If you didn't know a word of Spanish, but you knew how to pronounce it, the following would instantly make sense to you:
[Captions 22 and 37, Carli Muñoz > Niñez]
Listen to our interview with musician Carli Muñoz and you'll hear him wowed. Yes, he says: "¡Guau!" (pronounced as the English "Wow") twice in our four-minute segment. The spelling of "guau" is good to keep in mind when pronouncing other Spanish words that start with "Gua...." Two famous ones are geographic locations: the oft-sung Guantanamera (
click here for a popular performance) and the infamous Guantánamo. If you're like many North Americans (like, say, Harold and Kumar), you may pronounce the latter "Gwan-TAN-a-mo," with the initial "G" audible (or you may just use the nickname "Gitmo"). But if you listen to native Spanish speakers, that initial "G" is so soft it all but disappears and the "W" sound is much clearer. (Here's one example we found to illustrate.)
Before we move on, here are two more lines to decipher based on your knowledge of Spanish pronunciation:
¡Ja ja ja!
Stumped? The first is an events-listing website in Buenos Aires, which makes sense when you remember that "V" often sounds like "B" throughout the Spanish-speaking world and "Z" sounds like "S" in Latin America. You see, the unique URL
buenosaires.com must have already been taken when the edgier vuenosairez.com (aka vuenoz.com) set up shop.
The second line is laughing, pronounced "Ha ha ha!," but with a more guttural "H" than we typically use in English. Remember, in Spanish, "H" is always silent, while "J" sounds closest to the "ch" of Scotland, Wales or Germany (as in Achtung, baby.) But a good memory aid is that "J"s approximate the "H" of English, and so "je je" sounds like "heh heh" and "ji ji" sounds like "hee hee." For a few more, click here.