Tag Archives: english for spanish speakers

18 English words that Spanish speakers mispronounce

While English is  supposedly  an easy language to learn, most non-native English speakers face some or the other pronunciation challenges. For example: Spanish speakers tend to find it much more difficult to recognize not rhotic versions of vowel sounds.

Spanish has 5 pure vowels and 5 diphthongs. The length of the vowel is not significant in distinguishing between words. This contrasts with English, which has 12 pure vowel sounds and 8 diphthongs. The length of the vowel sound plays an important role. It is not surprising, therefore, that Spanish learners may have great difficulty in producing or even perceiving the various English vowel sounds.

Here, we’re looking at the common 18 English words that Spanish speakers mispronounce when trying to learn English.

1. School/Eschool
Sure there are accent differences, but there are also a few  common pronunciation mistakes Spanish learners of English can make. Some tend to want to add an “e” to the beginning of words that start with ‘s’, making for word school sound like “eschools”.

2. Ship/Sheep
Another one of these English words where the “i” tends to get replaced with a long “e”, making it “sheep”. Spanish speakers often stretch all vowel sounds and confuse pairs of short and long English vowel sounds like “ship” and “sheep” both in comprehension and speaking.

3. Joke/Yolk
The letter J is very difficult for Spanish speakers learning English. There are many words in the English language that start with the letter J. Many people who speak Spanish pronounce the letter J like the letter Y. If you do not say the letter J correctly in English, people may not understand you. So, if you tell someone: “That is a funny joke”,  and if you don’t pronounce the J correctly, then “joke” sounds like “yolk” (meaning the yellow part of an egg), getting difficult to understand.

4. Teeth/Teet
Some forget or over-pronounce the “ed” on the ends of words, or have trouble mastering the “th” sound on words like “teeth.” (For fun, try speaking “teeth” without  the “th” sound. Oops, You might not want to try that out loud!)

5. Focus/Fuhcus
The key to saying this correctly is remembering to make the “o” a long one. Many however replace the long “o” with “uh”, making it “fuhcus”. Look at that word again. “Ladies and gentlemen, if there’s one thing I want you to do today, it’s “fuhcus!”. Umm, no thanks!

6. Eyes/Azz
What’s wrong with eyes? Nothing. But some foreign speakers zip through the word and “eyes” becomes “azz”, which sounds like “ass”. So, if you say to someone “I saw it with my own azz,” they could take it the wrong way.

7. Scape/Escape
If somebody takes the blame for something someone else did, we say they are a “scape goat.” Many  however add an “e” to the beginning of words that start with ‘s’, mispronouncing this as “escape goat,” meaning, of course, that one of their goats has fled.

8. Kitchen/Chicken
While learning English, some speakers say “chicken” instead of “kitchen”. To make it clear, we usually prepare chicken in a kitchen.

9. Ask/Aks/Axe
Spanish speakers while learning English often mispronounce ask as axe! So, if you say : ‘You don’t have to axe me why’, it surely doesn’t mean what you want to say!

10. Accuse me/Excuse me
Instead of “excuse me”, speakers say “accuse me.” Big difference! For example, if you approach a stranger in the street and say: “Accuse me, where is 57th Street?”, they could point at you instead of pointing in the right direction.

11. Fifth/Fiss
Particularly when it comes to final consonant clusters in English, Spanish-speakers can suffer both from adding extra syllables (e.g. three syllables for “advanced” with the final “e” pronounced) and swallowing sounds to make it match the desired number of syllables (e.g. “fifths” sounding like “fiss”). With words that are similar in Spanish and English, they can also often try to make the English word match the Spanish number of syllables.

12. Not/Nought
Perhaps the single biggest pronunciation problem for Spanish speakers is that Spanish does not have a distinction between short and long vowels. They often stretch vowel sounds “not” to “nought”.

13. Breakfast/Brefas
A simple word (for native English speakers) like ‘breakfast’ is tough for Spaniards who will often pronounce it ‘brefas’ and omit the ‘k’ and the final ‘t’ because they are attached to another consonant.

14. Boat/Bought
Perhaps more importantly, they can also have problems with the two closest sounds to an “o” sound in “not” , making “boat” and “bought” difficult to distinguish.


15. Cat/Cut
In common with most learners, Spanish speakers find the distinction between the very similar sounds in “cat” and “cut” difficult to notice and produce.

There is also no distinction between the first sounds in “yacht” and “jot” in Spanish. The “ch” in “cheese” may also be confused with the “sh” in “she’s”, as the latter sound does not exist in Spanish.

17. Pull/Pool
Most Spanish speakers have difficulty distinguishing between /uː/ and /ʊ/. While /uː/ is very similar to the Spanish letter “u“, it is actually much longer. /ʊ/ is much shorter and of a different quality.  Also, pull and pool are Not homophones, i.e the words pronounced the same way as the other word but  differs in meaning and spelling.

18. Feet/Fit
The double “e” really needs to be pronounced correctly. It’s tough because although “feet” rhymes with words such as “meat” it also rhymes with words such as “sheet”. Confusing. Get the double “e” wrong—pronounce them as an “I”—and “feet” becomes “fit”.


Spanish speakers can learn to speak English fluently, and master on the vocabulary and pronunciation while browsing their own Facebook newsfeed with  http://new.culturealley.com/index.jsp?courseId=5. Learners can listen to the native pronunciations while learning vocabulary on the Facebook. A few relevant words on their own Facebook feeds are converted from Spanish to English. One can listen to the pronunciation for better understanding as often as they want. There are fun games to make one memorize what they have learnt. It is the most effective and immersive way to learn English for Spanish speakers.

