An Excellent Video of the Cuban Accent!

Confession time: I am Cuban American. And for the life of me, I can’t do a Cuban-American accent. 

TBF, I can’t do dialects. I have a half-baked Southern accent and a quarter-baked French accent I can’t sustain, and an intrepid-Victorian-scientist accent that doesn’t seem to come from any particular country. 🙂

I also don’t try to write accents into my stories very often. Too often, accents on the page look like caricatures, stereotypes, or at best cheap laughs.

9e2712eabe8d6426197042e15a690a7e

But the thing is, I love the Cuban accent. The way it swallows letters and contracts syllables makes it sound gentle, flowing, and friendly. And here I am, writing a novel with a ton of Cuban-American characters. How could I not represent that accent that surrounded me as I was growing up, at least a little?

Time to call in expert help. In this video, Matt Haynes breaks down what is happening in your mouth and to your tongue when you speak with a Cuban accent. Like he himself says in the video, this isn’t an exhaustive review of all the elements of  a Cuban accent. But his performance at the end of the video rings pretty darn true to my ear.

Best of all for me (with Claire’s help; she has a terrific ear!), I was better able to get something down on the page that kinda sorta looks like what I hear when I’m in Miami.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe is, among other things, a valentine to my Cuban-American heritage. Ignoring the accent that filled my ears as a kid would have redacted too many lines from that love-letter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s