Episode 45: 5 Ways to Improve Your Spanish Accent from the Beginning

Podcast
Learn Spanish Con Salsa Podcast

Episode 45

5 Ways to Improve Your Spanish Accent from the Beginning

Interview with Hongyu Chen from Speechling

Do you want to improve your Spanish pronunciation, but don't know where to start?

When learning a language, we have so many new skills to learn. Unfortunately, pronunciation can be one of those areas we don't focus on soon enough.

In this interview, Hongyu Chen from Speechling shares 4 easy ways you can improve your Spanish accent from the beginning.

This conversation is full of practical advice you can implement right away, so you'll never come across a Spanish word you don't know how to pronounce.

Transcript

Time Speaker Transcript
01:37- 01:58 Tamara ¡Hola y bienvenidos al episodio 45! Welcome to episode 45 of the Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast. I'm super excited to share this episode with you because I had a very interesting conversation with Hongyu Chen. He is the founder and CEO of Speechling. Speechling is an app that helps language learners improve their pronunciation.
01:58- 02:23 Tamara In this interview Hongyu shares some tips for how you can start to improve your Spanish pronunciation and your accent from the very beginning. Now when you're learning the language, there can be so many things to consider. We're trying to build vocabulary, learn grammar, improve our listening comprehension, decide what dialects we're gonna learn. And sometimes pronunciation is one of those things that just gets put on the back burner.
02:23- 02:56 Tamara And in this episode we're going to address why you should start improving your pronunciation from the beginning and how that can also help you become proficient in other areas of Spanish faster. So get ready to take notes. This episode is full of practical tips that you can implement right away to improve your Spanish accent. So let's get started with our conversation with Hongyu. Vamos a empezar. Hola, Hongyu, bienvenido, thank you for joining me on the Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast.
02:56- 03:01 Hongyu Chen Hola Tamara, I'm Hongyu Chen. I'm the founder and CEO of speechling.com.
03:01 – 03:10 Tamara Could you start out telling our listeners who might not know about you or haven't heard of Speechling before, just tell us a little bit about you and how you got into language learning or why you're so passionate about it?
03:10- 03:52 Hongyu Chen Absolutely. I started Speechling because I wish I had it growing up. I was born in China. I'm Chinese, but I grew up in Southern California where I actually had to learn English and Spanish at the same time. Most of the kids in both my middle school and high school spoke Spanish either because they were native or because they learned it. I was actually 13 when I started learning Spanish. I wanted to get really good at both English and Spanish really quickly. But what I realized was that while there were plenty of resources for teaching you how to read and write, there weren't good affordable resources for helping me speak languages better.
03:52- 04:31 Hongyu Chen And that's still true today. On one hand, there's apps like Rosetta stone and Duolingo, which are excellent for reading and writing, but they don't do such a good job at helping you speak. And there's also classes and private tutoring but, at least for me growing up, that was prohibitively expensive. So I wished there was a good free resource for helping people speak a new language. And that's why I started Speechling: Which is a nonprofit language learning website and app that helps everybody learn to speak a new language better.
04:31- 05:04 Tamara That's great. You know, I think you make some great points just having resources available, but you know, they're all not good for everything, right? So I know a lot of Spanish learners, especially that are native-English speakers always find it easier to sort of read Spanish, right? And maybe even write in Spanish. But when it comes to actually talking, you know, it can be kind of difficult because some of the sounds in Spanish are very different than English. So, you're right, there are a lot of resources that are heavy on, you know, maybe learn new vocabulary and frequency word list and all these kinds of things.
05:04- 05:24 Tamara But it is really difficult if you want to work on your pronunciation to know what to do and then if what you're doing it's working. We'll talk a little bit more about Speechling a little bit later as we go on, but I want to talk now about the problem you mentioned, right? What you noticed as you were learning Spanish and English: About pronunciation, I know this can be a tricky area for language learners.
05:24- 05:46 Tamara Even if we're, you know, we feel conversationally fluent in a language, we can have like a really obvious accent or we just really don't know how to pronounce the words correctly. So what would you say are some of the best ways or tips you would give to someone who's learning Spanish? Maybe even another language of how they can improve their pronunciation and how to approach it when they're learning a new language for the first time.
