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In English we have 5 vowels orthographically(in spelling), but phonetically(in terms of speech sounds) there are 14 different vowel sounds! Spanish only has 5 vowel sounds! This can make it rather difficult for Spanish speakers to pronounce English words. For English speakers learning Spanish, this means that we have to narrow down our vowel pronunciations.  When it comes to pronunciation, I always tell my students to practice their vowel pronunciation in Spanish: a-e-i-o-u is pronounced, in Spanish, "ah"-"ay"-"ee"-"oh"-"oo" The good news is that these vowels never change in Spanish pronunciation. Once you get those down, you can pronounce any Spanish word with confidence. 

If you have reached the present perfect and past perfect tense, you are a good way into your Spanish studies and it's time for a serious talk about grammar. I don't know of any shortcut around regular practice. However, you can do yourself an enormous favor by taking the time to discover what you mean to say in English before you attempt to construct the grammar in Spanish. It is possible to learn how to conjugate verbs in the present and past perfect tenses without truly understanding their meaning or where and when to use them in writing or conversation. If you are reading this, you've likely set higher goals for yourself. Let me begin by introducing the present and past perfect tenses in English. After we've grasped the purpose of these verb forms, we can move quickly and easily through the "rules." Recall that in the simple present or simple past tense we say "I live" or "I lived." "I love"... read more

I've actually listened to common jokes that exist in Chile regarding the two most common errors of Americans learning Spanish. What are they?   1) a really bad accent   2) inability to conjugate verbs   What can Americans do to overcome these two obstacles and not perpetuate the stereotype?!   Be humble and admit your accent is bad and needs to improve. Ask a native speaker how your accent is. Once you know the correct grammer or word, don't stop there. Even if you seem like a crazy person repeat the same word or phrase over and over again outloud trying to imitate the accent of a native speaker (maybe a recording). Let your tongue get acclimated to the new sounds.   You cannot cut corners. Memorize those conjugation patterns so you can form sentences and speak. Once you can do that, you won't have to memorize as much.

I am a Spanish Native speaking person, I've being teaching since 1986, first English as a second Language and now Spanish as a second language.   Learning Spanish is fun. Spanish is a very versatile language, it is known to be a Roman Language, means it has it's roots from Latin. Did you know that English and Spanish have the same roots? And even though their grammar structure and the pronunciation of the words are different, they have many, many similarities. Languages evolved just like humans do and in every country you will find so many differences that it doesn't matter if you speak Spanish in Spain, you are going to see that Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela are so different that you might want them to speak to you slowly.   A language has not only the grammar structure, spelling, pronunciation, but it has so many modals and expressions that are so different from one an other. That is what makes Spanish so versatile.    It is not like... read more

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