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English Words with Spanish Pronunciation in Latin America?

Published September 26, 2021 in Learning Spanish & Portuguese , Mexico - 0 Comments

In my first year in Mexico City, I remember walking down Reforma Avenue of Mexico City with a chick I know named Angie.

It was late at night as we were walking back to my apartment by Metro Station Juanacatlan after having checked out some bars in the area.

As we were walking back, I remember messing with her in a way she found funny.

Where, as we were talking, I’d pronounce certain English words as if they were Spanish words.

With Spanish pronunciation and all.

I remember saying something about Subway and McDonalds but that was it.

Probably some other things too that I said jokingly.

But the stuff I was saying would be basic sentences like “te gusta Subway?”

Or “tengo hambre. Quiero comer en McDonalds.”

Where, when it came time to say Subway or McDonalds, I’d pronounce those two words with a Spanish style pronunciation.

And Angie thought it was funny and correcting me on how to say it – with the English pronunciation.

Still, it’s a silly topic, no?

After all, NOBODY down here pronounces English words with Spanish pronunciation?

Or do they?

“Can I have some ROOF-les, por favor?”

So, about an hour ago today, I went outside to get a bottle of brandy for the night.

El Presidente specifically.

After all, I’m the President of Mexico, motherfucker.

Anyway, as I stepped outside, something hit my eye and it stung for about a minute.

Not sure what the fuck it was but it’s the second time now that I’ve had my eye feel some weird minor burning sensation when walking outside.

I have no fucking idea why Lindavista of Mexico City has cursed me with some spell to fuck with my eyes.

I have no idea what it is but the weird sensation lasts for about a minute and that’s it.

Anyway, I walked over to the nearby OXXO to get the brandy for the night as I plan on having a drink to the Joker movie that you can see here.

I heard it’s good but I only just got around to purchasing it.

So we’ll see.

Anyway, walking back, I decide to also buy a small bag of chips at some small corner shop run by this dude.

Who, thankfully, doesn’t try to gringo price me or anything so I prefer buying what I can from him to support a small business owner than the larger chain spots.

If he had brandy, I would’ve bought that also from his store.

But what kind of chips did I get?

Take a wild guess!

He definitely didn’t know!

As I’m standing outside the window checking out the bags of chips he has, there’s a small section of them that I can’t see well because they’re blocked by some other products.

So I ask him in Spanish “tienes Ruffles?”

Ruffles is what I wanted!

And he looks at the bag of chips and goes “que?”

“Hmmm…What is this mysterious bag of chips that I’ve never heard of? He thinks.

And I say it again a few more times but he’s not understanding what “Ruffles” is.

Now, keep in mind, I’m pronouncing Ruffles how it should be in the English pronunciation of the word.

But it’s not clear to him what I’m asking for.

Then, having been through this before with a few Latinos, I decide to change it up a bit.

Where I pronounce the word “ruffles” but in a more Spanish pronunciation style.

It’s hard to know how to type out what that means for those who don’t speak Spanish.

Ruff becomes more like ROOF.

Similar to what a dog sounds like?

And les and…

Uhhh les?

If that makes sense.

ROOF les!

And, with the blessings of the Aztec and Catholic gods, the dude figured it out on the first pronunciation of ROOF les.

“AHH ROOF LES!” he says as he grabs a bag of them.

Unfortunately, it was the chedder version of them and I asked if he had anything else.

He picks out another bag and asks “this one?”

It worked!

Here’s a picture of it for those who don’t know what ROOF les looks like.

Maybe I have some reader in a country where they don't sell it?

Anyway, it was 14 pesos for the ROOF les and he asked me “where are you from?” in Spanish after I paid.

Usually, I say Russia because I don’t want a local turning me into a English practicing dildo but, because I like the guy and he seems nice, I said the US.

We made some small chat from there and then I carried on.

What’s the point though of this little story?

The Point

It’s honestly not that big of a deal.

Just a very minor point to remember when interacting with some Latinos down here in Latin America.

In which, when interacting with someone, you might want to remember to, once in a blue moon, pronounce a certain English word by Spanish style pronunciation rules.

For 99% of my interactions down here, it’s not necessary though.

Most folks know how to pronounce the words “McDonalds,” “Subway,” and “Ruffles.”

So I encourage you to stick to how it should be pronounced at first so you don’t sound like a complete idiot pronouncing “McDonalds” as “McDonALDS” or however I’d type that out to make the point.

Anyway, once in a blue moon, you might encounter a rare Latino down here who, for some reason, pronounces a certain word differently than how we pronounce it in the US.

Like in the example with the Ruffles story above, you might want to remember that changing the pronunciation could help that rare local understand you a tiny bit easier.

Second, also keep in mind that it could be that said Latino is pronouncing a English word with Spanish pronunciation rules and you are confused at what he is saying.

In this article I wrote here, there was one Mexican dude I met at my previous apartment in Roma Norte just like that!

Where he was pronouncing the word “Illinois” a bit differently than how folks in the US pronounce it.

Asking me if I have been there.

In that scenario, I was listening to the guy repeat “Illinois” but I genuinely didn’t know what he was saying until it clicked in my head to take the word he was trying to say and spell it out in my head by how he is pronouncing it.

With the way people pronounce things in Spanish, I guestimated that he was trying to say “Illinois” and I was right!

Still, as I said, this is just a minor thing to keep in mind because most Latinos will know how to pronounce more common words like McDonalds.

It’s not a big mystery.

From my minimal observations on this, my best guess would be that those who respond better to pronouncing English words with Spanish pronunciation rules are Latinos who are either considerably older and/or have very minimal experience dealing with foreigners.

Or those who consume very little content or products made from the US or wherever.

Maybe some random dude in a small town of rural Nicaragua?

Versus the dude from Polanco, Mexico City who takes his occasional trip to the US on vacation and has family up there.

One is a little more likely to not have a minor communication problem on this topic.

Though, as I said, both are not likely to have much issue but it’s not completely uncommon to see down here in Latin America.

Anyway, that’s all I got to say.

Going to make some dinner (chicken and rice) and check out that Joker movie next with the world's best drink: black tea & brandy.

Follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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