>Save me from Salvador

>I have trouble pronouncing some things in Spanish. And when I say “trouble pronouncing” it’s not like I can’t say them at all…but when I say them my gringa accent REALLY comes through. These words generally involve a combination of the “rr’ sound with the “r” sound (like Rodrigo or Irarrázaval) or a vowel plus “l” (like sol or mal).

There is one word though, that Chileans simply don’t understand when I say it. And it sucks because I have to say it a lot.


Guess where I live? On a street off Avenida Salvador. Every time I have to take a taxi I have to say that word, and every time the taxista looks at me quizzically and can’t figure out what I’m saying. One time I even had to spell it for him

Also, I lived in El Salvador for three months, and often when people ask me where I learned Spanish, I answer, “El Salvador”. But they don’t understand me. So now I just usually say “Acá en Chile” to make things more simple, unless I’m talking to someone I care about forming a relationship with.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to say this word. Perhaps because the empahsis is on a different syllable in Spanish than how we pronounce it in English (salvaDOR vs. SALvador). Also, I have a hard time rolling my r’s at the end of words, and at the beginning we have the famous vowel plus “l” combination that is so tricky for me.

I actually thought I was getting better at pronouncing it (compared to when I first started studying abroad) but last night I hopped in the cab, told him where to drop me off and he remained silent for a few minutes before pulling away from the curb. I asked if everything was okay. He said, “Sí, sí, solo es que….Sucre con…ahhh! Salvador me dijiste?” Yes, I did say Salvador.

Or at least I tried.


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