Analysis of Botella's speech

Source: You Tube (Efraim Diaz) Key words: botella inglés

A week has passed since the IOC didn't award the Olympics to Madrid.

Was it all the fault of "relaxing cup of coffee" speech?

The guy who wrote the by-now infamous speech, said that her English was "excellent, delightful and easy to understand".

I'm sure he has been paid good money to say that.

Coming up: an analysis of her pronunciation and intonation.

Thank you Ignacio, President Rogge,

Dear (1)IOC members, ladies and gentlemen.

I (2)had the chance to speak to many of you in private conversations and also in our presentations in (3)Saint Petersburg and Lausanne.

I must (4)say, I’d like to continue our (5)friendship, and frankly, I don’t want this to be our last chance to(6)speak to each other. So let me tell you a (5)little more about my beautiful hometown, (5)Madrid.

Madrid is one of the most comfortable, (7)charming and inviting cities in the (8)world. Just like all of Spain, Madrid is an amazing mixture of tradition. You can see, feel and taste the wonder of the Spanish culture in Madrid’s parks, its food, its arts and its architecture.

Perhaps, those of you who have visited Madrid share this feeling. We have been (7)working (9)hard for many years. So our guests, almost eight million each year, feel at home. 

And most importantly Madrid is (10)fun. The Olympic Games are not only a celebration of sport, they are also a celebration of life. And I assure you, no-one celebrates life like (6)Spanish people do.

There is nothing quite like a relaxing cup of café con leche in  Plaza Mayor or a (11)quaint, romantic dinner in Madrid de los Austrias – the oldest part of Madrid.

(5)These experiences, and so much more, are the (9)heart and soul of Madrid.

So later today, when you are (7)considering your choice for 2020, I hope you remember that in (5)addition to the best prepared plan, Madrid also offers you a city full of culture, fun and (7)welcoming people.

The magic of Madrid is real and we want to share (5)it with all of you.

Muchas gracias.


(1) Ok, maybe I'm being a little unfair here but the "O" sounded more like a "U".  It is essential that you learn the English alphabet.
(2) This sounded more like "have" to me. I suppose she meant "had".
(3) Perhaps I'm being unfair again. It's only a place name. I heard Spanish "San" , not English "Saint".
(4) This sounded more like "said" instead of "say". 
(5) The /ɪ/ sound causes huge problems for Spanish students. When you see  a single "i" in a word, you tend to say the longer /iː/ sound. You should use the short /ɪ/ sound.
  • friendship /ˈfren|d|.ʃɪp/      Compare: ship /ʃɪp/ and sheep /ʃp/
  • little /ˈlɪt.l̩/
  • Madrid 
  • it /ɪt/      Compare to eat /t/
  • these /ðz/           Compare to this /ðɪs/   
  • addition    /əˈdɪʃ.ən/ 
Practise the /I/ and /i:/ sounds here. Source: BBC Learning English

(6) A classic. Any word that begins with "s" isn't pronounced with the vowel sound /e/.

So /aɪ  espiːk  espæn.ɪʃ/     ✘     /aɪ  spiːk  spæn.ɪʃ/         

(7) The "ing"   /ɪŋ/  caused a few problems for Ana. Maybe it was the influence of her American "guru" but I wouldn't cut off the /ŋ/ so it sounds like /n/. It sounds lazy and I certainly wouldn't do it in a formal speech.

  • charming     /ˈtʃɑː.mɪŋ/
  • inviting      /ɪnˈvaɪ.tɪŋ/ 
  • amazing      /əˈmeɪ.zɪŋ/
  • feeling       /ˈfiː.lɪŋ/
  • working      /ˈwɜː.kɪŋ/
  • relaxing     /rɪˈlæk.sɪŋ/
  • welcoming    /ˈwel.kəm.ɪŋ/

(8) This wasn't a bad attempt at a tricky word. Practice the sounds /ɜː/   /l/   /d/ seperately and then try putting them together.

Compare word /wɜːd/ and world /wɜːld/ .

Try saying "the whole world" and "all over the world".

(9) Another classic. Don't pronounce "h" like the Spanish "j". It's a soft /h/ sound.

  • hard
  • heart
  • hello
  • hi
  • hotel
  • handsome

(10) This sounded more like fan  (abanico, ventilador).

Compare fun /fʌn/    /ʌ/ and  fan /fæn/  /æ/.

Practise the /ʌ/  /æ/  /e/  sounds here. Source: BBC Learning English

(11) At first, I thought she might be trying to say "quiet"  /kwaɪət/  but then I realized that she might have attempted "quaint"  /kweɪnt/. It's a word that American tourists would use to describe a beautiful, old place so I suppose it was her guru's choice of word.

OK, here is my attempt at Ana's speech. Not delivered with the same enthusiasm but there is an improvement in the intonation, IMO :-)


Roberto said…
Pronunciation "spanglish" style!. ¿What english level have Ana Botella?. She attended private schools...
Graham said…

It's true that her pronunciation can't disguise the fact that she is Spanish but to be fair, I could understand most of what she said.

Apart from the content, the worst thing for me was the intonation. It just made it all sound insincere.

I think it is a bit unfair all the criticism she received.

She learned the speech by heart whereas Rajoy read his speech in Spanish yet needed to look at his notes every two seconds.

What English level does
Ana Botella have?

Roberto said…
Botella sounds insincere,and Rajoy too!."You will know them by their fruits"(I don´t know if it´s well written).
Graham said…

I don't know what that saying means. I looked it up but can't find anything similar.
Roberto said…
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep´s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits".
Graham said…

You sound like a priest. Is that a quote from the Bible?
Roberto said…
Iñaki said…
I've read the post and I've listened the speech. I've been laughing for several minutes. It may be like "ver la paja en el ojo ajeno y no la viga en el propio", i.e., "seeing small defects of the others but ignore our own faults", but I can´t avoid it. Her pronunciation isn't very well, but what about her performance? Her gestures and her movements are marvellous. It seems, by her intonation, she's talking to a toddler. She could be a soap opera actress!

By the way, her husband is the only spaniard who speaks spanish with english texas accent (
Graham said…
Hi Iñaki,

It will be the speech that she is remembered for. If anyone else had given the speech, we would have praised them for making an effort to speak in English.

I've read the post and I've listened to the speech. I've been laughing for several minutes. It may be like "ver la paja en el ojo ajeno y no la viga en el propio", i.e., "seeing small defects of the others but ignoring our own faults", but I can´t help it. Her pronunciation isn't very good, but what about her performance?

By the way, her husband is the only Spaniard who speaks Spanish with a Texan accent.

Good to see you making use of the blog!