Saturday, February 24, 2024

Pronunciation Information to Spanish Vowels, Diphthongs, Triphthongs and Hiatuses


Like in English, Spanish vowels are important for forming phrases and sentences. 

They’re additionally generally pronounced incorrectly by Spanish learners.

Whereas they appear the identical as our English vowels (a, e, i, o, u and generally y), they’re pronounced in a different way. 

On this put up, you’ll be taught all about Spanish vowels and their pronunciations.

You’ll additionally get to know vowel combos known as diphthongs, triphthongs and hiatuses in Spanish, with loads of examples so that you can see them in motion.


The Fundamentals of Spanish Vowels

Spanish has 5 vowels: a, e, i, o and u. We even have y (known as i griega or “Greek i” in Spanish).

Students don’t fully agree on whether or not y is a vowel or not, so relying on the supply, you will discover it underneath the vowel listing or listed individually as a semi-consonant. For the needs of this put up, we’ll deal with it as a vowel.

Spanish vowel Examples
a agua
(water), amigo
 (male buddy), antes
 (earlier than)
e este
(this/East), enero
(January), elemento
i isla
(island),  independiente
(unbiased), invisible
o otro
(one other), océano
(ocean), oscuro
u uno
(one), universidad
(college), uvas
y rey
(king), hoy
(immediately),  convoy

As you possibly can see (or hear), Spanish and English vowels are pronounced in a different way. Even in phrases which can be written precisely the identical, they sound totally different in every language.

And in contrast to in English, Spanish vowels are all the time pronounced the very same approach. This video from Butterfly Spanish can assist you excellent your pronunciation of Spanish vowels:

Ideas for Announcing Spanish Vowels

Native English audio system studying Spanish have a tendency to provide their “English contact” to Spanish vowels. Many instances they even change the sound fully, making a non-existent phrase or producing one other Spanish phrase altogether.

Listed below are a few of the most vital issues to recollect to be able to enhance your pronunciation of Spanish vowels. 

1. All Spanish vowels are all the time pronounced the identical approach.

It doesn’t matter if the syllable is careworn or not or if the vowel has an accent mark. The sound stays the identical.

Their size can also be all the time the identical, whether or not they seem initially or finish of a phrase, between consonants, earlier than a double consonant or anyplace else within the phrase.

Take heed to the next phrases and pay particular consideration to the vowels. Attempt to repeat every phrase after the native speaker:

Spanish vowel Examples
a casa
(home), academia
 (academy), abanico
e detergente
(detergent), especie
(species), espejo
i misionero
(missionary),  indigente
(indigent), difícil
o horóscopo
(horoscope), odontólogo
(odontologist), tocino
u cuscús
(couscous), zulú
(Zulu), burbuja

2. You will need to pronounce all of the vowels in a phrase.

And all of the letters besides h, for that matter. There are not any silent vowels in Spanish, besides within the case of the exception beneath. If there’s a vowel in a phrase, pronounce it:

(bat), destornillador
(screwdriver), ayuntamiento
 (metropolis council)

There’s one exception: If a phrase incorporates the letters que, qui, gue or gui, the u is silent:

(cheese), pesquisa
(inquiry), guerra
(battle), guisante

3. Don’t “diphthongize” Spanish vowels.

As acknowledged in level one, every vowel has its personal distinctive sound, and it by no means adjustments. Don’t add a distinct vowel sound to the tip of a vowel. For instance:

Say no
 as a substitute of /noh-uh/

Say universidad
 as a substitute of /ew-nee-ver-see-dad/

Say comer
 as a substitute of /kow-mer/

4. All the time learn i as “ee.”

Pronounce it such as you would say the ee in “see.” That is true irrespective of how you’d learn the phrase in English:

(biography), micrófono
(microphone), wifi

5. The vowel u all the time seems like “oo.”

That is just like the u in “brute.” By extension, the diphthong eu is all the time pronounced as “eh-oo.”

(universe), unísono
(unison), Europa

Announcing Spanish Vowel Combos

Vowels don’t all the time seem by themselves between consonants. You’ll usually discover Spanish phrases which have two or three vowels collectively in a row. When two or extra vowels seem collectively, we get a diphthong, a triphthong or a hiatus. 

