Everything’s connected…like LEGO, Batman, Robin…and Spanish pronunciation.
My wife and I saw The LEGO Batman Movie last week. I wasn’t expecting to write about it—until the Batman-Robin relationship became a father-son thing and spoke Spanish.
I’m ever-curious about how non-natives learn Spanish pronunciation, so I wondered how Batman (Will Arnett) and Robin (Michael Cera) learned how to say these words:
How much listening and repeating did they do, if any? Did anyone assess their pronunciation?
I did some research and suspect that Batman cared less about Spanish pronunciation than Robin did. Could be that Arnett speaks Spanish well but decided to go with sloppy and irrelevant content in this video to make the movie introduction funnier. He succeeded. Cera had already studied Spanish and lived with a family in Chile, where he performed in Crystal Fairy.
I can’t speak for how Batman or Robin learned Spanish pronunciation, but I can tell you that in high school Spanish class I was no phonics superhero. I probably heard and saw words, even got tutorials on how the letters were supposed to be pronounced.
And in college, during a semester in Spain (thanks, Dad and Mom), I heard a lot more Spanish than I saw in a textbook. But no matter how much I saw or heard stateside or in Spain, I didn’t realize I was distracting or even amusing native Spanish speakers with my mispronunciation. Not until years later.