Greetings from Oaxaca, Mexico and welcome to I’m All Ears, a Spanish pronunciation course. My name is Jorge González Casanova and I am an Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Washington, in the department of Spanish and Portuguese. Two of my passions in life are music and language and this project represents the coming together of those passions: the production of sounds by humans in order to create language. I am thrilled to share my passions with you!
In this brief presentation I want to make three points. First, the reason I chose the name I’m All Ears, is because I wanted to highlight the importance of Active Listening. Listening with attention is one of the most important skills a person can have while learning a new language. When it comes to acquiring excellent or even near-native pronunciation, it is crucial to pay close attention to the sounds produced by native speakers. If you listen carefully, your chances of having great pronunciation increase manyfold.
Second, the systematic teaching of correct pronunciation is not usually part of the Spanish curriculum, so I created this course to facilitate that task by providing the necessary theoretical and practical tools, not only for instructors to teach pronunciation but also for students to teach themselves pronunciation. I included technical language, but I keep it to a minimum, so you don’t need to know linguistics in order to follow this course. And now a disclaimer: this course is a comprehensive introduction on how to teach and learn Spanish pronunciation. Nonetheless, a lot more work is needed. It is an arduous process which requires time, effort, and patience. It is, in fact, a lifetime endeavor.
Third, having good pronunciation in a foreign language is important for several reasons. For example, it is essential to attaining native-like fluency. Also, you will be easily understood by native speakers. And finally, you will feel a sense of satisfaction in your accomplishments.
Although acquiring native-like pronunciation is possible, it is difficult. I know a few people who have perfect pronunciation in Spanish, and anyone would be hard-pressed to discern that they are not native speakers. But those cases are few and far between. The good news, though, is that having perfect pronunciation is not necessary. In fact, that is not the goal of this course. Having good or excellent pronunciation, which is perfectly understood by native speakers, is our pursuit. Of course, if you do achieve perfect pronunciation, good for you!
Finally, I just want to say that my intention in creating this course is to make teaching and learning pronunciation fun. So please have fun, put time and effort into it and, above all, keep listening.