Com FORT ahbul. Comfortable. Yes, Com FORT ahbul. – Oh, How Uncomfortable!
There is one reason that I think it is so much easier to learn to speak Spanish than English; Spanish is a nearly perfect phonetic language. You can look at almost any word and know how to pronounce it. English on the other hand, while it has its rules it feels more like throwing a dart in the dark and hoping it lands somewhere within the vicinity of the pronunciation target. I feel for my students when they have a hard time with pronunciation; they are amazingly patient with themselves and thankfully, with me too.
Here’s how an exchange went during class the other day with one of my students, a very sweet woman:
ME: How can you describe the shirt?
(Students were practicing adjective order while describing clothes.)
SWEET STUDENT: Com FORT ahbul.
(If “comfortable” were a Spanish word, then it would be pronounced just as the student had pronounced it, with “fort” being stressed.)
ME: COMF turble.
(Correcting her pronunciation.)
SWEET STUDENT: Yes, com FORT ahbul.
(Answering the question she thought I asked to confirm what she had said.)
ME: Please repeat, “COMF turble.”
SWEET STUDENT: Comft ur tahBUL.
ME: Everyone repeat please, “COMF turble.”
STUDENTS: com/comf/comft tur/tare/ter ahbul/ahble /ahbel
THINKING TO MYSELF: You know what? Who cares if the stupid shirt is “COMF turah bul” or “com FORT ahbul” or even, “Comf tUR tahbul.” We shall for ever more avoid that awful adjective and for that matter, “umcomfortable” gets the ax too.