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Old 05-18-2020, 05:43 PM
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Do Spanish speakers do anything to Spanish words to make them sound more English?


I’m thinking of the opposite of what is common in English to make words sound more Spanish. Usually, this is done by adding an “o” to the end of a word or prefixing the word with an “el” or “la”. Among Spanish speakers, is there any equivalent to try to make Spanish words sound English?
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:22 AM
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I’m thinking of the opposite of what is common in English to make words sound more Spanish. Usually, this is done by adding an “o” to the end of a word or prefixing the word with an “el” or “la”. Among Spanish speakers, is there any equivalent to try to make Spanish words sound English?
No, not that I was aware of. But we sometimes put an "éibol" at the end of a word for fun thus mocking the perceived sound of English in our ears (yes, I know that English does not really sound like this. That may be the reason there is no standard way of making a word sound like English: often Spaniards do not know what English should sound like, therefore cannot properly mock it). We could say, for instance: incredéibol to mean incredible, probably meaning to say that whatever we are refering to is not incredible but obvious. But it is not done often, I would guess. Might have been more common some 30-40 years ago.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:27 AM
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No, not that I was aware of. But we sometimes put an "éibol" at the end of a word for fun thus mocking the perceived sound of English in our ears (yes, I know that English does not really sound like this. That may be the reason there is no standard way of making a word sound like English: often Spaniards do not know what English should sound like, therefore cannot properly mock it). We could say, for instance: incredéibol to mean incredible, probably meaning to say that whatever we are refering to is not incredible but obvious. But it is not done often, I would guess. Might have been more common some 30-40 years ago.
This is fascinating. So, do you mean that the 'eibol' we have at the end of certain words (like, incredible) sounds like an exaggeration?
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:29 AM
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This is fascinating. So, do you mean that the 'eibol' we have at the end of certain words (like, incredible) sounds like an exaggeration?
Spanish has increíble, you have incredible, when we pronounce it incredéibol (wrong on purpose, with a Spanish accent on the second "e", the "é" that you do not pronounce because it is not there) it sounds like we don't take it seriously, at least I took it that way. This is very subjective, of course. I would not call it an exaggeration. In general Spaniards have a difficult relation with languages and with English in particular (it's getting slowly better), the pronunciation (another ending Spaniards may mock: éitxion, but you really have to exaggerate the é in both cases, that is why I wrote it with an accent) is difficult for us. Spanish phonetics don't make it easy.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:35 AM
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No, not that I was aware of. But we sometimes put an "éibol" at the end of a word for fun thus mocking the perceived sound of English in our ears (yes, I know that English does not really sound like this. That may be the reason there is no standard way of making a word sound like English: often Spaniards do not know what English should sound like, therefore cannot properly mock it). We could say, for instance: incredéibol to mean incredible, probably meaning to say that whatever we are refering to is not incredible but obvious. But it is not done often, I would guess. Might have been more common some 30-40 years ago.
Thanks, this is a really fun thing to know. It might not be exactly analogous in the cultural sense of how it's used, but linguistically it seems like it's exactly the same thing.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:43 PM
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That may be the reason there is no standard way of making a word sound like English: often Spaniards do not know what English should sound like, therefore cannot properly mock it).
Interesting. It might be mentioned that Spanish-speakers frequently pronounce loan-words and foreign names according to Spanish rules, rather than attempting the original pronunciation. For example, the fast-food restaurant Popeyes here in Panama is called (approximately) Poh-PEH-yays, and corn flakes are corn FLAH-kays. (Before a camping trip, I once had someone ask me if I had remember my col-GAH-tay. I had no idea what he was talking about until I realize he was saying Colgate and asking about toothpaste.) English, on the other hand, pronounces words like tortilla and jalapeno as they are in Spanish (although admittedly not llama or Amarillo, Texas.)
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:56 PM
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As a related aside, I live in an area when many street names are Spanish. And I find it so annoying that both Google and Apple have chosen anglicized mispronunciations of the Spanish names in their mapping apps. And it's worse that they are not total anglicizations, that would be easier to ignore because I think you can mentally comparmentalize the "English" version as part of a different language. Instead, they have chosen to speak the words in the manner of someone who vaguely knows some of the rules of Spanish pronunciation, but mangles them. And hearing this every day, the mangled version is starting to stick in my brain.

