American parsing out Italian from Spanish

This is a very interesting video by an American guy who speaks almost perfect Spanish with Dominican accent trying to understand Italian.
In Spanish with Spanish and English subtitles

Fairly encouraging for when I travel to Italy sometime in my life to see the coliseum and the Vatican. Orally and verbally not sure how I do.

Added bonus: I prefer listening to this guy with a Dominican accent than actual Dominicans speaking with a Dominican accent. They always seemed so fast and garbled. Puerto Ricans and Cubans same thing, but less so. Spaniards seem to go even faster, but it’s clearer and easier to understand, at least for me. Maybe it’s because my 800s of listening didn’t include a lot of Carribean content.

The bottomline is that you find natural what you listen to. I happen to like Caribbean accents very much, They don’t speak “garbled” at all. Maybe fast, but I am a very fast speaker myself so I can’t complain.
In general I would discourage any learner from classifying accents as “better” or “worse”, not only is it not true but it really hampers comprehension because it primes you to not paying attention. You want to be able to understand any accent or, at least, that is my goal when I learn a language.
Buona fortuna quando andrai in Italia

I think he did very well and he looks to know Spanish very well as well, although he did a test with easy and clear spoken Italian language and enough clear text to understand by intuition.

Between the two languages there are lots of similarities but lots of false friends as well. Sometimes it’s funny to see Spanish and Italian people that they believe they understood each other without knowing the other language but they really didn’t. :smiley:

One thing he said it’s that Portuguese and Italian are much more similar? I didn’t know that. Might be true?
I thought it was the same level as Spanish and Italian.

He said that but it’s just an impression. He was thinking about only one single point in comparison: the fact that both Italian and Portuguese keep Latin initial f: fazer, fare, whlile Spanish changes it to h: hacer.
In other respects Portuguese is more different than Spanish/Italian, for example it eliminates internal “n”/“l”. Spanish/Italian: venir/venire, Portuguese: vir. Spanish/Italian volar/volare. Pt. voar, … And some people find Portuguese phonology more difficult to understand.
At the end of the day which languages are “more similar” is a matter of personal experience.
For the exact opposite feeling, check this (part of a very interesting series of cross-language conversations):

By the way, this series tests your hypothesis about how much misunderstanding you can expect when communicating across languages. I think it proves to be smoother than you think? I’d be interested in hearing your opinion.

Aha! See that I could read. Thank you!

I think you are correct in the “priming” part because I think that I don’t notice the accent issues if I don’t know ahead of time that the person is speaking with one of those accents…so it’s probably your fault for this guy, since I wouldn’t have known otherwise. haha.

I’m also glad that I now have it on good authority that they don’t speak garbled. That’s it’s just perception.

Off topic now but a few years ago I was transcribing medieval (14th-15th C) manuscripts in Spanish and one of the things that I found interesting was that the shift away from the initial f to h hadn’t occurred yet. So there were words like ‘fijo’ for child/son (now ‘hijo’) and ‘formosa’ for beautiful (now ‘hermosa’) etc.


This is very interesting. When I learnt Spanish I actually didn’t go in any detail for the language like this, thinking about the changes in the letters and so on.

I watched the video and it’s quite funny to listen to.

I have to tell you that I have an hard time to understand Portuguese without watching the text. But in general, my best skill is not listening so I have to practice more. I believe that once I get the sound of portuguese it could be much easier to understand a lot.

If I had to study Portuguese, I believe I would focus on grammar first to see the differences and conjugations. And I believe it could be quicker. Then a bit of small words and kind of style of the language. And then I would practice a lot a lot on listening.

I had the feeling, in fact, that for Spanish people is easier to understand Portuguese. The Mexican guy was kind familiar with the sound. The Italian lady sometimes would guess more listening to the question of the Mexican. I believe that without him she could have had more difficulties and need more explanation.

Interesting to see those similarities and also a false friend like Sobrenome.

The fact is that these languages have lots of detailed word so you can guess more even if it’s not the perfect word.

