1. The Telephone Game
Get ready for a Spanish-style version of the classic game telephone! Gather three or more people in a circle and have one start off by whispering an exciting sentence in beautiful Español. It will then be passed around, whispered from ear to ear until it reaches its final destination - the last person who announces what they heard out loud to see how much has changed along the way.
Through a fun and entertaining game, you can not only bring out the laughter in a room but also discover your capabilities with regards to Spanish pronunciation. With changes and alterations made to an original sentence, it's easy enough for anyone to get their feet wet.
For example, after a few games, you may realize that the problems always start whenever you or one of your friends have to say a word containing the letter J. In English, this letter is always pronounced as the 〈dg〉 sound in ‘judge’.
In Spanish, however, J is a stronger, breathier version of H. As a result, English speakers may have trouble saying words like ajo (garlic): /aho/, and say /adg-o/ instead, which sounds just like the word hallo (“I find”).
2. Tongue Twisters
Tongue twisters are great for practicing difficult sounds, and they can also be a lot of fun! A tongue twister is a sequence of words that are difficult to say quickly, usually because they contain similar sounds.
In Spanish, there are tongue twisters for almost every sound in the language! This one, for example, is great for practicing the trill of the Spanish R which –as we anticipated in the introduction– is one of the most troublesome sounds in the Spanish language:
Un ratón borracho robó un ramo de rojas rosas,
A drunken mouse stole a bouquet of red roses,
el rabo se le enredó y rodó de rosa en rosa.
his tail got tangled up and rolled from rose to rose .
The Spanish R is one of the most distinct characteristics in comparison to English! It makes an incredibly vibrant, vibrating sound when trilled against the hard palate at initial position (ratón), after letter N (enredó) or next to another R (borracho). This can be heard throughout everything from music and TV shows - truly making it stand out among other languages.
If you are having trouble with this sound, practice this tongue twister over and over again until you sound like a purring cat or a child making the sound of a car motor!
3. Word Association Games
Word association games are a fun way to brush up on one's Spanish! With at least two players, it starts off with the first person suggesting an example - like 'casa' for house. The second then replies with something related (such as puerta for door) and from there all that is needed is your imagination; think of llave or key next? No problemo!
These games are great for practicing difficult words because they force you to think of the word in Spanish, rather than its English equivalent. They are also excellent for learning new vocabulary, as they help you become more familiar with common words and their different meanings. But with a little imagination, you can also turn it into a pronunciation game!
For example, if one of the players comes up with an appropriate word but makes a pronunciation mistake, the other players have the right to point that out and subtract half a point from their friend’s score.
Or –if you really want to take things to the next level– you can change the rules of the game completely and make it about phonetically related words. For example, if someone says the word “amor” (love), which ends in an R, the next person has to say a word beginning with that sound! (For some reason, rosa and ratón come to mind!)
4. Learn Spanish sounds with music.
Tap your feet and brush up on your language skills! Music can be a great way to add some extra fun - plus, it'll help you learn faster. Try looking for songs specifically designed with linguistic game-play in mind; the added challenge will keep your brain entertained as you become more proficient.