05:46- 06:13 Hongyu Chen Absolutely. So the first tip I have is to start early. It's very easy to focus on reading and writing, but I find it actually easy to improve on reading and writing later on in the language learning journey. If you have pronunciation mistakes, when you start to learn a language, those mistakes can become fossilized later on and become very difficult to fix.
06:13- 07:03 Tamara That's true. Because I learned Spanish initially in school, right? So I learned in like middle school, they told us they pick a language and I picked Spanish and you know, we started out doing a lot of reading and a lot of learning vocabulary, a lot of learning grammar. And as I was reading, and I had this little voice in my head, like, you know how when you're reading you have this internal voice, right? So, as you're reading just kind of sounding the words out in your head and as English speakers were looking at these letters going: “Oh, those are pretty much the same as English”, right? Like that looks like an “R”, but it's not alright. It's “ere”, right? It's different. But when we're reading it with sort of (I call it “our internal gringo voice”) we sometimes will fossilize, like you mentioned, those pronunciation mistakes just because we've never heard the words pronounced correctly. So I think that's true.
07:03- 07:44 Tamara That's a big thing that we come across and I liked the idea of starting early, because I think there's this misconception in language learning that: “Oh, don't worry about your pronunciation. You know, you can, you can pick that up later. Let's focus on learning vocabulary first or something else”. But I really think if you don't know the sounds of the language, it can be really hard to be proficient in so many ways, because you're not sure how things are supposed to sound. And then that even goes into listening comprehension because when you hear them you're like, “what sound is that? Because I've never heard that before”, because you're, you know you've got these pronunciation mistakes that you're making so you don't understand as well when you hear someone. So, I think that's a really a really good point.
07:44- 08:23 Hongyu Chen I find it so interesting that you talk about similarities between English and Spanish and getting to know the sounds of the language, because it's actually a lot more difficult in English to learn the sounds as compared to Spanish. So, in English for example, the single letter “i” can represent a lot of different sounds just off the top of my head, you can have the long [aɪ] as in “like”, you can have the long [i:] as in “unique”, the short “i” as in “it” or even the “schwa” sound as in “pencil”. But in Spanish the “i” is always pronounced as [i:]. to say [i:] always.
08:23- 09:07 Hongyu Chen And what I recommend everybody to do when they first start learning Spanish is to get the vowel sounds down because they don't change. And while that might seem obvious to you, where this gets tricky as Tamara mentioned is in Spanish words that look awfully like English words. So for example, the Spanish word for “information”, you wouldn't pronounce it as “información”. It's actually “información” with the [i:] in the beginning. As opposed to that [ɪ] sound. Similarly the word for “imitate” or is not [ɪmɪtəʳ]. It's [i:mi:tar] because you want
09:07- 09:47 Tamara Yeah, that's true. I think that is one of the hardest things. For instance, the examples that you mentioned, I thought of the word “general”, right? Especially when you know you've got the vowel sounds and also the consonants a little bit different because it's [henerɑ:l] right? It's not [ˈdʒen(ə)rəl]. So it's like when we see things that we're already familiar with, I think it's almost harder because you have to unlearn, right? All those other sounds before you can learn the new ones in their habits. Because if, especially if you grew up speaking English, then they sound like natural to you. To someone learning English, they're like “Oh my God, there's all these exceptions to the rules”, right? But when you grow up with it and you're used to it, you kind of expect, you kind of know how things are supposed to sound.
09:47- 11:38 Tamara And I think that's the same thing with native Spanish speakers. Like when you say something and they're not understanding you, it's because they know how it's supposed to sound and you're thinking: “Well, I'm trying to pronounce the letters correctly, but, for some reason I don't sound like they do”, right? So how would you recommend getting over that when you might know that when you're talking or speaking Spanish, you hear yourself and you can hear that you don't sound like a native Spanish speaker, but how do you get from that awareness to actually beginning to improve some of those pronunciation mistakes, whether they're fossilized errors or just gaps in our knowledge about how to pronounce the words, how do we get from that point of awareness to actually making real improvement to the point that someone could actually mistake us for a native Spanish speaker?
11:38- 12:02 Tamara Right! And it's interesting that you mentioned finding someone who's patient. Because I find that and my advice would be not to get a friend to do it, depending on who it is. Just because, I think sometimes when you're in a social situation, or even with a friend or just anyone you're speaking to you, they're just happy that you're trying to speak Spanish. And they understand you, sort of, maybe a couple of words you say that are so off that they have to ask you to repeat it and they kind of get it.
