommend 5 to 7 days of this type of practice, every day for several minutes. It is recommended to be done in quiet moments and paying close attention. It can be done with or without text, that is, just listening without reading, or reading while listening. And it is recommended to do it both ways.
LUR (Listen-Understand-Repeat) activities: listen to a word or phrase, detect the pronunciation element being worked on, and repeat trying to imitate the key element.
MR Activities (Mark Reading): read words, sentences and short texts (in this order) marking the pronunciation element first.
CS (Controlled Speech) activities: speaking about something taking into account the element of pronunciation that is being worked on. Alexandra will correct you so that you gain awareness when you produce it incorrectly and why. After several corrections, you will start to self-correct. This is a great moment, because you start to be autonomous in the production and improvement of your pronunciation. And this is the previous step to achieve the integration of pronunciation in spontaneous speech.
SC Activities (Self-correction): Record yourself reading or speaking. Listen to yourself and look at the element you are working on. Are you getting it right? If you are not sure, you will send it to Alexandra and together, you will learn to detect if something is wrong and why.
When you purchase classes at SPA, you receive an email to access our Slack community. There you can ask any questions to our community, and to Alexandra directly. You can also use our free Phonetic transcriberin which you can see a text marked with key elements such as links, syllables and tonic syllables, approximant phonemes and sonorization. If your question is still unresolved, you can write an email to Alexandra.
Of course. At Spanish Pronunciation Academy we teach all the elements of Spanish pronunciation: prosody and sounds.
The vast majority of people succeed. Alexandra has been teaching speakers of different languages for more than 6 years how to vibrate the tongue more and less intensely in order to produce the two Spanish R's. In addition, she knows perfectly well the activities and exercises to fine-tune the muscles involved in the pronunciation of this sound, so she will help you in an effective way.
However, we must not forget that there are other factors that influence success: language movement problems, psychological barriers, lack of practice, lack of continuity, motivation, etc., which must also be taken into account.