Should you worry about your English accent when speaking Spanish?Tweet
Over at Latinish.com, Tracy López recently posted her contribution to the latest meme sweeping YouTube and Facebook: S#!+ Salvadorans Say. The video is a cute montage of the things Salvadorans say. Now, I’ll point out, in case you didn’t notice, that Tracy is gringa. But I think she has great Spanish pronunciation. However, she has received a lot of negative comments about her accent on YouTube (which of course happens on YouTube). This prompted her most recent post, Erase or Embrace the Accent?
As I said previously, I think Tracy has great pronunciation. And pronunciation is different than an accent, in my opinion. I think it is possible to be well understood, but still not have the sounds of a native.
A little background about me: I’ve said before that I’m not a native Spanish speaker. Even though I am of half Mexican heritage, I grew up in an English only environment. I’ve learned Spanish as an adult, mostly teaching myself.
I know that I will never sound like a native. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I practice or how much I listen, I know I will always retain a little bit of an English accent when I speak Spanish.
I used to feel self-conscious about this. I used to think people would not like the way I sound. Both English and Spanish speakers have always complemented me on my Spanish. And like Tracy, I’ve wondered if it was because I could muster more Spanish than the customary greetings.
I personally have made peace with my accent. I know I’m not perfect. I know I will make mistakes when speaking Spanish, and some of them will be funny or strange. (And I know that I don’t sound bad like Peggy Hill.)
I will keep on learning and practicing my Spanish, hopefully getting a little bit better each day. I hope you will, too.