12:02- 12:31 Tamara But what I find is that people are like: “Okay, well you're speaking Spanish, that's great! Or they're like: “your Spanish is great!” And you're like, “No, no, no, no, no: Help me improve” Like “what am I saying wrong?” And they're like, “you're doing great!” And you get these, you know, because people are generally nice, especially in Latino culture, people are very warm; they appreciate you making the effort. But if you're really trying to get to that next level where you want to improve your pronunciation, I agree: You have to be really specific and ask for that feedback, because they're not always going to give it to you.
12:31- 13:03 Tamara And it's not always because you're not making mistakes. It's just because: One, they might not feel like it's appropriate to correct you, right? Who wants to be around someone when you're talking and they're always correcting you even in English, right? Like I don't like people that “it's tomato, not tomato”, right? Like you don't want to be around people like that. So I think sometimes, and especially in a social setting, your friends aren't always gonna correct you, so you have the ask for that feedback. And the second thing I would say that I found interesting, and you can tell me if this has been your experience as well hung you, but I've found that Spanish speakers don't expect you to sound like them.
13:03- 13:47 Tamara So, even though you're talking and you're making mistakes, they just attribute it to that's your accent, right? Like, I remember I was struggling some years ago with like the soft “D” sound so like the “D” in Spanish when it's between two vowels, has a softer sound and it's more like the “TH” in English, like in “though”, whereas the regular “D” like the hard “D” sounds more like the English “D”. So, I was always messing this up and no one told me for awhile until I actually asked for the feedback and I asked like, [well, I've been making this mistake for a while: Why haven't I been corrected?” You know, I've had different tutors, I've traveled, I've talked to different people and he said, well, we don't expect you to sound like a native speaker. We hear it and we just know that you're American, and it's okay because we still understand you.
13:47- 14:21 Tamara So, I think that's interesting. And it's almost like we don't expect you to get to that point that you're going to sound like a native speaker. It's almost like that's not the standard for other people. But if it's your standard, you've really got to take the initiative to work at it, to set a goal and then to seek out the feedback and then work on practicing and correcting your mistakes. Because otherwise, you know, people just say, “Oh, you're doing great!”, and you're thinking, “Oh, I'm doing fine!”. Until you know, you get to that point. As you become more aware that, “oh! My pronunciation really could improve it and it really could be better”.
14:21- 15:20 Hongyu Chen Absolutely. To take this to an extreme, one of my most embarrassing stories in Spanish was mispronouncing names for years before I got it right. But one of my best friends growing up, he was Indian. His last name was J O S E pronounced [dʒoʊs]. And growing up in school, I've pronounced every single person named Jose [dʒoʊs]. And nobody corrected, nobody corrected me. I pronounced Jesus as [dʒi:səs] and then Juan as [dʒʊʌn]. And you'd be surprised at how nice people are, as you mentioned, Tamara, and how hesitant they are to give you feedback on some blatant things even. So it just goes to show how diligent you need to be in terms of specifically asking for feedback.
15:20- 15:52 Tamara Yeah, definitely. And it's funny you mentioned that you've also had that experience and I think, it's one of the great things about learning Spanish though, is that people are kind to you and they see that you're trying. So I think it can be a double edged sword, right? Because as a language learner. And especially if you're a recovering perfectionist, like I have been known to be, it's hard because you want to get it right, you know? But when you're not getting the feedback, it's not that, like I said, people not caring or not willing to give you the feedback, they're just being kind. And I think that's, that's a great thing, right?
15:52- 16:25 Tamara But we've got to be the ones to take it upon ourselves to say, I'm going to get this right and I'm going to get the resources that I need to, to be able to fix it. So, I think we have a pretty good list so far. We have started early with pronunciation, you've also mentioned starting with the vowel sounds, and then finding a patient person to sort of help you work on one sound at a time to really improve. Is there anything else you'd recommend if someone's out there and they're really thinking, I want to get to the next level with my pronunciation or I've never thought about it before and I want to know where to start: Is there anything else, any more advice that you could give?
