3 Business English Words that are Sooo Hard for Spanish & Portuguese Speakers!

Learning how to pronounce the English alphabet can be hard enough for many Spanish speakers, but when tough English letters are found in even tougher business English words, it can get even more difficult!

Below are 3 of the toughest common business English words for Spanish speakers to pronounce and some tips on how to pronounce them.  Read, listen, and practice so you can sound confident when speaking in English while using even the most difficult business English words!

1. "Brevity" ("la brevedad"/"a brevidade"):

Why it’s hard: The combination of the /br/ at the beginning and the /v/ in the middle makes this a very difficult word for Spanish speakers!  It is tough to shift from the “bilabial” (two lips) /b/ to the labial-dental (lip-teeth) /v/.

Listen up and practice!

When you might use it: To talk about the length of project, presentation, or report. For example:

  • Brevity is our watchword!” (or, Always keep it short!)
  • “Let’s err toward the side of brevity!” (or, Let’s risk making it too short rather than too long!)

 

2. "Strategy" ("la estrategia"/"a estratégia")

Why it’s hard: The /str/ combo, the t/ in the middle syllable, and the /g/ at the end make this word tough!  The /g/ actually sounds like /j/, but Spanish speakers still have to focus hard on enunciating it.

Listen up and practice!

When you might use it: To discuss the plans and vision of your company or the approach you might take for a project.

  • “We need to create a strategy before we move forward.” (e.g. Let’s make a plan first!)
  • “Let’s strategize about the right course of action to take!”

 

3. "Methodology" ("la metodologia"/"a metodologia")

Why it’s hard: The /th/ can be a tricky sound for Spanish speakers, especially when it’s in the middle of the word.  Also, we have the pesky /g/ → /j/ sound too!  But the stress is what really trips up Spanish speakers: the emphasis needs to go on the 3rd syllable: me-tho-DO-lo-gy.

Listen up and practice!

When you might use it: To talk about the way you do something or the processes used during a specific type of task.

  • “We need to make sure to apply this methodology to creating all of our products.” (e.g. Let’s make sure we do things the same way every time!)
  • “I think we can revise our methodology to reduce our costs!” (e.g. If we change something up in our process, then our costs will go down!).

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