Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will be able to solve your doubts about the web and about how to work at phonetic transcriber is immensely useful
Doubts about our beliefs and methodology:
Why there are 5 common false myths about Spanish:
- FM1: Pronunciation = R - J - C/Z - LL
It is very likely that in all the Spanish courses you have taken you have never been taught anything or almost nothing about pronunciation, not even in conversation classes, right? Y if you know anything about pronunciation, it will be about sounds.Isn't that right? The few manuals there are on Spanish phonetics, or videos on Youtube, are totally oriented to improve the sounds. But there are more elements that are MUCH MORE important to understand and be understood. For example, my friend from Chile and I speak Spanish, and yes, the pronunciation of s and z differentiates us WHEN WE SPEAK, but we are EVEN MORE differentiated by melody and rhythm.
- 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, because when you listen to you pay attention to what is said not how it is said. And when you read without paying attention to how you say it, you are using the pronunciation of your native language. Listening or reading more is not better, 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.
You are in class and you understand your teacher. Then you go out in the street or visit a Hispanic country and you understand almost nothing. And the reason is: "Because you speak too fast!" I understand you, 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
No, no and no. Spanish is NOT spoken as it is written.
First, because a language is more than sounds (there is melody, there is rhythm, there are emotions... and all that cannot be written); and, second, 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? But no, the reality is that they only detect the foreign accent but not what is wrong.
- FM5: Pronunciation of Spanish is easy
Why don't my teachers teach me pronunciation?
Because everyone thinks it's easy!
Their absence in 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 continue to think it is not important.
I work daily with ELE students of many different nationalities who have serious problems with Spanish pronunciation. NO, it is not easy. They think that because, for example, it has fewer vowels than English, it is easier, that is to say, people think that LESS quantity means EASIER. BUT NOT.
English speakers, for example, have a lot of trouble pronouncing Spanish vowels correctly, even though they have more of them in their language. Bottom line, Spanish has elements different 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 🙂
NC 1. Pronunciation = much more than sounds
NC 2. Listening to pronunciation helps you improve
NC 3. I don't know the pronunciation, that's why I don't understand you..
NC 4. Spanish is NOT spoken as it is written
NC 5. Spanish pronunciation is VERY IMPORTANT.
As I told you in the previous question, pronunciation is the 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 if you listen to these key elements of pronunciation can you produce them well..
Because when we learn a new language, we are deaf to the new pronunciationIn our native language, we pass through the filter of our mother tongue all the sounds and music/melody that we hear, therefore, we do not end up 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 if you are interested in (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, right? Of course, it's absolutely normal, you don't have any serious problem... What happens is that at the age of 7 or so your ear closes to new sounds and melodies. And no matter how much you listen, it is very difficult for you to catch what you need to reproduce the message well, without the influence of your mother tongue.
So, is there a solution? Yes, for those people who, like Alberto and me, do not have a super good ear (most of them, by the way). we need to stimulate the brain, not the ear. You have to stop listening repeatedly, it makes no sense, it helps you improve other skills, but not pronunciation.
Traditionally, what is done is to stimulate the ear, that is, to listen repeatedly, daily, to Spanish, and with that you activate the ear, and you continue to pronounce with a foreign accent.
When you stimulate the brain you pay attention to how the message is said. Instead of listening to 30 minutes of a podcast, you listen to 3 minutes of key elements of the pronunciation, just pronunciation, without looking at the meaning. This practice should be done several days in a row so that there is a change in the way of understanding, so that the brain detects the new pronunciation and changes habits when listening and, subsequently, when producing.
It is very important that you stop thinking that pronunciation means sounds. There is a super important part called PROSODIA, 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 includes 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 to 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, so 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 not lost. With the integrated pronunciation method Spanish Pronunciation Academy you gain a skill for life.
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 do an intensive initial practice in order to change your listening habits and to be able to perfectly recognize the pronunciation element. Afterwards, you do quality listening practice because you focus on the pronunciation. The goal is that you create a habit and dedicate a few minutes a day for this. By paying attention to pronunciation, and getting to listen to what we do and what you do, you can change and repeat better. And by repeating better in your practice, you sound more natural, i.e. you speak with less of a foreign accent.
There are several key elements that are characteristic of Spanish and different in most languages: intonation, rhythm, some occlusive phonemes, approximant phonemes, vibrant phonemes such as the R's, velars such as the jack, 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 speak with less accent.
So, regardless of what your native language is, you will have problems with all or almost all of these key elements.
Anybody. It is true that at 7 years or so the ear closes to new sounds and melodies but the power of motivation and perseverance is brutal. My students' 50% is over 50 years old and the results are great and totally satisfying. Older people tend to have more time and are more consistent.
While using Spanish in your favorite moments and in your routine. Only at the beginning does it require exclusive, intensive practice and increased concentration to grasp what is new, but much of the pronunciation practice can be done while walking the dog, while driving, while reading a book or listening to the news.
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 speaker, but to speak with confidence, enjoying ourselves, and 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, so that the people around you notice the differences, so that native speakers have to make less effort to listen to you and prefer to speak Spanish with you, so that you gain confidence when speaking.
Generally, a minimum of 5 pronunciation elements to be changed are detected in the Diagnosis. To be able to control in spontaneous speech all these elements 100% of the time is not easy, so we advise you to focus on the previous paragraph.
A Diagnosis of your Spanish pronunciation. You will know what your strengths and weaknesses are when conversing, not only 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-Trampolín. 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 are less nervous and more confident, you enjoy speaking Spanish more, you want to do it 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 and without nerves in conversations with native speakers, and to make the leap you need to take your Spanish to the next level.