Spanish Vowel Diphthongs 

Merely put, a diphthong varieties when two vowels are mixed right into a single syllable. The sound begins on the primary vowel, after which progressively strikes towards the sound of the second vowel. Some examples in English may be discovered within the phrases “loud,” “foil,” “boy” and “say.”

Spanish diphthongs can solely be shaped if we have now a minimum of one unaccented weak vowel (i or u) along with one other vowel. The pronunciation of the vowels in a diphthong isn’t totally different from the pronunciation of every vowel individually.

Diphthongs are available in many varieties. Under you’ll discover an alphabetical listing of Spanish diphthongs so you possibly can see them in motion. Apply saying them out loud and attempt to give you extra examples in the event you can.

Diphthong Rationalization Examples
ai/ay Do not forget that we’re treating y as a vowel on this put up, and extra exactly as a weak vowel. bailar
(to bounce), aire
 (air), vainilla

(there’s/are), espray
 (spray), ¡ay!

au This diphthong seems like “ah-oo.” aumento
(enhance), cautela
(warning), auténtico
ei/ey Similar as with ai/ay, we deal with the y as a weak vowel. peinar
(to comb),  reina
(queen), aceite

(king),  ley
(regulation), virrey

eu This one seems like “eh-oo.” deuda
(debt), reunión
(assembly), neutral
ia By no means confuse the diphthong ia with the mixture ía, which will probably be handled within the hiatuses part. piano
(piano), novia
(girlfriend), comedia
ie/ié It would not matter if the sturdy vowel (a, e or o) within the diphthong has an accent mark. So long as the weak vowel is unaccented, the diphthong continues to exist. fiera
(wild beast), tierra
(land/soil), mrcoles
io/ió Once more, this diphthong exists with or with out an accent on the o, which is the sturdy vowel. avn
(aircraft), diosa
(goddess), tedioso
iu This and ui are diphthongs shaped by the 2 weak vowels.

Since Spanish solely has one careworn vowel in every phrase, this mixture will all the time be a diphthong it doesn’t matter what, as a result of every time the second weak vowel will probably be unstressed.

(widow), ciudad
(metropolis), diurno
(daytime [adjective])
oi/oy These each sound like “oh-e,” just like the sound of “oy” within the English phrase “boy.” boina
(beret), heroico
(heroic), estoico

(immediately), soy
(I’m), voy
(I am going/I am going)

ou There are just a few phrases in Spanish containing the diphthong ou, and nearly all of them have been borrowed from different languages. Lourdes
([female name]), gourmet
(gourmand), soufflé
ua This one seems like “oo-ah.” agua
(water), cuatro
(4), actuar
(to behave)
ue This one makes a “oo-eh” sound. fuego
(fireplace), acuerdo
(settlement), bueno
ui/uy That is the opposite mixture of two weak vowels, and as with iu, it’ll all the time type a diphthong it doesn’t matter what. circuito
(circuit), juicio
(trial), intuir
(to sense)

(very), ¡uy!
(oh!/ow!), cuy
(guinea pig)

uo This one seems like “oo-oh.” antiguo
(historical), monstruo
(monster), residuo

Spanish Vowel Triphthongs 

Now that we all know all of the attainable diphthong combos in Spanish, let’s take a look at triphthongs. Triphthongs are shaped when we have now three consecutive vowels in the identical syllable, if and provided that:

1. The 2 outer vowels are weak (i.e. i or u)

2. The central vowel is powerful (i.e. a, e or o)

3. Not one of the weak vowels are accented

If these three guidelines are noticed, we have now a triphthong. Triphthongs are approach much less widespread than diphthongs in Spanish, and though there’s quite a lot of them, the identical small group tends to look extra usually than the remaining.

When saying a triphthong, pronounce the three vowels so as of look, stressing the center one. Listed below are just a few examples: 

Triphthong Rationalization Examples
iai/iái As with many of the Spanish triphthongs, this one usually seems in conjugated verbs. On this case, it is most frequently seen within the second individual plural of the current indicative and the current subjunctive. liais
(you all roll), riais
 (that you just all snigger, subjunctive)

(you all change), aspreciáis
 (you all recognize)

iei/iéi These combos are current primarily within the second individual plural of the current indicative and the current subjunctive. lieis
(that you just all roll [subjunctive]), guieis
(that you just all information, subj.)

(that you just all change, subj.), apreciéis
(that you just all recognize, subj.)

uay/uái Right here we have now a mixture of nouns, adjectives and the second individual plural of the current tense. Uruguay
(Uruguay),  Paraguay
(Paraguay), ¡guay!