16:25- 17:03 Hongyu Chen Sure. One thing that I wish I'd learned from day one in learning Spanish was the stress rules. So, what stress means is if there are multiple syllables in a word, which syllable gets the emphasis. So for example, the word for “father” versus the word for ‘potato” in Spanish, the only difference is the stress. So it's “papa” versus “papá”. And if you get this wrong, you could be calling your dad a potato, right? So there are actually three very simple rules that I wish I had learned for stress in Spanish.
17:03- 17:50 Hongyu Chen So the first rule is that if there's an accent, then that syllable is stressed. For example, in the word “último”, there is an accent on the “u”. So the stress falls on the “u”: “último” meaning “last” in Spanish. And the second rule is that there are words without an accent, but that end in a vowel and or an “S”, then the stress falls on the second to last syllable. So some examples would be “nada”, “zapatos” and “crimen”. One of them ends in a vowel; “nada”. Another ends in an “s”; “zapatos” and another ends in an “N” “crimen” and they all have a stress on the second to last syllable.
17:50- 18:38 Hongyu Chen And the third rule is that for all other words, that is, words without an accent and words that don't end in a vowel and/ or an “S”, then the accent is on the last syllable. So that involves most verbs like “comer”, “hablar”, also words like “doctor” or “ciudad” it might take a little bit of time in learning these stress rules, but it is far easier in Spanish than it is in English. Because just by knowing these rules, you can take a look at any word and know where the stress lies. In English it's actually very complicated, right? Some people say “pekan”, some people say “pecan”, they're both right. They're words where it's not so obvious where the stress is, but that's not the case in Spanish.
18:38- 19:01 Tamara You know, and I'm glad you mentioned that because I agree 100%. I think that is one of the other issues in terms of pronunciation, especially as English-speakers learning Spanish. We're used to the English rules or pronunciation, which again, like you mentioned earlier, there's so many exceptions to those rules that if you're literate in English, you've just kind of learned to live with them, right? And you still will get things wrong when you're learning new words. But in Spanish, you're right, it can be pretty straight forward as long as you know what the rules are. And I think that as well as how the words linked together, is something that also really helps because as you're listening to someone you can sort of pick out, okay, if I, if I know that for instance, like the rules that you mentioned, you know, when you hear a “cion”, right? Like “transportación” anything that ends in that like “ion” and you know, this is going to be an accent over the “O” and you can kind of then sort of as you're listening to people, kind of see how words are written.
19:01- 19:31 Tamara As you're listening and also began to use that in your pronunciation. Ok, well, you're listening to people, you pick up on some of these things or you start to hear them and you start to notice the patterns. And I think a lot of it was Spanish, especially even with the cognates between English and Spanish, there are a lot of patterns that you pick up and you can start to do that once you know what those rules are and you'll know what to expect. So I think that's really key. Knowing exactly what the pronunciation rules are so that when you're reading something in Spanish and you're trying to figure out how to pronounce it correctly, even if it takes you some time, at least you'll know you got it right.
19:31- 20:08 Tamara You know, even if you're reading slowly at first and you're trying to figure it out, at least don't know. If you have those basic roles that you mentioned, then you'll know that, okay, this is, I might struggle with it, but if I take my time and it sounded out, I know what the rules are, I know that I'll get it right. I think that's so key and it's so empowering because once you know that you won't come across a text and go, “all right, I have no idea how this is supposed to sound you”. You have that empowerment, even if you've got to look up the vocabulary and all those things, just knowing those couple of rules, can really help you, I think, be a lot less intimidated by trying to pronounce especially new and unfamiliar words.
20:08- 20:43 Tamara So I think you make a really good point there. Now, I want to talk a little bit about how Speechling can help because I know earlier this year on the way I found that out about Speechling was, actually in a Facebook group and I saw a post where someone was asking about resources for practicing speaking Spanish because as you mentioned, there aren't very many resources to help with pronunciation. And someone actually mentioned Speechling in the post and I hadn't heard about it at the time.
20:43- 21:38 Tamara So me being the tester that I am, I went and looked for the app, I downloaded it and I think within a few minutes I was able to complete some exercises and practice and things and do a couple recordings. So, after I tested it out, I really wanted to reach out to you cause I'm like, “wow, this is great, I think more people need to know about this”. So, I think what you guys offer is really unique. It's a great resource that could help a lot of Spanish learners. If you could, can you tell us a little bit about Speechling? And how it got started and, and sort of what you offer, especially for Spanish learners.
