Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eee and Um

Since I am not a native speaker, I am always trying to pronounce words the very best so my kids can hear it right :) I always like to have them listen to music and watch DVD's so they will hear the perfect accent, but they just get me most of the time.

A couple of months ago, I was sitting at church listening to a man from Mexico speak to the congregation. He speaks flawless English even if it is his second language, except there was one problem. Anytime he would pause in his speaking he would say "eee" instead of "um." It was a quick giveaway that English is his second language.

This reminded me of my Spanish Teaching class in college. There was a friend of mine who spoke Spanish so well. I compared our pronunciation and they seemed similar, but she still seemed like she spoke so much better than me. Then I figured it out. When she would pause while talking, she would say "eee...este..." instead of "um" when she was speaking in Spanish.

I don't know if you have noticed it, but there are different filler words for different languages. I have made a new goal to stop my "umming" when I speak Spanish and only "eee" and "este" this and that.

Do you know any other tips for improving your accent in Spanish?


Gigi said...

I did not learn to speak English until we moved to the States at age 11. I can now fool people with my English. My accent comes out if I am tired or if I am speaking too fast.

One way I perfected it was like you, I just practiced to sound it out just like everyone else! If I had a problem with a word, and I knew I had a problem with it becasue my friends would point them out:-), then I would ask them over and over and over to say it until I said it correctly.

Regarding the eee and umm's. Somehow I did not pick up either one of those... Not sure what happened there!

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