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Hi, everyone. I've been speaking Spanish for a long time, but my accent is still off. People can tell that I'm not a native speaker of Mexican Spanish, and while most immediately identify my accent as American, a few have asked me if I'm from Spain or South America. No matter how clearly I try to speak, I can't seem to shake off this unnatural accent. Below is a recording of me reading the Librivox one-minute test.

https://soundcloud.com/coricopat/spanish-test/s-WrzEh

(I realize I mispronounced Pamplona... and probably a couple of other words!) I'd greatly appreciate if anyone can tell me what words or sounds in particular sound wrong. I know I sometimes slur over the Rs, and there's something strange about my Ss, though I can't figure out what! Maybe I have some sort of lisp ;-)

If anyone else would like to post their own voice samples, perhaps we could critique each other's accent and try to improve it.

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I find your accent better than what i expected judging by your post. I can see that there is a complete switch when you pronounce things in English, it is hard to help this. I tend to switch to my mexican accent when I pronounce a word in Spanish between a text in English, it just sound natural for us but everyone else will cringe. :laugh:

I try and recommend to pronounce english words according to the local accent unless it is necessary to keep their original name. That aside from that fragment your Spanish is very clear and I think you do really good 'R's. Also, if people can't tell straight away you are american and think you might be from another hispanic-speaking region that in itself is a very good signal. Please don't be hard on yourself. Most of us need almost a decade to shred away most of our native accent. I think you are doing fantastic, the rest of the blend will only come with time as you keep submerging yourself with Spanish in your daily life.

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Thank you for the encouraging words, Kaynil! But here's the embarrassing part... I've been living in Mexico for almost 15 years and haven't managed to shake off the accent. I have no idea what's keeping it, or even how to start sounding more native since I assumed, like you said, total immersion itself would fix my Spanish over time. Apparently not. My comprehension is at 100%, my speech is less comfortable than in English but still good: it's mostly my accent that gives away my non-native status.

It's funny you should mention the sudden shift in accent, since I never thought about that! I wonder, is it a regional thing? Here along the border, I've noticed people switch accent very, very frequently. A great deal of people are bilingual and seem to have no qualms about throwing in Spanish words/names in English or vice versa. You see it a lot in commercials, too, where the speaker is speaking in flawless Spanish and suddenly switches to a perfect American-English pronunciation to say the name of the company or use an English loan-word. On the other hand, there are certain words I wouldn't pronounce with an accent since they seem ... naturalized? (e.g., bye-bye, beisbol, pick-up [truck], ride, etc). Now I wonder what the etiquette for this is.

Thank you for taking the time to listen and comment!

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Your Spanish is excellent by the way! You won't pass for a native Mexican ,but your fluency is still way above average for an American!

The ability to switch accents is very much dependent on a particular society. The Japanese are notorious for being pretty bad at learning foreign languages to the the point that "McDonald's" is always pronounced "Makkudonarudo" and "hamburger" comes out as "hambagaa". I once had a Japanese tourist ask me in English, "Are you from Thairando?" ("Are you from Thailand?")  :smile:

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Hi there! I have listened to the link, and to me, you just sound American. I'm not that familiar with Mexican Spanish, but comparing it to that from Spain, your accent is "soft". I'm not sure how to explain it, but there's really a difference between what you and a Spanish person sounds like. It reminded me back in secondary school when my Maths teacher was asking my Spanish classmate not to be aggressive when she was asking a question.. She didn't realise that it was just her accent :P

Aside from this, there are some words you said that gave it away. I'm not sure if it's the same in Mexico, but here in Spain a few letters are pronounced different from how it's usually said in English. For "c" it's supposed to sound like "th", same goes for "z". This is in some words only. For example, the name "Cecilia" will be pronounced as "The-thi-lia" and "caballo" will be "ka-ba-yo". The letter "h" is also not pronounced in some words, for example "hay" is pronounced as "ai".

Overall though your accent is good and your pronunciations are clear. I'm pretty sure despite not sounding like a native you are able to communicate well with other people who speak the same language.

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Thanks for the review, altrouge! I don't think I sound Spanish at all either; rather, I think a few people hear an accent they can't immediately place, so they start making guesses. The c, z, and s merger is definitely the biggest giveaway: I pronounce these all the same way, just as in Latin America, as opposed to Spain.

That's interesting what you said about Mexican Spanish sounding soft. I've never felt the Spain accent to sound harsh or aggressive. Perhaps it has more to do with the rhythm of speaking. Spanish speakers do sound more... clipped? Mexican speakers tend to sound more rolling. These are all, I should add, highly precise linguistic terms :wink:

Listening to the audio file again, I think all my vowels are off, especially the Is and Es, and my Ls slip into English pronunciation. Add that to my earlier observation of my s/c/z sound being off, and I've got a lot of sounds to refine! Oh, well. If I haven't managed to shake off the accent after all these years, I'm not sure I'll ever be able too :tongue:

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Thanks for the review, altrouge! I don't think I sound Spanish at all either; rather, I think a few people hear an accent they can't immediately place, so they start making guesses. The c, z, and s merger is definitely the biggest giveaway: I pronounce these all the same way, just as in Latin America, as opposed to Spain.

That's interesting what you said about Mexican Spanish sounding soft. I've never felt the Spain accent to sound harsh or aggressive. Perhaps it has more to do with the rhythm of speaking. Spanish speakers do sound more... clipped? Mexican speakers tend to sound more rolling. These are all, I should add, highly precise linguistic terms :wink:

Listening to the audio file again, I think all my vowels are off, especially the Is and Es, and my Ls slip into English pronunciation. Add that to my earlier observation of my s/c/z sound being off, and I've got a lot of sounds to refine! Oh, well. If I haven't managed to shake off the accent after all these years, I'm not sure I'll ever be able too :tongue:

Oh sorry about that, I was referring to your accent, actually. I believe I'm not using the right term to describe it but it was as close as I can think of. Well I think you haven't been able to shake off the accent because you haven't really figured out what exactly is making you still sound American. Well I think you can now try again based from what the other replies said that gives it away :)

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