(you all discover out),  apaciguáis
(you all appease)

uéi/üéi These are primarily current within the second individual plural of the current subjunctive of the verbs included within the group above. averigüéis
(that you just all discover out, subj.), apacigüéis
(that you just all appease, subj.), behavioruéis
(that you just all get used to, subj.)
Different There are different triphthongs within the Spanish language, however they don’t seem to be so widespread as to create a bunch with them. Listed below are just a few with some examples. uey: buey
uau: guau
iau: biaural

Spanish Vowel Hiatuses 

A hiatus is principally the alternative of a diphthong and exists when two vowels are collectively however they belong to 2 separate syllables. Consecutive vowels may be in two syllables as a result of the vowels are each weak or sturdy, or as a result of the weak vowel is the careworn one within the phrase.

As soon as once more, the pronunciation of those vowels is invariable, irrespective of which letter carries the stress. To pronounce hiatuses accurately, you merely learn them as they’re written. For instance, within the phrase había
we pronounce the careworn i after which the a, so it seems like “ah-bee-a” (stress on bee).

Hiatuses may be divided into a number of varieties, however to be able to simplify issues, we’ll use a broad division consisting of solely two teams:

1. Easy hiatuses

These include two sturdy vowels or two weak vowels:

Hiatus Examples
aa Aarón
 (Aaron), azahar
(orange blossom) *Do not forget that the h is silent, so we faux it is not there.
ae/aé caer
(to fall), cae
(he/she/it’ll fall), reo
ao/aó caoba
(mahogany),  cacao
(cocoa), ctico
ea fea
(ugly, female), azotea
(rooftop), berrear
(to howl/to scream)
ee creer
(to consider), dehesa
(meadow/pasture), poseer
(to own)
eo/eó feo
(ugly, masculine), ateo
(atheist), trico

ii/ií frsimo
(very chilly), antiinflamatorio
oa okoala
(koala), loar
(to reward), anchoa
oe/oé áloe
(aloe), héroe
(hero), coetáneo
oo/oó cooperación
(cooperation), zoológico
(zoo), l
(he/she/it praised)
uu duunvirato

2. Accentual hiatuses

These happen when one of many weak vowels of what was speculated to be a diphthong is accented. The careworn vowel will all the time have an accent mark to be able to sign that the diphthong has been damaged:

Hiatus Examples
 (vigor), ps
(nation), judsmo
(trunk/chest), atd
(coffin), n
(caffeine),  incrble
(unbelievable), protna
(he/she/it gathers), transnte
(passer-by), fra
ía The imperfect tense of all -er and -ir verbs:

(I/he/she/it used to eat/was consuming)
(there was/was)
(we all know/used to know)

íe Many verbs within the 2nd and third individual of the current tense and the 2nd and third individual of the current subjunctive:

te ríes
(you snigger)
se ríe
(he/she/it laughs)
(that you just elevate, subjunctive)

ío río
(river), mío
(mine), crío
(rainbow), do
(ear), egsta
úa All verbs ending in -uar within the 2nd and third individual singular and the third individual plural of the current tense:

(you elevate)
(he/she/it acts)
(they/you all proceed)

úe All verbs ending in -uar in all of the individuals besides the first and 2nd plural of the current subjunctive:

(that you just elevate, subj.)
(that he/she/it acts, subj.)
(that they/you all proceed, subj.)

úo All verbs ending in -uar within the 1st individual singular of the current tense:

(I consider)
(I suggest/insinuate)
(I act)


This put up incorporates quite a lot of info, however don’t get overwhelmed! Simply attempt to be taught the few guidelines introduced and use the examples for apply. 

To get used to them, take heed to vowels in context. Spanish music, motion pictures and different audio or video assets are an effective way to get uncovered to Spanish vowels. 

Language studying applications with multimedia options can even assist familiarize you with vowels and correct enunciation. For instance, FluentU allows you to take heed to and be taught from quick Spanish movies geared up with interactive subtitles.

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FluentU brings native movies inside attain with interactive transcripts. You possibly can faucet on any phrase to look it up immediately. Each definition has examples which were written that can assist you perceive how the phrase is used. Should you see an fascinating phrase you don’t know, you possibly can add it to a vocab listing.


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