6 Vote


Although this question is kinda backwards and not asking about the Spanish language I still wanted to ask. Does anyone know of any kind of resource that shows native Spanish speakers a correct way of pronouncing English letters? I was thinking maybe showing Spanish words or parts of words that sound equivalent or close to how it would sound in English. Like English charts would show "a" as in father, I as in ee and so on.

I'm 18 and work on a vineyard with Guatemalan workers. I'm the only white American who works with them out in the fields and I would really like to help them learn English because it's extremely important for them for when they want to come back to the U.S. They want to learn it and appreciate when I teach them English through the little Spanish I know and vice versa with them teaching me Spanish. I would need something that could help them pronounce the words when I'm not there (I write out sheets with Spanish + English phrases...but if they saw the word "Hi" they would say "Hee" or or like "this is jim" would make them sound like "Thees ees jeem"

Any help would be appreciated. If I couldn't find any type of resource I was just going to record my voice and burn it onto CD's for them.

Thanks + Happy Easter.

  • Posted Apr 8, 2012
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  • Your desire to help is wonderful! We wish you the best of success! - bandit51jd Apr 8, 2012 flag

6 Answers

2 Vote

I've seen what you're saying in some blogs, and it's called "pronunciación figurada" (I don't know how to translate it to English) or "pronunciación aproximada" (approximated pronunciation). It's writting the closest Spanish sounds to the English word or phrase in question. It's like a simpler form of the phonetic alphabet.

For example: I'm allergic to penicillin [aim aléryic tu pénicilin]




  • I've made a hyperlink, it say's it's not found, but if you wait, it goes to http://es.over-blog.com/ - bandit51jd Apr 8, 2012 flag
  • Oh, I'm sorry it's two different links! Let me see if I can separate them. - bandit51jd Apr 8, 2012 flag
  • Gracias, pensé que era automático. - comunacho Apr 8, 2012 flag
  • Thanks EVERYONE for your responses, I really appreciate it! Great links Comunacho, that's exactly what I'm looking for. - FranklinsTow Apr 13, 2012 flag
2 Vote

I volunteer teach an ESL class in Texas, and one of my students does exactly what you are talking about. She doesn't use any formal system, she just writes down how the word sounds to her. "J" for "H" is a pretty obvious one, but I found it really interesting one day when I noticed she uses "D" for "TH."

I do have students who didn't get through much schooling in Mexico (most of my students are from Mexico), so the system doesn't work as well for them because they aren't always sure about Spanish spelling. If you could get one of your co-workers to understand what you are trying to do, you could probably pronounce the word and then they could write it out in a way to that makes sense and then you could share it with others. ¡Buena suerte!

1 Vote

There is a book that I use sometimes for beginning English speakers titled " Inglés para Latinos," $11 new. The book shows how to write English words so a spanish speaker can pronounce them. The book is marketed for Spanish speakers, it's basic but helpful. Good luck, it sounds like a great project.

1 Vote

Here are a couple more links. I hope they compliment the above answers.

The Spanish Alphabet

Learning English Pronunciation Rules

1 Vote

Hello Franklins Towers, Your issue partly involves teaching Spanish speakers to make sounds that don't exist in their language. This is very difficult - just think how hard it is for us English speakers to make the rolled "rr". The short "i" sound in English is not found in Spanish. You have to teach native Spanish speakers how to position their tongue to make it sound like the way we pronound "it" as opposed to "eat" which is what they will say. This involves teaching them to lower the tongue a little. You can develop "kinesthetic awareness" yourself by realizing how your articulatory apparatus - lips, tongue, jaw, vocal chords - is positioned when each sound is made. In Enghlish we also have the "schwa" sound that is used very often. The first syllable of "about" has the schwa sound, the vowel sound in the 2nd syllable of "special" is also the schwa sound followed by "l". Again to make this sound requires Spanish speakers to position their tongue lower than they are accuostomed to, in order to produce this sound. Also, at the end of the long "o" we round our lips. Lay one finger against your lips and say the word "so" and you will feel the lips rounding. This also has to be taught, as it does not occur in the Spanish language. Hope this helps. You might want to do a little reading on "phonetics". That might help you also. Good luck! I wish I had your opporunity to learn Spanish!

  • Yeah phonetics plays a critical role. An example was when one of the workers wanted to say "good morning boss" in English. He had a really hard time saying good and boss. Thanks! - FranklinsTow Apr 13, 2012 flag
0 Vote

Hola ...

muy bien.... I am home schooling a girl here in the Philippines and her command of English and especially her vocabulary skills are not good, silly as it may sound she learned the different English Alphabet sounds from Sesame Street. I try downloaded the alphabet song English version and it was a success. I know it is childish but it would be fun. I had difficulty when it came to the ch (k sound) and ch (sh sound) chair - Christmas so Sesame Street saved the day :-D

I wish you all the best...

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