21:38- 22:30 Hongyu Chen Yeah, thanks for the kind words and the intro to Speechling . So the way speech thing works is: It's a website and app available for iOS and Android. You record yourself speaking Spanish with a number of different exercises and then a real person, a native speaking Spanish tutor gives you feedback on your speaking within 24 hours. And this feedback comes in the form of pronunciation, word choice and grammar.
22:08- 22:30 Hongyu Chen Like I mentioned at the beginning of the show, Speechling is a nonprofit, it's free to use. We do charge subscriptions or bonus features for power users, but we only do that to pay our staff, keep the lights on and keep Speechling add-free. We also like to work with schools and we provide scholarships for language learners in need.
22:30- 22:49 Tamara So that's great. So, you mentioned that you're a nonprofit, so how does that work? Cause I know people are used to having like free apps like Duolingo for example, but we know that they are a for profit company. So why did you have the idea to start it as a nonprofit and what does that look like and how, you know, how is that different from the approaches of some of the other apps?
22:49- 23:40 Hongyu Chen Sure. So from the very beginning, I wanted to create something that ended up being widely used and it stayed true to why I started in the first place, which is creating this resource that's affordable, focused on speaking something that I wish I had growing up. And I knew that if I started it as a for profit company, I needed to maybe generate revenue for some investors that I wouldn't be able to stay true to that mission. And so in starting Speechling as a nonprofit, we're able to keep costs low for everybody and really run it out of the goodness of everybody trying to learn a language as opposed to trying to maximize revenue for shareholders or what some of these other for profit companies are doing.
23:40- 23:55 Tamara If you could now walk us a little bit through the user experience. So, when I go to download a Speechling app, what's the first thing that I do? What does a session look like if I want to go to login to the app?
23:55- 24:19 Hongyu Chen So after you download the app, you get to choose the language, we currently offer eight different languages, Spanish is one of them and then presents you with your coach. You can record yourself saying hello to your coach, any specific features or requests that you want your coach to do for you. And then you're presented with a number of different exercises.
24:19- 25:06 Hongyu Chen The most popular exercise we have right now is listening to a native speaker, say a word or a sentence and these are all recorded by professional voice actors, male and female. We don't use computerized voice because we don't think it's productive to try to imitate that. For more advanced language learners, we have exercises like answering a question, describing an image or even pulling resources from elsewhere, typing what you're going to say and then saying it, and then you record yourself doing that. And your coach who you are introduced to from the beginning will give you feedback within 24 hours.
25:06- 25:22 Tamara That's great. Is there anything specific, because you mentioned the ability to request certain things from your coach, so what types of requests do you typically see? Is there a customization within the app or is it pretty much just, you know, one set of phrases that you can listen to and repeat?
25:22- 26:16 Hongyu Chen We have a database of about 10,000 different words and sentences that people can record and we're hoping that takes people very far. But in addition to that, we also have modules like answering questions, typing, whatever you want in terms of your first question of what are things that people typically request from their coach, people request, all sorts of different things. So one common request is for people to be, for the coach to be a little bit more lenient in the beginning for them to work on particular sounds. For example, the “R” sound in Spanish is tricky to a lot of people, there's some requests to, you know, help people get to the bottom of that pronunciation. Another request that people sometimes do is to more focus on word choice and grammar as opposed to pronunciation. We really want to make it individualized for everybody.
26:16- 26:47 Tamara And you mentioned getting, getting sort of that feedback from the coach like within 24 hours. So, do they give you any specific advice on how to pronounce certain letters? Because like you mentioned the “R” sound, especially that trilled “R” the “erre” is really difficult for native English speakers especially. Is there, do they give you guidance on, you know, put your tongue here, put your mouth this way, are there videos or anything that can show you, or even just, more step-by-step advice to help people through some of those hurdles?
26:47- 27:06 Hongyu Chen Absolutely. So the feedback you get is in two different formats. Everybody gets an audio recording from their coach telling them which places in the sentence they said could have been said better. And there's also a text feedback that they can give.
