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Monday, July 02, 2012

Modern Family: The Many Mispronunciations of 'Gloria'

As one edges more and more towards becoming bilingual, there are certain subtle things you begin to take note of that you don't when you are in the early stages of learning a new language. For example, the part of the body used to pronounce words in spanish is the throat whereas in english it would be the upper part of the mouth and the teeth. That's why spanish speakers have a hard time saying things like "teeth" or "three". Their language never requires them to put their tongue against the upper part of the mouth in order to pronounce things.

What drives spanish speaker nuts is when the grammatical rules get broken. It almost never happens in spanish with the frequency it does in english. For example...the word "sugar" and "suggestion". Both begin with "su" but the sound is different. They'll ask how do you know when to pronounce something a certain way and not the other.  And we have to give the answer that our french teachers told us when we weren't skipping class to do french kissing......................there is no rule for this pronounciation, you just "know" how to pronounce it.

Ever notice in english that we often say to each other "Oops, that came out wrong."  or "That sounded so bad" or "That didn't quite come out right."  I almost never have this problem in spanish and there is a good reason for it, spanish isn't a "weight specific" language like english is. Take for example the verbs "think" and "believe". In english "believe"  carries a weight or meaning that is deeper than simply the verb "think". To say you believe something connotates have a belief system ingrained into you, not a simple thought.

Us as native english speakers also struggle with this and sometimes find ourselves trying to find the right words for things. If this is a struggle for us, how much harder do you think it is for a non native speaker. But its nice to know that challenges with another language aren't limited to everyday people. Even celebs like Sofia Vergara of Modern Family who plays "Gloria" still struggle with the way that the english language can twist one's tongue  ;P

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