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 unions, syllables and tonic syllables, approximant phonemes and sonorization. Of course, 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 R's of Spanish. In addition, she knows perfectly well the activities and exercises to fine-tune the musculature involved in the pronunciation of this sound, so she will help you in an effective way.
But we cannot 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.
This, as you can imagine, depends a lot on your involvement and the time you can dedicate to pronunciation.
Something we have observed over the years is that, on average, and practicing every day, it takes a week to pick up a new element, 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 will need.
Attention, the time you can spend practicing has a drastic influence.
At the beginning, we recommend two classes a week, progressively reducing to one a week, one every two weeks... It depends on how you work and evolve, how you feel and your autonomy in practice.
As for practicing outside of class, it is recommended that you find a space of 10-15 minutes a day. Think that the most complicated thing is not to produce the new element of pronunciation in isolation, but to integrate it into your Spanish and stop doing what you have been doing for some time, that is, to change your habits.
Questions about services:
At Spanish Pronunciation Academy we offer pronunciation classes to help you sound more natural, gain fluency and better understand the fast, informal and relaxed Spanish that native speakers use in our conversations.
The first thing to do is to book your Diagnosis and then, if Alexandra can help you and we agree, buy packages of 2 or 4 classes, depending on your preference or what you have agreed with Alexandra.
In addition, you have at your disposal, free of charge, the only transcriber in the world that transcribes the rhythm (unions, syllables and tonic syllables), as well as some key sounds of Spanish.
No. Book a Pronunciation Diagnostic first so Alexandra can listen to you and find out if she can help you, or not, and what is the best possible way.
When you purchase your first package of pronunciation classes at Spanish Pronunciation Academy, you will receive an email to register and become part of our Slack Community.
From there you will communicate with Alexandra.
In addition, you will find and be able to chat with people who, like you, love Spanish and want to improve their pronunciation to reduce their accent and sound as natural as possible. There is a space to ask questions that we solve together, another one for suggestions and ideas to practice and keep improving.
Questions about classes and payments:
You can pay with your credit/debit card.
You can pay with Paypal.
Buying from Spanish Pronunciation Academy is totally secure.
This website uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol and all payment management is handled by Stripe and Paypal, widely recognized platforms, so your payments are totally secure.
If you need an invoice, you should write to email@example.com and request one. Make sure you have indicated your VAT number and tax address when making the purchase.
You can pay with any currency. Prices are in euros, but when you pay, the exchange is done automatically.
Of course. Once you get to the online calendar, choose your time zone and book according to your availability. It's that easy.
First, purchase your Diagnosis or classes on the page "Buy your Pronunciation Lessons".
Automatically, if this is your first time registering, you will receive an email "Your Spanish Pronunciation Online Academy account has been created!". From there, you have two links to create your SPA account and to set your password.
You will also receive another email "Your Spanish Pronunciation Online Academy order is now complete" with a summary of your purchase.
Once you are logged into your SPA user account, you can click on the button to book your classes, which will take you to our online calendar.
There, choose your time zone and the day and time that best suits you, and when you book it, you will automatically receive an e-mail with the reservation data, the Zoom link and the necessary information to reschedule or cancel it.
We recommend that you book the number of classes you have purchased at the same time, and then reschedule them if you have any unforeseen circumstances from the confirmation emails you receive after booking.
Please do not delete class reservation confirmation emails until you have finished your class. This way you can know which classes you have pending, and cancel or reschedule them if something comes up.
Of course, as long as you do so at least 48 hours before the class. If you do not cancel your class 48 hours before, unfortunately, you will lose it.
If you need to change your class to another day, open your confirmation email, at the bottom you can see two buttons:
RESCHEDULE. It takes you to a page where you can book the class for another day/time.
CANCEL. Cancel your class.
We strongly suggest that you reschedule your class to another day.
Yes, you can. Notice and you do
Yes, from the moment of purchase, you have 6 months to schedule your classes. If you still need more time, you have to write to Alexandra (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask her to extend the package up to 3 more months.
If after those 3 months (9 in total) you do not reserve your classes, you will lose them.
When you book a class, you receive a confirmation email immediately, and two reminder emails, one 24 hours before, and one 2 hours before. In those emails you will receive a Zoom link that takes you to the online class. You must log in at the time of the class and wait for Alexandra to let you in.
You need an Internet connection as stable as possible, and of good quality.
You can connect from a computer, tablet or cell phone as long as you have the Zoom application installed.
Hearing you well is very important, so a quality microphone is recommended. Sometimes, the webcam microphone is enough. If in doubt, do a test beforehand.
Zoom is a video calling tool that we have been using for over 6 years and it works great. It usually detects your video and audio automatically. Although on rare occasions, there may be a problem with the video and/or audio. As zoom is an external platform to SPA, we recommend the following links:
Yes, if you are not satisfied with the SPA service, you can request a full or partial refund of the class package. You will be refunded minus any external charges for the purchase.
Classes are followed with the help of a PPT presentation and/or a word document.
The Diagnosis is sent in pdf format at the end of the class.
If you wish to continue working in SPA, the recommendation is as follows:
- Upload your diagnosis to Google Drive. Folder name: Pronunciación del español_tunombre.
- Dale editing access to Alexandra so that she can access that folder and continue uploading and editing the necessary documents.
If you don't have Google Drive and don't want to have it, please contact Alexandra.
Of course. In fact, it is something we highly recommend.
Remember to ask Alexandra for permission at the beginning of class.
The audio and video is saved on your computer.
To remove all your SPA data, you can unsubscribe from the newsletter by clicking on a link at the bottom of one of the emails you receive. You can also write to email@example.com and request it. Your personal information and data will be deleted from SPA.