27:06- 27:28 Tamara And do you offer a curriculum? Cause some people, I think it sounds great for an independent learner that knows what they need to work on, especially someone who's more in intermediate level but for a beginner, do you have a curriculum or something where you walk people through? Like what to work on first, what sounds, what words, what phrases as there something that's a little more structured for someone who may not know where to start?
27:28- 27:57 Hongyu Chen We have a skills tree, we have the Speechling phrase book, which is a collection of around 500 commonly used phrases that are useful for traveling. And then we have individual words, So that's helpful for building vocab. But those words are also used in context with a sentence that you've been learning later on. So we really have content for the whole spectrum of learners.
27:57- 28:07 Hongyu Chen Sometimes, even when we're learning with an app and you're just learning and you see like, Oh I got a new trophy or I got a star or whatever, or I have a learning straight, like that's good.
28:07- 28:53 Tamara But I think having known that a human being actually listened to you and they given you that real feedback versus like an AI or something that's like interpreting your voice and telling you did good because you know that a native speaker has listened to it and it gives you a little bit more confidence, I think, when you're going out and then you know now you can speak Spanish in the real world like with your friends or with the conversation partner because you've got a little bit more confidence like “Hey, I know at least someone has validated that I'm saying this correctly and it's not just, you know, me struggling by myself to figure out am I doing this”, right? So I think that that human touch is something you don't find in a lot of apps, so I applaud you for that and also for being a nonprofit and just staying true to that mission of really helping community of independent language learners! What are some of those premium features that they can get if they become a subscriber?
28:53- 29:33 Hongyu Chen First, you have an increased limit on the length of the recording that you can submit. So this is helpful for a lot of people trying to learn longer sentences. Maybe they're using “answer the question” or “describe the image” modes and they really need that extra practice. You can also get offline downloads of all our sentences. So that's all 10,000 as well as on-key decks. So what on-key is a spaced repetition program for helping people memorize words and sentences. And we have that available for download for premium users as well.
29:33- 30:29 Tamara And on-key is also free. That's where like a flashcard app that you can download to that's free as well. But yeah, a lot of, a lot of people use that learn vocabulary and everything as well. So I think speaking is great and anyone out there, if you haven't tried it yet, I definitely recommend you download the app and give it a shot. You know, you guys, I'm always looking out for you listeners of the podcast. So I did ask you for a discount for the listeners of Spanish con Salsa. So could you share with us, if they went to sign up and download Speechling now if they're interested in some of those premium features you mentioned earlier, where can they go to download Speechling?
30:09- 30:26 Hongyu Chen Absolutely. If you go to Speechling.com, S-P-E-E-C-H-L-I-N-G.com/salsa, you'll get a discount. It'll take you to the homepage. If you ever decide to subscribe, it'll give you a 10% lifetime discount.
30:26- 30:39 Tamara That's great. Thank you so much for offering that. And now I want to switch gears as we close out and start our quick fire round. So this is where I ask you five questions en Español for you to answer off the top of your head. So, listo?
30:39- 30:40 Hongyu Chen Let's do it, Tamara!
30:40- 30:46 Tamara Okay, pregunta numero uno: ¿Cuál es tu canción favorita en Español? OK, question number one: What’s your favorite song in Spanish?
30:46- 31:05 Hongyu Chen Mi canción favorita es una canción por La Quinta Estación que se llama “Me muero por besarte”, en la escuela secundaria, originalmente, y tengo buenas memorias con la canción. My favorite song in Spanish is a song by La Quinta Estación which is called “Me muero por Besarte”, in highschool, originally and I have good memories with that song.
31:05- 31:11 Tamara ¿Y qué tipo de canción es? Creo que no es salsa, no? ¿Qué tipo de canción? And what kind of song is that? It’s not salsa, is it? What kind of song is it?
31:11- 31:16 Hongyu Chen No es salsa, pero es con una banda mejicana. Que se llama La Quinta Estación It’s not salsa, but it’s with a mexican band. It is called La quinta Estación.
31:16- 31:27 Tamara Okay. Y, número dos: ¿Cuál es tu palabra favorita en Español? Puede ser una palabra que no tenemos en Inglés o cualquier palabra. Ok, and number two: What’s your favorite word in Spanish? It can be a word we don’t have in English or just any word.