Last edited by Riemann; 05-19-2020 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 02:07 PM
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GPS is terrible about pronouncing street names. There's a street here that's part of a block where there's a Tara, a Scarlett, and an Ashley, and a few others that reference Gone with the Wind, including an O'Hara, which has the apostrophe and capital H. Nonetheless, both a Garmin I had years ago, and now my Google maps call it OH-ah-ra. My Google maps also can't figure out that "Ave." is the abbreviation for "avenue." When this pops up, it pronounces it "AH-vey."
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:18 PM
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My Google maps also can't figure out that "Ave." is the abbreviation for "avenue." When this pops up, it pronounces it "AH-vey."
If First Ave is "First AH-vey", presumably they should keep the Christian theme going and it would be "Main Saint".
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:35 PM
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It might be mentioned that Spanish-speakers frequently pronounce loan-words and foreign names according to Spanish rules, rather than attempting the original pronunciation. [...] Before a camping trip, I once had someone ask me if I had remember my col-GAH-tay. I had no idea what he was talking about until I realize he was saying Colgate and asking about toothpaste.)[...]
I remember the TV-ads for Colgate in Spain in the 70s, where the slogan was "Colgate: el mal aliento combate" (Colgate fights bad breath), pronouncing Colgate so that it rhymed with combate. That was the official ad from the company itself! Nobody would have understood what it was about if they had said Colgéit (crude transliteration of the English pronunciation according to Spanish rules )
Oh, look, on You Tube I found this Colgate ad from South America (judging from the accent) and they pronounce it just like I said. I'm loving it!
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Last edited by Pardel-Lux; 05-19-2020 at 03:38 PM. Reason: sorted confusion (I hope)
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:37 PM
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Many years ago I had a GPS receiver that pronounced "Bodega" with the accent on the first syllable. I still sometimes have to stop myself from saying it that way.
On the other hand, I'm delighted that Google Maps still pronounces "Hwy" as "whee". I'm on the Pacific Coast, wheee!
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:37 PM
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Interesting. It might be mentioned that Spanish-speakers frequently pronounce loan-words and foreign names according to Spanish rules, rather than attempting the original pronunciation. For example, the fast-food restaurant Popeyes here in Panama is called (approximately) Poh-PEH-yays, and corn flakes are corn FLAH-kays. (Before a camping trip, I once had someone ask me if I had remember my col-GAH-tay. I had no idea what he was talking about until I realize he was saying Colgate and asking about toothpaste.) English, on the other hand, pronounces words like tortilla and jalapeno as they are in Spanish (although admittedly not llama or Amarillo, Texas.)
One of the more delightful discoveries I made, as an English major studying abroad in Spain, was that the name "Shakespeare" has six syllables: e-SHAHK-e-spay-AR-ay.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:50 PM
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And it's worse that they are not total anglicizations, that would be easier to ignore because I think you can mentally comparmentalize the "English" version as part of a different language. Instead, they have chosen to speak the words in the manner of someone who vaguely knows some of the rules of Spanish pronunciation, but mangles them. And hearing this every day, the mangled version is starting to stick in my brain.
I use the English version of WAZE here in Panama just because the mispronunciations are so hilarious. In particular, it pronounces the last word of Avenida de los Mártires (Avenue of the Martyrs), which should be MAR-tee-res, as MAR-tires, like what's on a car. But I think the program may actually come up with some of the pronunciations on the fly, because sometimes they differ (but are always wrong).
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:38 PM
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"Englishifying" a Spanish word in a parodying sense can take many forms such as unrolling the "r"; having final "O"s be pronounced to rhime with "slow"; pronouncing "h"s; or sticking an "-ing" or "-ation" either completely or partly on top of a word's modifying ending.


