American in Spain

Patética Fonética Debut

March 2, 2010
Native Speaker of U.S. English

Last month, I was asked to participate, as a native English speaker, in a videocast from the local language school, Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Laredo, about English pronunciation. The man who filmed me and is the brain of the whole videocast, Rodolfo, is really annoyed at his students' (and, in general, all Spaniards') lack of care when pronouncing English words. Rather uniquely, Rodolfo has specifically chosen American English as his pronunciation goal; he has worked really hard, and his pronunciation is superb. This is the third installment in his videocast. Here are the first and second. Unfortunately, as the husband of someone with a fairly strong Spanish accent in English and someone who has struggled to learn a foreign language, I was more sympathetic to Spaniards speaking English poorly than Rodolfo would have wanted. Many of his questions in the ten minute interview were along the lines of, "How disgusted are you by Spaniards that don't take the time or make the effort to speak English without an accent?" To which I gave answers that didn't really align with his agenda.

All of his videocasts are excellent! Several have illuminated me on common mispronunciations that are ridiculous. The one I most remember is how Spaniards have trouble properly pronouncing "I scream", but have no trouble pronouncing "ice cream". I highly recommend them all to anyone who speaks English to Spaniards, and especially to Spaniards trying to speak English.

I appear, with my astro story, exactly at 5:00. Of course, because I rarely see myself on video, I think I look totally goofy. If you listen carefully, you can hear Nora screaming in the background.

Rumor has it that part of my interview will be appearing in the next videocast. It's going to be hard, but you'll just have to be patient.