31:27- 31:44 Hongyu Chen Mi palabra favorita es la palabra “perro”, cuando la aprendí, era muy difícil para mí, porque la palabra es muy parecida a “pero”; “perro” y “pero”. My favorite word is “perro”, when I learned it, it was very difficult for me, because the word is really similar to “pero”; “perro” and “pero”
31:44- 31:51 Tamara Y “pero” que significa “but” y “perro” que es un “dog”. And “pero” means “but” and “perro” is “dog”.
31:51- 32:01 Tamara Y, número tres, ¿Cuál fue la última cosa que leíste, miraste o escuchaste en Español? And, number three: What’s the last thing you read, heard or listened in Spanish?
32:01- 32:13 Hongyu Chen Me encanta un podcast que se llama Radio Ambulante y son historias de Latinoamérica. Es mi favorito. I love a podcast called Radio Ambulante and they’re stories of Latin America. It’s my favorite.
32:13- 32:46 Tamara Ellos también tuvieron un show como en vivo, de Radio Ambulante cerca de donde yo vivo, in Washington DC y yo fui, creo q fue en octubre, y es un podcast que tiene historias muy interesantes de diferentes tipos de personas, con algunas de las personas que cuentan historias en el podcast entonces fue impresionante, me encantó. They also had a show, like live, of Radio Ambulante close to where I live, in Washington DC. and I went, I think it was in October, and it’s a podcast that has very interesting stories of different kinds of people, with some of those people telling their stories in the podcast, so it was impressive, I loved it.
32:46- 32:59 Tamara Y pregunta número cuatro: Saca tu teléfono y traduce el último texto que recibiste del Inglés al Español. And question number four: Get your cell phone and translate the last text you received from English to Spanish.
32:59- 33:25 Hongyu Chen Acabo de recibir un texto de mi amigo. Se llama Kevin y me dijo que “just arrived in New York, I'm finishing things for work today”. So, voy a traducirlo: “Acabo de llegar a Nueva York, estoy terminando algunas cosas para mi trabajo hoy”. I just received a text from my friend. His name’s Kevin and he told me that he “his just arrived in New York”, I’m finishing things for work today”. So, I am going to translate it: “Acabo de llegar a Nueva York, estoy terminando algunas cosas para mi trabajo hoy”.
33:25- 33:34 Tamara La última pregunta: ¿Qué harías si no tuvieras que dormir en la vida? Last question: What would you do if you didn’t have to sleep in your whole life?
33:34- 33:39 Hongyu Chen Claro, voy a trabajar en Speechling. Sure, I would work in Speechling.
33:39- 33:43 Tamara Si, es una pasión. Yes, it’s a passion.
33:43- 33:51 Hongyu Chen Si, es mi pasión. Yes, it’s my passion.
33:51- 33:51 Tamara Que bueno, entonces, gracias. How great, well, thank you. Thank you for participating in the quickfire rounds and thank you for taking the time to join me on this Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast.
33:51- 33:58 Hongyu Chen Thanks for having me, Tamara. It was a pleasure.
33:58- 35:00 Tamara Espero que te haya servido esa conversación con Hongyu y puedes practicar los consejos que nos dió para mejorar tu pronunciación. I hope you found that conversation with Hongyu helpful and you can practice the tips that he gave us to improve your Spanish pronunciation. And don't forget, if you want to check out Speechling, you can download it absolutely free at speechling.com/salsa that's S-P-E-E-C-H-L-I-N-G.com/salsa and you'll be able to try out the Speechling app completely free. And remember, if you want to upgrade to take advantage of some of the premium features that hung you shared as well, you will get a 10% lifetime discount when you sign up at speechling.com/salsa. That is it for this episode of the Learn Spanish con Salsa podcast, remember to reach out to us on Instagram. You can send us a DM @learnspanishconsalsa and tell us what you thought of this episode and what you'd like to hear more of on the podcast as well.
35:00- 35:45 Tamara We also love when you leave us a rating and review and you can do that by clicking on the link in the description to this episode. We really appreciate your reviews. It helps us know what you want more of on the podcast, what you like, what you dislike, and it also helps other Spanish learners find our podcast. So click on the Link on description to leave a rating or review. Make sure you also have subscribed. If this is your first time listening to the podcast, click the subscribe button so you will be the first one notified when we release a new episode. That's it for this episode, and as always, I hope that something that you heard today will take you one step closer from being a beginner to bilingual. Adiós.

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