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Old 27th September 2010, 05:37 PM   #1
sdrawkcab
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Heya,
I'm getting back into Spanish after a bit of a hiatus; there a number of pronunciation issues that I never managed to get my head round.

1. how does one pronounce words with 'cc' in (like acción, elección etc.) Is it "ak-see-on" or "as-sion"? (using Latin American pronunciation here).

2. How about words like leer, creer (to read)? Is this like English (so it rhymes with 'ear') or more like "le-er"??

3. I am also wondering about words like India, Bolivia, Colombia. Using the 'stress the penultimate syllable if it ends in a vowel' rule one would stress the last i whihc sounds strange to my English ear. Are they pronounced like English or with the stress on the second i?

4. Finally I am wondering about when vowels are followed by an 'r' (i.e. andar, comer etc. In English the 'r' usually changes the sound ie. makes it a long 'aa' in far, ajar etc. or with 'or' it chnages to an 'aw' sound. Is this the same in Spanish or is more like French where the vowel is basically the same but with an 'r' at the end?

any help much appreciated,
Dom
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Old 28th September 2010, 03:50 AM   #2
Uriel
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1. ks, not ss

2. lay-air, cray-air

3. I think the stress is on the same syllables as in English

4. It's not the same semi-vocalic R-sound that we have, so it doesn't color the vowel before it -- it's more like a D.
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Old 28th September 2010, 05:30 PM   #3
Urgellenk
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Hello,

My advice is that you learn the Spanish pronunciation by listening to a native speaker, rather than trying to figure out how to write each word according to the English spelling rules. If that is not possible, some on-line dictionaries like the Spanish version of thefreedictionary.com provide the audio for many entries (http://es.thefreedictionary.com/).

It is true that lay-air or cray-air are the closest you can get in English for leer or creer, but they still sound different from the real Spanish pronunciation. That is true also for acción, where the first c is pronounced like a "k", but much softer than the English "k", and the second is pronounced in most of Spain in a similar manner as the "th" in "think", but again not exactly the same.

Finally, in words like India, Bolivia, Colombia, the stress falls on the penultimate syllable. In Spanish, the combination of a closed vowel (i, u) plus an open vowel (a, e, o) forms a diphthong, which means it is a single syllable. The diphthong is broken in some words like "iría", "simpatía", when the vowels are clearly pronounced in two different syllables, and the closed vowel takes a tilde.

I hope that helps.
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Old 29th September 2010, 12:59 AM   #4
1234
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hi Urgellenk,


for me i think it actually does help.


i've been wondering about the pronunciation of words like

dio

vio


i thought for a while they were irregulars, like "dijo”, where the i was stressed.

now it looks like, with the i and o as one syllable, there is no penultimate and the stress winds up more or less on the o, like

advirtió

sonrió.

i was wondering why some were accented and others not. maybe once and for all you could tell me, if it’s

dío

with the accented i, or

dió?

still a bit uncertain.



this would also clear up the difference between

italia

sabía

i thought these were separate treatments. but it looks like there’s pretty much one rule for the whole question.


thanks for the help.


joel
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Old 29th September 2010, 02:42 AM   #5
xan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrawkcab View Post
1. how does one pronounce words with 'cc' in (like acción, elección etc.) Is it "ak-see-on" or "as-sion"? (using Latin American pronunciation here).
c followed by "i" or "e" is soft, that is, pronounced like english "s" in spanish-speaking America, and like english "th" in Spain. Otherwise it is hard, like english "k". Your double c's above, following this rule, are hard "c" soft "c"
"aksion" or "akthion", if you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrawkcab View Post
2. How about words like leer, creer (to read)? Is this like English (so it rhymes with 'ear') or more like "le-er"??
"e" in spanish is always the same sound. "ee" is like "e", except twice as long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrawkcab View Post
3. I am also wondering about words like India, Bolivia, Colombia. Using the 'stress the penultimate syllable if it ends in a vowel' rule one would stress the last i whihc sounds strange to my English ear. Are they pronounced like English or with the stress on the second i?
You have learned some of the rules, but not all of the rules. "weak" vowels i and u are not considered syllables, just dipthongs. "ia" is one syllable. So the penultimate-syllable-when-ended-by-a-vowel rule gives you the same stress pattern on these words as in English.
this link, among others on the web, will give you the rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrawkcab View Post
4. Finally I am wondering about when vowels are followed by an 'r' (i.e. andar, comer etc. In English the 'r' usually changes the sound ie. makes it a long 'aa' in far, ajar etc. or with 'or' it chnages to an 'aw' sound. Is this the same in Spanish or is more like French where the vowel is basically the same but with an 'r' at the end?
You are making simple things complicated. vowels are pretty much aways pronounced the same.
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Old 29th September 2010, 02:43 PM   #6
sdrawkcab
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ok, thanks everyone - that clears that up.
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Old 29th September 2010, 08:18 PM   #7
ValenciaSon
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Leer and creer should be pronounced with a short e (like in the word bet), to put it in English terms, if pronounced as if to rhyme with air, it will yield the common mispronounciation shared by most english-speaking individuals when attempting to speak Spanish. Speaking Spanish with borrowed elements from English will likely divert the speaker away from the correct pronounciation and should be avoided, if you are going for authenticity in your pronounciation.
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Old 29th September 2010, 09:04 PM   #8
Urgellenk
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Hi,

Leer and creer are two-syllable words in Spanish and are neither pronounced with a short "e" nor with a long "e", but rather with two short "e". I agree with the rest of your post, though.
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