I like to think that I make an extraordinary effort to not be lazy and speak foreign languages with my so-called "Valley girl" accent (I've lived on the East coast all my life, by the way).
Please take a moment to listen to a clip of me reading an excerpt from elmundo.es by Fran Marti'nez. Do I just sound like an American speaking Spanish? Am I on my way to sounding more like a hispanohablante de verdad? Let me know in my Comments section or @gsossa.
Here is the link to the article's text.
Here is the link to my reading of the article. (Sorry, I didn't know how to upload audio to the internet before posting this!)
Check out how I try to slip in some German pronunciation in "Brandenburgo." Ha! I crack myself up.
Oh, and please notify me of any other mistakes or oddities you hear. Well, I am reading from a Spanish-language newspaper so I hope there aren't any grammatical errors or anything like that!
Well, I believe I have the guttural down in German, pronounce the "gl" digraph in Italian with some ease, and I try to always stress the first syllable with Finnish words. I still have trouble rolling my "r"s with ease in Spanish which is funny because that is the language I have been learning the longest.
I didn't have any particular desire to start learning Spanish other than probably just trying to take the same foreign language class that I thought most people in my high school freshman class were taking. It was a bumpy ride at first but I became shockingly adept at picking up the language once I started my second, consecutive year in high school.
I suppose that my accent influence first came from Eros Ramazzotti. My second-year Spanish teacher played "La cosa mas bella" from his "Donde hay mu'sica" album and I instantly fell in love with the song. I bought the album as soon as possible. Years later, I picked up the Italian version of the album, "Dove c'e' musica." And, so, I came to realize that ol' Eros was un italiano de verdad; I soon wondered how his new accent was affecting mine.
I lived in a dorm all through undergrad and for the most part I lived with a roommate from Ecuador who was always speaking Spanish (often enough, by her suggestion/my request!). At the same time, I lived with a constant flow of international students who spoke many languages, nonetheless many types of Spanish. Though accent and vocabulary differences seemed the most obvious between los hispanohablantes de Espania y los hispanohablantes de every other country, I still realized through all of the chit-chat that there was no such thing as one kind of Spanish.
My method of learning has been a mishmash of strategies and serendipity and one must at some point in the process be happy that so many Spanish-language learning materials--from a local Spanish-language newspaper to a grammar workbooks--are available. All politics aside, they're there, so take advantage if you can!