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It might be mentioned that Spanish-speakers frequently pronounce loan-words and foreign names according to Spanish rules, rather than attempting the original pronunciation. For example, the fast-food restaurant Popeyes here in Panama is called (approximately) Poh-PEH-yays, and corn flakes are corn FLAH-kays. (Before a camping trip, I once had someone ask me if I had remember my col-GAH-tay. I had no idea what he was talking about until I realize he was saying Colgate and asking about toothpaste.) English, on the other hand, pronounces words like tortilla and jalapeno as they are in Spanish (although admittedly not llama or Amarillo, Texas.)
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I remember the TV-ads for Colgate in Spain in the 70s, where the slogan was "Colgate: el mal aliento combate" (Colgate fights bad breath), pronouncing Colgate so that it rhymed with combate. That was the official ad from the company itself! Nobody would have understood what it was about if they had said Colgéit (crude transliteration of the English pronunciation according to Spanish rules )
Oh, look, on You Tube I found this Colgate ad from South America (judging from the accent) and they pronounce it just like I said. I'm loving it!
Makes people back home giggle when trying to discuss a certain university in upstate New York.

Puerto Rico: Popeye is pronounced Po-PEH-ye, Colgate Col-GA-teh; but Corn Flakes are just cornfléiks.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:46 PM
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Remembering the fabulous wit we displayed by adding "o" to the end of every English word to get smartass Spanish (orchestra-o, because-o, and so forth)... couldn't Spanish speakers simply add "like" to the front of any Spanish word to make it sound American English?

Example: Se habla likeIngles?
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:53 PM
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GPS is terrible about pronouncing street names. There's a street here that's part of a block where there's a Tara, a Scarlett, and an Ashley, and a few others that reference Gone with the Wind, including an O'Hara, which has the apostrophe and capital H. Nonetheless, both a Garmin I had years ago, and now my Google maps call it OH-ah-ra. My Google maps also can't figure out that "Ave." is the abbreviation for "avenue." When this pops up, it pronounces it "AH-vey."
I had a GPS when I lived in San Diego that couldn't make up its mind. My freeway exit for work was La Jolla Village Dr. The GPS told me every day to take the Luh Hoya Village Drive exit, then turn left onto Lay Jaw-lah Village Doctor.
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:53 PM
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English, on the other hand, pronounces words like tortilla and jalapeno as they are in Spanish (although admittedly not llama or Amarillo, Texas.)
I suspect that there are still enclaves in the Upper Midwest where those are "tor-TILL-a" and "JAL-a-PEE-no," respectively.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:54 PM
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I suspect that there are still enclaves in the Upper Midwest where those are "tor-TILL-a" and "JAL-a-PEE-no," respectively.
Yeah, that's the Upper Midwest. But what's our excuse in San Francisco for pronouncing "Cabrillo" street "cah-BRILL-oh"?
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:28 PM
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Yeah, that's the Upper Midwest. But what's our excuse in San Francisco for pronouncing "Cabrillo" street "cah-BRILL-oh"?
It’s not as if you pronounce San Francisco properly.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:56 PM
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Yeah, that's the Upper Midwest. But what's our excuse in San Francisco for pronouncing "Cabrillo" street "cah-BRILL-oh"?
There is debate as to whether Juan Cabrillo, the explorer, was Spanish or Portuguese. Is "cah-BRILL-oh" a Portuguese pronunciation?

The community of Avila Beach is pronounced A-vǝ-lǝ with accent on the A. Named after Miguel Ávila, said to be Portuguese, with Portuguese pronunciation (at least according to what some locals claimed).

Here's an article discussing the pronunciations of a great many streets, communities, and other places in and around San Francisco (not all of them names of Spanish origin), including two slide shows! (Scroll down a way for the second one.)

