Spanish Pronunciation used in Spain I have heard there are some difference in pronunciation used in Spain in Europe from other countries, and I would like to know how they pronounce certain things: 1. "z, c, s" -- I heard it is pronounced like "th." So would "lápiz" be pronounced like "lapith," izquierda like "ithquierda," and cinco like "thinco," and seis like "theis?" Which is right, and which is wrong? 2. "ll" -- I have heard it is pronounced like a y and then someone else tells me it's like "zy." So is castillano pronounced like "castiyano" or "castizyano?" 3. "g, j" -- I just don't know. I know it's similar to the English "h," but there still is a big difference. What is it? 4. "y" -- I have always thought "y" in Castillian Spanish was just like the English "y," but I just heard someone say "yo" like "zyoh." How is it pronounced in Spain? 5. Are there any other pronunciation difference used in Spain only? What would those be? Thanks!
Mar 16, 2014 4:31 AM
Answers · 7
-The different pronunciations of "y" and "ll" have nothing to do with the dichotomy Europe/America. There are areas keeping the distinction between ll and y both in Spain and Latin America, and there are different pronunciations of "y" on both sides. When "ll" and "y" are kept different, "ll" sounds similar to the "lli" in "million" but pressing the tongue against the palate so that there is only one sound and not just ll+i. Anyway the pronunciation of "y" (and ll when both sounds are made indistinct) in Spain is not usually very different from the usual Latin American pronunciation, sometimes it sounds like the y in "yes" and sometimes like a slight version of the j in jacket. You'll find more difference in Argentinian Spanish, where both y and ll can sound like the -su- in leisure or even like the sh in show. -J and g before e, i are pronounced as a harsh sound made in the throat, a velar fricative sound similar to German ch in Bach, in most of Spain and part of Latin America (a lot of Mexico, for example). For other people it's a slight aspiration like English h.
March 16, 2014
No pronunciation is right or wrong, just Spain has a different pronunciation Standard from Latin America, and even among Latin American countries there are differences. Actually there are also differences within Spain, but there is a standard European Spanish pronunciation which is similar to the one in Northern Castile. -Z and c before e and i are pronounce like the "th" in English "think" in most of Spain (there are areas in Andalusia where that does not happen). It does not cover the pronunciation of s. There is a distinction between s, which is just pronounced s, and on the other hand z/c, which is pronounced interdental like think. So in most of Spain "cazar" (to hunt) and "casar" (to marry) or "serrar" (to saw) and "cerrar" (to close) are pronounced differently, while in Latin America they're pronounced the same. So it's Latin America that has lost the distinction. Apart from this z/s distinction and the presence of the th sound, the European Spanish "s" sounds a bit different. The Latin American "s" is similar to the English one, while the European "s" sounds in between "s" and "sh" and is made by pointing the tip of the tongue directly to the roof of the mouth (it's an "apical" s : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apical_consonant ).
March 16, 2014
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