Overcoming the American Accent in Spanish

(Houston, Jan. 19, 2021) — The Barrier to Listening to Spanish: This revised report was first issued on December 26, 2012, during the first month of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto when it was foreseen that with an energy reform there would be a new interest in gaining bilingual proficiency in Spanish.

Our impression is that the current administration in Mexico in 2021 has a lower level of English proficiency than that was characteristic of the preceding six neoliberal predecessors. It follows that the incentive to gain Spanish proficiency for everyone professionally engaged in Mexico has correspondingly increased.

The insight in the report is that it is very difficult to “hear” Spanish exactly as it is spoken by a native speaker because of the filters (the expectations) of our native language.

Immersion in the language and having a native speaker as an instructor are of little help, for reasons explained in the report.

What is helpful is an appreciation of how linguists map the route and traps (vowels and consonants) between thought and speech.

A careful reading of this report is guaranteed to improve one’s aural and speaking ability in Spanish. Readers who are familiar with the basic concepts and terminology of linguistics may skip the background section of the report where they are introduced.

Reader comments are invited.

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George Baker
Mexico Energy Intelligence™

Written by

Mexico Energy Intelligence

Baker & Associates offers niche-market business and policy intelligence related to Mexico's oil and gas, power and chemical industries. Over 1,000 reports have been issued in the last 20 years. Subject matter expert and publisher George Baker, who directs the firm, has carried out consulting assignments starting in the late 1970s at the height of the Oil Boom in Mexico. He brings bilingual and bicultural skill-sets to understanding and responding to challenges of business and public policy, coupled with a deep familiarity with the history and idiosyncrasies of the Mexican operating environment.