Reader reactions to Bay Area pronunciations and what we got ‘wrong’ from San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 23, 2014.

A great many places in California have Spanish names. But many of those places have non-Spanish heritages (or, were taken over by white Americans after the Spanish colonial days) and have a lot of Anglicized or Mangle-ized pronunciations. This goes for cities, streets, points of interests, whatever. In at least some places, the majority of the (Yanqui) locals actively reject Spanish pronunciations and other trappings of Spanish history.

In Santa Barbara, colorful tilework in the walls of buildings is very popular, which I think has gives a Hispanic character. In either San Luis (LOO-iss) Obispo or Paso Robles (I forget which), this is highly frowned upon and the Architectural Committee (or whoever approves building designs) won't allow it.

A great many places have "local" pronunciations (invariably non-Hispanic) pronunciations for things, by which all the local people can tell when they're talking to a tourist because of their mispronunciations. They do this on purpose, of course.

I'm sure no native Hispanic speaker would recognize the American pronunciation of Los Angeles. And I doubt any native English/American speaker would recognize the Spanish pronunciation.

ETA: What do GPS, Siri, WAZE, and all the others make of the pronunciation of all the street and place names in Hawaii?

Last edited by Senegoid; 05-19-2020 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:02 PM
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As a related aside, I live in an area when many street names are Spanish. And I find it so annoying that both Google and Apple have chosen anglicized mispronunciations of the Spanish names in their mapping apps. .
I live in an english speaking city with english street names -- and Google can't get those right either. And it is incredibly annoying.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:23 PM
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There is debate as to whether Juan Cabrillo, the explorer, was Spanish or Portuguese. Is "cah-BRILL-oh" a Portuguese pronunciation?
In Portuguese, the name would be spelled Cabrilho. The combination lh in Portuguese is pronounced much like ll in Spanish, that is, like y in English. So the name is not pronounced cah-BRILL-oh in either Spanish or Portuguese.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:19 PM
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I suspect that there are still enclaves in the Upper Midwest where those are "tor-TILL-a" and "JAL-a-PEE-no," respectively.
Yeah, that's the Upper Midwest. But what's our excuse in San Francisco for pronouncing "Cabrillo" street "cah-BRILL-oh"?
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:51 PM
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Yeah, that's the Upper Midwest. But what's our excuse in San Francisco for pronouncing "Cabrillo" street "cah-BRILL-oh"?
Damn. The board's been hanging, but I haven't seen a four-hour lag between duplicate posts before.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:14 PM
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It’s not as if you pronounce San Francisco properly.
Good point.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:23 PM
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Yes, you don't need a foreign language. We borrowed my dad's GPS to go to Philadelphia, and it told us we were approaching the "Franklin Branch". Huh? Oh, it was entered in the database, no doubt, as "Br." and I bet the street names translator ("by=Bay,"ave=avenue","ct=court" etc.) thought it was a street designation not "bridge".
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:30 PM
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I’m thinking of the opposite of what is common in English to make words sound more Spanish. Usually, this is done by adding an “o” to the end of a word or prefixing the word with an “el” or “la”. Among Spanish speakers, is there any equivalent to try to make Spanish words sound English?
No, but we sometimes invent words which sound English-ish, or adopt English words because they sound cooler than the Spanish ones to those idiots who think anything foreign is cooler (ex: people used to hacer montañismo, now they hacen mountain-climbing pronounced mountáin clímbin).

The name vueling, an airplane company, is a lampshade: vuelo (flight) + -ing. They don't pretend it's English, they make fun of some people's tendency to drop mispronounced English into every single conversation.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:55 PM
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No, but we sometimes invent words which sound English-ish, or adopt English words because they sound cooler than the Spanish ones to those idiots who think anything foreign is cooler (ex: people used to hacer montañismo, now they hacen mountain-climbing pronounced mountáin clímbin).
There's also el parking (for a parking lot) and el camping (for a camp-ground).