Spanish escalón → scalino
Portuguese degrau → gradino

Spanish/Mexican pupilentes → lenti della pupilla → lenti a contatto

Words like apellido or frango has to been studied.

ha ha trust me you re not the only one that feels that way about caribbean spanish they drop consonants like crazy s and d are not pronounced and the r is pronounced like a l at the end of the word ,ex, fresco becomes freco cansado =cansao

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Except for the r/l The rest are changes that are very usual in many places, all across the Spanish-speaking world.
“Cansao” por “cansado” is normal in all places in informal speech. It’s the equivalent of English speaking pronouncing “gonna” for “going to”.
As for the “s”, they are in fact not dropped but the quality of the vowels around compensate for it. I am from Andalucía and we do that consistently. It even happens in many other places. In fact, even in places where pronunce strong “s” at the end of sentences, they’re “dropped” in other parts, including Castille. Speakers themselves are not conscious but you get more “mimo” than “mismo” most of the time.
Again, they are not dropped. E.g. in this song, the singer (Andalucía) does not pronounce final "s"but I can tell when they are there, even that she includes it where she shouldn’t, namely, at the end of “besaste”, “subiste”, soltaste, … that she pronounces as if they finished in an “s” that she doesn’t actually pronounce as such. Such an error (subistes for subiste), btw, is also common everywhere.
In general, final-syllable “s” in Spanish has several “allophones” (variants). It is similar to what happens in English with inter-vowel “t”, which is most of the time not pronounced as such and this is a general phenomenon, although the exact details and frequency vary. So, in American English such “t” (and “d”) are pronounced as flaps, whereas in many flavors of British English they are turned into global stops. Just as preconceptions in Spanish don’t let people really hear what’s been actually said. E…g. in this video (which is not bad in general) British vs American | English Pronunciation Lesson - YouTube they say that British speakers always pronounce “t” as “t”, when this is not the case at all. Nobody pronunces “bottle” with an actual “t” except in very formal settings.

In general, these preconceptions about who speaks better are false and very harmful for actual learning.

That is correct. In fact, at th time you can come across both variants. This is whay it poses no problem for a Spanish speaker to understand that “faccio” means “hago”. The youtuber had to think in terms of Portuguese to discover that because he’s not native, although I think he also mentions the old Spanish version of the word.
Another interesting fact is that in some countries (not here in Spain) modern speakers distinguish “hierro” and “fierro”, which are originally variants of the same word. “Hierro” would be “iron”, as usual, “fierro” iron ore.

This is where we need the “wow” emjoi on LingQ. Do you have a lingq to that singer?

I didnt’ understand all of your post due to some of the terminology but want to listen for more context.

Oh, I forgot to write the link, here you are:

But it’s just an example, it happens all the time. I don’t pronounce most coda “s” (s at the end of syllable) when I speak informally but you can tell that they’re stil there
In the song, cogiste, subiste, besaste, soltaste, etc. are pronounced with an “s” at the end, which is wrong, even if it’s not really an “s”. it’s the allophone of “s”, what can be either a soft aspiration or a change in the quality of the vowels. See if you can get it.
It’s the same phenomenon as in American English “can’t” or “wait”, etc., The final “t” but is usually not pronounced as such. You oould say that it’s dropped. Depending on your inclination you could even go balistic and start complaining about how Americans “garble” English. In fact that “t” is pronounced as “stop t”, an allophone of true t. Any speaker can still hear the difference clearly and many would even swear they pronounce it as a proper “s”:

Thanks. I’m going to take it is Gospel for the moment that carribeans are doing something equivalent to a stop “t” in English and try to listen for it.

In meantime, I plan to go ballistic on my fellow Americans after watching that video.

Ok, just remember that it is not the same, it’s another variation., either a slight aspiration or a more open vowel or both. What you can be absoutely sure of is that, e.g., nobody pronounces “freco” for “fresco”, just as if it had no “s”. That would sound absolutely strange.
Good luck!

Oh, and going back to @ktjoseph: although pronouncing “l” for “r” is typical of the Caribbean, the reverse phenomenon can be found in other dialects, e.g. in some parts of Andalucia.
Another fun fact: among the surrounding countries, the most famous feature of the Dominican accent is the pronunciation of trilld r’s the French way!!! Not everybody does that but you do hear it. It’s probably Haitian infuence. In Venezuela they often say, in jest:
“Hepública dominicana”