lunes, 6 de diciembre de 2010


The pronunciation of the modal verb would gives Spanish people a lot of trouble. People mispronounce would in many different ways. They make:
/ bud / or
/ gud / or even
/ ud /.

All these pronunciations are wrong. The correct way to pronunce would is /wud/.

Let's listen to a teacher from Tarle Speech and Language giving us advice on how to pronounce this word.

She mentions three basic rules:
- Round your lips as much as possible to make / w /.
- Pull your lips back a little bit to make /ə/.
- Make the sound very short.

So we must round our lips almost fully, more even than to pronounce / u: /. I said 'almost fully', because if we round our lips completely, the sound / b / will come out. Practise first with some words starting with / w /. This is no problem for Spanish people:
when, where, why, which, what, wet

Now the biggest difficulty for Spaniards, when / w / is followed by / u / or / u: /, as in would, wood, woman.
The English / w / here is quite similar to Spanish u in words like huevo or hueso.

As I said before, we round our lips as much as possible without closing them completely and pronounce / w / with energy and quickly, and move on to /ə/.

Listen to more native speakers pronounce would in the great Forvo online pronunciation dictionary.

And also check this entry from the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, which offers lots of examples.