My favorite Englishism is chatear for on-line chatting.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:49 AM
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No, but we sometimes invent words which sound English-ish, or adopt English words because they sound cooler than the Spanish ones to those idiots who think anything foreign is cooler [...]
The name vueling, an airplane company, is a lampshade: vuelo (flight) + -ing. [...]
Yes! I had forgotten that jogging used to be called footing or even fúting in Spain when it started to become a popular sport some 40 - 50 yrs. ago. But that was not meant to make fun of the English, they talked like this in earnest.
The name Vueling gets badly on my nerves. I don't know if they mean it in earnest, if they are making fun of me or calling me and their customers in general an idiot.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:56 AM
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Concerning GPS it is hard to beat the annoyance you can feel while navigating in Brussels, where some streets have French names, some have Dutch/Flemish names, some are called after Englishmen (Avenue Churchill, Rond-Point Montgomery)... if you then set your navigator to speak with the Spanish or the German setting it gets surreal.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:03 AM
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No, not that I was aware of. But we sometimes put an "éibol".
Yeah. Also we add "-ation" (as in station or ovation) to random words.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:38 AM
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Interesting. It might be mentioned that Spanish-speakers frequently pronounce loan-words and foreign names according to Spanish rules, rather than attempting the original pronunciation. For example, the fast-food restaurant Popeyes here in Panama is called (approximately) Poh-PEH-yays, and corn flakes are corn FLAH-kays. (Before a camping trip, I once had someone ask me if I had remember my col-GAH-tay. I had no idea what he was talking about until I realize he was saying Colgate and asking about toothpaste.) English, on the other hand, pronounces words like tortilla and jalapeno as they are in Spanish (although admittedly not llama or Amarillo, Texas.)
It should be noted that Spanish spelling is far more phonetic and consistent than in English.

So with loan words, the question becomes whether you speak the word as in the original language, or write it the same (and therefore pronounce it the way the spelling implies it should be spoken in Spanish).

I'm glad that Spanish does the latter. I don't speak much Spanish but I would little problem with reading out Spanish text, even including loan words. Whereas, even though I'm English, reading out English text can be a riskier proposition if it's material with words or proper nouns I've never heard spoken before.

Last edited by Mijin; 05-20-2020 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:50 AM
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I suspect that there are still enclaves in the Upper Midwest where those are "tor-TILL-a" and "JAL-a-PEE-no," respectively.
My brother in law used to pronounce fajitas as exactly that - with a hard J. He'll now deny when we remind him of this, or course.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:09 AM
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There's a town in California called El Granada, in which we get not only the pronunciation but the grammar wrong. (I don't speak Spanish, but I'm told it should be La Granada.)
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:14 AM
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"Englishifying" a Spanish word in a parodying sense can take many forms such as ... having final "O"s be pronounced to rhime with "slow"
Wait, what? How is the final "O" supposed to be pronounced?
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:16 AM
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Dare I ask: if all it takes is an -o or -a, how does fake Spanish differ from fake Italian? Pig Latin I already know sometimes throws in the occasional -ix and -ibus.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:20 AM
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Dare I ask: if all it takes is an -o or -a, how does fake Spanish differ from fake Italian?
In fake Italian you wave your hands around a lot more.

Actually, in fake Italian you add "a," not "o." And in fake Spanish, you put "el" in front of everything.
  #38  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
Wait, what? How is the final "O" supposed to be pronounced?
As in "oh!", not as in "slow". It's a SINGLE vowel; one of the greatest pronunciation sins of Anglophone learners of Spanish is adding extra vowels.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Go_Arachnid_Laser View Post
Yeah. Also we add "-ation" (as in station or ovation) to random words.
Yeah, this is the one I was looking for, at least in Mexican Spanish. I remember a TV commercial many, many years ago, something like, "Regressation Aztecation," because it was going to be a USA-Mexico game at Estadio Azteca.

