As a Spanish learner who didn't grow up listening to the tiny difference between similar groups like ta te ti to tu y da de di do du,pa pe pi po pu and ba be bi bo bu. It is not easy for me to hear and to speak the differences, but after training I may be able to speak them correctly. However, I need to think carefully before speaking it and I find that speaking the 'd' pairs is a bit harder and need more tongue movement. So my question is: how do people speak these words correctly when they speak Spanish fast, because there is no time to do the tongue movement with the right part of the mouth? Is it still important to speak these similar groups correctly when speaking Spanish fast, or is it hard to speak them accurately when they speak fast. I am not able to hear the differences between them at all when they speak fast!!

  • I understand it is a general question but do you have specific examples? If you give me some specific words we can analyze them a bit to explain you the differences.
    – Muttley75
    Apr 7 '14 at 3:02
  • just one example 'el funda una escuela' .'da' in the end of funda is a little harder and the tongue needs to change a bit to touch the part of mouth to speak than 'funta',do people need to slow their speed at this point when they speak this sentence fast? fun-'da' ,not like funta ,which is so natural to speak.
    – peter
    Apr 7 '14 at 4:10
  • When you say "funda" the tip of the tongue is between your teeth arching a bit between the teeth and the palate. When you say "funta" the tongue has a similar position but when you make the T sound you expel a bit of air (as in "Time"). But it is true that at speaking speed they sound close enough. I guess it all comes down to context and practice.
    – Muttley75
    Apr 7 '14 at 7:22
  • @Muttley75 I think a native speaker could never misunderstand "los vasallos pagan al condado" by "los vasallos pagan al contado", notwithstanding both sentences are contextually right. The sounds are very different Apr 9 '14 at 3:12
  • @belisarius Most probably not but in some cases it can happen. It is common to misheard lyrics in any language because of similar sounds and lack of context. But I agree with you that a native has developed with time both the pronunciation and ear to detect subtle variations.
    – Muttley75
    Apr 9 '14 at 6:51

D does take longer than the other sounds, which makes it more difficult to speak fast. People either:

1) Slow down for the "d" sounds. Used when speaking properly is more important than speed, like politicians.

2) Practice speaking fast so that their mouths can move faster and faster each time, like entertainers or radio djs.

3) Make a partial "d" sound as a compromise to speed, it won't sound perfect but people will understand you were speaking fast. Like somebody who was running to give urgent news to someone.

I always hated 1 and 3, so I practiced a lot until I could do it with amazing speed. I always felt it was worth it afterwards. However, if you're still learning the language, just slow down for "d" sounds and focus on more important aspects.

  • 1
    +1. I've been fluent for 13 years, but I still find myself having to compromise and do a partial "d" at times - especially when speed is most important, like when I'm interpreting. But I have actually practiced this quick d so that it sounds as good as it can under these circumstances, and with time it's gotten close to the real thing. But slowing down doesn't sound bad, so don't be afraid to slow your speech when necessary. Clarity is usually preferred to speed.
    – DoctorWhom
    Jun 10 '14 at 18:14

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