The 5 Essentials for Perfecting the Spanish Accent
Perfecting an accent can be one of the biggest challenges of learning a new language. You don’t want to be one of those language learners who struggles to make themselves understood just because you didn’t put enough time into getting your accent spot on.
Spanish in particular is highly reliant on proper accents so if you’re determined to learn you should be giving your accent all the love and attention it needs. A little TLC goes a long way towards achieving accent excellence in the Spanish language, and here are 5 tips which should help you do just that:
1. Adopt an accent.
The Spanish language is the second most widely spoken language in the world and accents range extensively depending on geography. Narrow down which specific accent you’d like to adopt to avoid becoming overwhelmed with the amount of choices. There are huge differences, for example, between how Spanish is spoken in Spain as opposed to how it is spoken in Argentina. Once you become proficient in Spanish, you can consider giving other accents a try, but for beginners it’s recommended to focus on applying a single one – keeping it simple is the key!
2. Agility for that rolling R.
Something a lot of Spanish language learners struggle with is the terrible rolling R. Perfecting the rolling R is essential to being able to speak Spanish proficiently which means you need to give it its due. One good way to get the best of that R is by loosening up your tongue. Tongue twisters are fun and easy ways to practice getting your tongue rolling. One great recommendation is “tee dee va” – say this phrase over and over again as fast as you can on a daily basis and you’ll be sure to see improvement!
3. Act out your accent.
Practice makes perfect and you won’t get the ideal accent without plenty of it! Language exchange with a native Spanish speaker is an ideal way to find someone who will be willing to listen to you practice your skills. Native speakers catch on to small discrepancies very quickly and can offer a lot of constructive criticism to ensure you get your accent right and progress quickly! If you’re not sure how to find a good language exchange program, you can always Google it or put up posters at your local university detailing what you’re looking for. Foreign exchange students may love the opportunity to practice their English in exchange for helping you practice your Spanish.
4. Auditory – training your ears.
To be able to learn a language well, you have to develop a good ear for it. Having the ability to pick out different Spanish accents will help you to be able to use your Spanish anywhere in the world. It’s important to expose yourself to a wide variety of music in Spanish and spend some time watching Spanish movies from around the globe. You’ll develop a more discerning ear to help you pick up on your own mistakes better when you’re trying to speak the language.
5. Apply! Don’t be shy!
Now comes the exciting part, where you get to see if all your sweat and hard work has finally paid off. Start applying what you’ve learnt and practice that accent in the real world. Don’t be discouraged if in the beginning people have issues understanding your accent –remember, it’s a learning process and you’re working on it. Also, don’t allow a few bad experiences to stop you from putting your Spanish to the test. Bad days are bound to happen, but if you learn from them and keep on practicing anyways (even when you feel like a complete fool) you’ll see tons of progress and you’ll marvel at how quickly your Spanish accent has improved.
The big key here is to have faith in yourself. You can and you will conquer that Spanish accent and these five tips should be able to help you with that. Of course, language lessons are the best way to make sure you get the accent right and there are plenty of dynamic language classes out there to fit your schedule and level. If you’re not sure where to start, a Spanish placement test is a great way to figure out where you stand language-wise so you can hone your focus more efficiently. Accent excellence is indeed achievable, and when people start complementing you on your authentic inflection, you’ll be happy you put in the time and effort to get it right!