But, like per the OP, where we just as "-o" to endings, Mexicans (and maybe others) can add "-ation" to endings.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
As in "oh!", not as in "slow". It's a SINGLE vowel; one of the greatest pronunciation sins of Anglophone learners of Spanish is adding extra vowels.
That’s the same sound for me.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:49 AM
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Years ago in an NPR interview Reuben Blades explained that Latinos like to pronounce the final vowels of English words, so that Tide detergent was pronounced "Teed-ay". This was by way of explaining that his name should be pronounced as in knife blade, the way his English dad said it, instead of "Blah-des".

Dan
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:50 AM
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Years ago in an NPR interview Reuben Blades explained that Latinos like to pronounce the final vowels of English words, so that Tide detergent was pronounced "Teed-ay". This was by way of explaining that his name should be pronounced as in knife blade, the way his English dad said it, instead of "Blah-des".

Dan

Last edited by Dandan; 05-21-2020 at 07:52 AM. Reason: sorry, auto-whatever led me to believe that I should post again. What the heck is going on with SD's crankiness lately?
  #43  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Pardel-Lux View Post
Concerning GPS it is hard to beat the annoyance you can feel while navigating in Brussels, where some streets have French names, some have Dutch/Flemish names, some are called after Englishmen (Avenue Churchill, Rond-Point Montgomery)... if you then set your navigator to speak with the Spanish or the German setting it gets surreal.
Guess how it reads Carrer Major if set to Catalan.

Carrer as if Valladolid. Major as if in Kansas.
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  #44  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
That’s the same sound for me.
Cop?
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
That’s the same sound for me.
She means it should be just the first vowel of the diphthong, but English is wacky so that the vowel of "slow" varies, so it is not a good example. "Cop" isn't right, either. Maybe that's what tapes are for, (or click on the vowel on Wikipedia), because English does not like certain pure vowels...
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:15 PM
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Cop?
Oh and slow are the same vowel sound to me, and I don't believe I'm pronouncing it as a diphthong. Cop is totally different. Cope would the same, but cop is more like kahp - same vowel as rock or blah. This sounds like a subtle difference that anglophone ears aren't going to be trained to hear.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:21 PM
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When you say "slow", does your mouth move during the pronunciation of the vowel? Most likely your mouth is more open at the start of the vowel and closes a bit toward the end. English doesn't have a long-O sound that's not a diphthong, so it's hard for us to perceive the difference between a pure O (which we never hear or produce) and an O with a W-glide at the end.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
When you say "slow", does your mouth move during the pronunciation of the vowel? Most likely your mouth is more open at the start of the vowel and closes a bit toward the end. English doesn't have a long-O sound that's not a diphthong, so it's hard for us to perceive the difference between a pure O (which we never hear or produce) and an O with a W-glide at the end.
Thanks, I guess then I'm doing the same diphthong for 'oh' and for 'slow', as my mouth moves the same way in saying both.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
Thanks, I guess then I'm doing the same diphthong for 'oh' and for 'slow', as my mouth moves the same way in saying both.
AFAICT, for me anyway, the diphthong is pronounced depending upon the following syllable and whether or not there is one. If you ask me if I’m going fast or slow, my one word response of “slow” will pronounce it. If I say “slow down”, it’s not there.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandan View Post
Years ago in an NPR interview Reuben Blades explained that Latinos like to pronounce the final vowels of English words, so that Tide detergent was pronounced "Teed-ay". This was by way of explaining that his name should be pronounced as in knife blade, the way his English dad said it, instead of "Blah-des".

Dan
Ruben Blades' grandfather was an English-speaking native of the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, and like a lot of other West Indians came to Panama to work on the Panama Canal. He later moved to an English-speaking province of Panama, Bocas del Toro. Although he uses the English pronunciation of his name, Blades is usually referred to in Panama by the Spanish pronunciation. (I've met him in person a couple of times.)
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