Focus on Pronunciation

September 21st, 2010

Listen Up, All You Spanish Speakers!

My last post reminded me of a very important topic to bring up.  It is the all-too typical Spanish pronunciation of the word focus. At the Lake Tahoe Institute of English we hear a serious mis-pronunciation of this word with nearly all of our Spanish-speaking clients, and this mis-pronunciation is very, very bad.

Focus is a very popular word in business jargon at the moment – it’s used in every other sentence, it seems.  The focus of the project is this, we need to focus our attention on that, our team focus is X, etc., etc., etc..

Properly pronounced the first O in the word focus is pronounced with a long O sound, like ohhh, or like the sound of the letter O.

This is Very, Very Bad

However, way too many Spanish speakers of English pronounce it with the short U sound, very clearly and distinctly saying fuck-us.

Don’t do this.  I’m telling you. This is very, very bad. Of all the pronunciation errors that are charming or interesting, this is not one.  O.  Practice the long O sound.  Like fold or open or mow, no, go.  No U sounds, please, or you’ll have all the native English speakers in hysterics!

One Response to “Focus on Pronunciation”

  1. Accent reduction is a long tedious process that some people never learn in their lifetime. I find the older the person is, the more ingrained their native accent is in the target language.
    I am learning Spanish at the moment and have a hard time getting my tongue around some of the words, especially the one’s with ll in it.

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