In this video I share the 3 tips I use to explain Spanish vowel pronunciation.
Follow up comprehension questions:
(1)What are the 5 vowels in Spanish?
(2) What is a tense vowel? Which vowels are tense in Spanish?
(3) What is an example of a vowel sound that we use in English but not in Spanish?
See below for answers.
1. A, E, I, O, U
2. Our muscles are more tense and engaged when we pronounce tense vowels. All vowels in Spanish are tense vowels (A, E, I, O, U).
3. Answers will very. Some include the “A” in “cAt,” the “I” in “kId” or “fIt,” the “uh” in “bUg” or a relaxed pronunciation of “edUcation.”
I have found that when students are able to answer these questions about Spanish vowel pronunciation, they are able to analyze and self-correct their own pronunciation.
By answering these questions, students demonstrate that they know which vowels to stick to, which vowel sounds to avoid, and physically how Spanish vowels are pronounced in contrast with the lax vowels in English pronunciation that so often interfere with their Spanish pronunciation.
This tense vs. lax distinction is superior to the “short” versus “long” vowel explanation commonly found in textbooks because it allows students to make a physical connection to the vowel pronunciation (by placing the hand on the cheek to feel the tense cheek muscles.)
Furthermore, vowel length is variable, so the “short” versus “long” distinction can be unclear and cause confusion.
Do you have any other tips you think should be included in Spanish vowel pronunciation instruction?