Sometimes little things make a huge difference.
I was complaining to someone about how people walk along the pavement in Granollers, seeming to come straight at me, never giving way, forcing me to avoid them. My friend suggested I walk on the right-hand side of the pavement instead of the left and of course since then I have had no problems! People walk like they drive!
And when my Catalan teacher gave us a lesson on how to pronounce the letter ‘o’.
There are two ways, depending on whether the ‘o’ is in the stressed syllable or not.
If it is stressed then it sounds more like a familiar ‘o’ but if it is not, it sounds like the ‘oo’ in ‘food’.
This has totally transformed how I speak. It is so easy to understand and she didn’t confuse us with explanations of open and closed vowels. Suddenly it all fell into place.
I now realise how many words I was making a mess of.
Montseny – our local mountain – ‘oo’. The accent on the second syllable
Moltes gràcies – ‘o’ as in ‘lot’. The accent is on the first syllable
Montserrat – the womans name or the mountain – ‘oo’ because there is no stress on it. But the diminutive Montse is stressed on the first syllable and sounds like ‘o’ in ‘lot’.
Josep – how can I have been getting that one wrong for so long? It is not ‘Joesep’ but ‘Joosep’
Comprar – Accent on the last syllable so the ‘o’ is ‘oo’
I walked through the park with Bonnie one day practising all the words I could think of.
I even decided that when I next tell someone my name – Wilson – I should pronounce the unaccented ‘o’ as ‘oo’. Perhaps I can then avoid having to say it over and over and over again.