Happy learning and hope you avoid making these common pronunciation mistakes !

10 English mistakes that Spanish speakers make

Each year more and more Spaniards are seriously considering learning English, or taking a course to brush up on their current skills. English language knowledge has become essential to most European and Latin American countries, as it is almost always the language used for communication with other countries, international business, high level university study, and is also necessary for the tourism industry. Even though Spanish and English have a lot of similarities, Spanish speakers repeatedly make the same mistakes when learning English.

Today we’re looking at 10 common English mistakes that Spanish speakers make when trying to learn English.  So next time if you say or hear “She has eyes blues” instead ofShe has blue eyes” you know why that mistake is being made!

TOP 10 English mistakes that Spanish speakers make


Prepositions are tricky because they often change a lot between English and Spanish. Here are some specific examples of confusing prepositions.

  • A Spanish speaker may say, “It depends of” instead of “It depends on”
  • A Spanish student might say, “Call to someone” instead of “Call someone” (in English there is no preposition in such phrases).
  • Spaniards often incorrectly say, “Marry with somebody” instead of “Marry somebody” (in English there is no preposition in such phrases).



In Spanish, the verb tenses change with the subject, so actually saying “I” or “he” or “it” isn’t necessary. So learners sometimes forget that the subject is always necessary in English, leading to sentences like “is always a good idea to eat spinach.” The “it,” because it doesn’t refer to anything in particular, can be easy for a learner to forget.

Spanish speakers can omit making these mistakes by learning English with a very effective tool http://new.culturealley.com/index.jsp?courseId=5 . Here the lessons clearly distinguishes between the correct and wrong usage of English.


A man pregnant? If you say 'Estoy embarazado' to mean 'I am embarassed' - people will actually think you are pregnant! And if you're a man, it will make you an instant scientific wonder. Because embarazada actually means 'pregnant' in Spanish! :P
Also known as false friends, false cognates are words that appear to have the same meaning in both English and Spanish, but in reality are quite different. Here are three well-known false friends between English and Spanish:

  • Embarazada: Looks like “embarrassed” but means “pregnant”.
  • Actualmente: Looks like “actually” but means “currently”.
  • Carpeta: Looks like “carpet” but means “folder”.
  • Librero: Looks like “library” but means “bookcase”.
  • familiar: Looks like “something known” but means “having to do with one’s family”.
  • Aprobar : Looks like “approve” but means “to pass, as in an exam”.


Not that kind of gender confusion. While it’s more common for English speaking learners of Spanish to confuse of forget the genders of Spanish nouns, native Spanish speakers often get confused when it comes to words like him, her, because the Spanish pronoun “su” represents both the masculine and the feminine.

There are 70+ lessons which includes a lesson on how the gender pronouns differ in English and Spanish.  English speaking learners of Spanish can learn it by taking up free lessons on http://new.culturealley.com/index.jsp?courseId=5.


Spanish speakers make a lot of errors with pronunciation. Some advanced students know English grammar quite well, but can barely hold a conversation due to their incorrect pronunciation of key words. The following are some of the most common pronunciation errors that Spanish speakers make in English:

    • Adding an “e” sound before words that begin with “s”. For example, a Spanish speaker would pronounce “special” as “especial”.
    • Pronouncing a “y” as a “j”. For example, a Spaniard may say “jam” when reading the word “yam”.
    • Pronouncing a “j” as an “h”. For examples, a student might pronounce the name “Jerry” as “Herry”.

But now you can save yourself from making such mistakes! Learn English vocabulary while browsing your own Facebook newsfeed with CultureAlley – and listen to native English pronunciations. A few words and phrases from your own Facebook conversations are converted into English – you can listen to them, play games on them, practice accent, and more!


Shortened contractions present another common pronunciation challenge. Native Spanish speakers will often forget to finish a contraction, resulting in “don” for “don’t” or “won” for “won’t.” What might at first sound like an accent difference will become more pronounced over time, so native Spanish speakers should be on the lookout for this one!

Ofcourse, the biggest mistake to avoid is using “your” instead of “you’re” and vice versa. You’re is short for “you are” but a lot of time non native speakers of English use “your” instead


In Spanish “hacer” is the verb that represents both “to do” and “to make” in English. It is often difficult for native Spanish speakers to remember which verb to use when speaking English. Some common mistakes include:

  • “I need to do my bed” instead of “I need to make my bed”.
  • “Can I do a suggestion?” instead of “Can I make a suggestion?”
  • “Could you make me a favor?” instead of “Could you do me a favor?”


In Spanish, the noun generally comes before the adjective, while in English it is usually the opposite. In English that sentence construction would look something like “He had a dog brown.” So don’t be surprised when native Spanish speakers add the adjective as an afterthought.

With CultureAlley  get over 70+ free audio-visual lessons to build your basic concepts on how and where to put the adjectives and nouns in the sentence in English.


Native Spanish speakers often pronounce these two words the same so, in writing, tend to stick with “this,” leaving poor “these” for advanced learners.


In Spanish, words are spelled exactly how they sound. They don’t have any of this “silent letter”  found in English, nor do they have words that sound exactly the same but can be spelled three different ways. (We’re looking at you “buy/bye/by”).

You will definitely not make spelling mistakes after learning with CultureAlley as after each lesson, rigorous practice exercises through fun games have been scheduled for the users to master what they have learnt.