Chapter 2: Structure of
Spanish
DewEtta Moss
What?
•
Phonetically, Spanish is an easier language to learn
than English because there are 22 phonemes and 29
letters that form them.
•
Vowel sounds are consistent.
Examples:
a -- /a/ -- short o sound in father and spa.
o -- /o/ -- long o sound in no and old.
•
Consonant phonemes are a little more challenging
because a few of them have more than one sound.
Examples:
c -- /k/ -- before a, o, and u, such as, cama and
cosa.
-- /s/ -- such as, cena and cita.
What?
•
Spanish phonics instruction can improve Spanishspeaking students’ English reading abilities.
•
Suggested guidelines for this instruction include
teaching vowels first, then consonants, and progressing
to digraphs, blends, and vowel combinations.
•
The final two steps are combining consonants with
vowels to help student to decode Spanish words and
staggering the “consonant sounds to vary the type of
articulation:
–
–
–
–
–
–
Bilabial (/p/, /b/, /m/)
Labiodental (/f/)
Dental (/t/, /d/)
Alveolar (/s/, /n/, /l/, /r/, /rr/)
Palatal (/ch/, /ñ/, /y/)
Velar (/k/, /x/, /g/)” (pp. 56-57)
What?
• The printed Spanish language can be divided
easily into syllables.
• Rules to follow when dividing words are:
– Syllables should end in a vowel.
– Digraphs ch, ll, rr, are never separated.
– Prepositional prefixes are separate syllables,
unless followed by s + consonant: con-sul-tar
vs. cons-tan-te.
– Vowels forming a diphthong or triphthong are
not separated unless they are divided by an
accent mark: llu-via vs. dí-a.
– Letters l and r are not separated from the
preceding consonant unless it is part of a prefix:
a-bra-zo vs. sub-ra-yar.
– Consonants standing between vowels are
separated: pron-to.
What?
•
On pp. 60-61 is a chart showing differences between
English and Spanish orthography and phonology.
Understanding these differences can give a teacher
the tools needed to help an ELL student who may be
applying Spanish language rules to reading English
and becoming confused.
•
Some of the phonics rules are similar:
– /b/ spelled b,
– /m/ spelled m,
– h is a silent letter.
•
However, there are several English phonetic
elements that can not transfer from Spanish.
Examples include:
– all short vowel and schwa sounds
– long vowels with silent e
– /v/ spelled v (in Spanish v has the /b/ sound)
What?
• There are a number of English/Spanish
cognates (words in two languages that
share a similar spelling, pronunciation, and
meaning) which will facilitate an ELL
student’s mastery of the English language.
Examples include:
– banjo/banjo
– artist/artista
– interesting/interesante
• However, there are a few false cognates
which do not have the same meaning, such
as:
–
–
–
–
papa/papa (potato)
pan/pan (bread)
fabric/fàbrica (factory)
red/red (net)
Conclusion
• Having recognized that specific
vowels, consonants, blends make
specific sounds in Spanish will help
an ELL student to understand English
phonics.
• A teacher who understands the
similarities and differences between
Spanish and English phonetics will be
better equipped to guide an ELL
student to improve his or her reading
strategies.
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