Thursday, February 22, 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 give the impression of being the identical as our English vowels (a, e, i, o, u and typically y), they’re pronounced otherwise. 

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

You’ll additionally get to know vowel combos referred to 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 (referred to as i griega or “Greek i” in Spanish).

Students don’t utterly agree on whether or not y is a vowel or not, so relying on the supply, you will discover it underneath the vowel record or listed individually as a semi-consonant. For the needs of this publish, 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
(in the present day),  convoy

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

And in contrast to in English, Spanish vowels are at all times pronounced the very same approach. This video from Butterfly Spanish will help you excellent your pronunciation of Spanish vowels:

Suggestions for Announcing Spanish Vowels

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

Listed here are among the most essential issues to recollect in an effort to enhance your pronunciation of Spanish vowels. 

1. All Spanish vowels are at all times 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 at all times the identical, whether or not they seem at first or finish of a phrase, between consonants, earlier than a double consonant or wherever else within the phrase.

Hearken 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 should pronounce all of the vowels in a phrase.

And all of the letters besides h, for that matter. There aren’t 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 comprises the letters que, qui, gue or gui, the u is silent:

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

3. Don’t “diphthongize” Spanish vowels.

As said in level one, every vowel has its personal distinctive sound, and it by no means modifications. 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 regardless of how you’d learn the phrase in English:

(biography), micrófono
(microphone), wifi

5. The vowel u at all times seems like “oo.”

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

(universe), unísono
(unison), Europa

Announcing Spanish Vowel Mixtures

Vowels don’t at all times seem by themselves between consonants. You’ll typically 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 kinds 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 will 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 kinds. Beneath you’ll discover an alphabetical record of Spanish diphthongs so you possibly can see them in motion. Follow saying them out loud and attempt to provide you with extra examples when you can.

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

(there’s/are), espray
 (spray), ¡ay!

au This diphthong seems like “ah-oo.” aumento
(improve), 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 mix ía, which might be handled within the hiatuses part. piano
(piano), novia
(girlfriend), comedia
ie/ié It does not matter if the robust 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 robust vowel. avn
(airplane), 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 at all times be a diphthong it doesn’t matter what, as a result of every time the second weak vowel might be unstressed.

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

(in the present day), soy
(I’m), voy
(I’m going/I am going)

ou There are just a few phrases in Spanish containing the diphthong ou, and virtually all of them had 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 can at all times 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 potential 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 frequent than diphthongs in Spanish, and despite the fact that there’s a wide range of them, the identical small group tends to seem extra typically than the remainder.

When announcing a triphthong, pronounce the three vowels so as of look, stressing the center one. Listed here 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 simply all giggle, 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 simply all roll [subjunctive]), guieis
(that you simply all information, subj.)

(that you simply all change, subj.), apreciéis
(that you simply 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 simply all discover out, subj.), apacigüéis
(that you simply all appease, subj.), behavioruéis
(that you simply all get used to, subj.)
Different There are different triphthongs within the Spanish language, however they are not so frequent as to create a bunch with them. Listed here are just a few with some examples. uey: buey
uau: guau
iau: biaural

Spanish Vowel Hiatuses 

A hiatus is mainly the alternative of a diphthong and exists when two vowels are collectively however they belong to 2 separate syllables. Consecutive vowels will be in two syllables as a result of the vowels are each weak or robust, 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, regardless of which letter carries the stress. To pronounce hiatuses appropriately, 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 will be divided into a number of sorts, however in an effort to simplify issues, we’ll use a broad division consisting of solely two teams:

1. Easy hiatuses

These encompass two robust 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 isn’t there.
ae/aé caer
(to fall), cae
(he/she/it can 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
(up to date)
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 presupposed to be a diphthong is accented. The careworn vowel will at all times have an accent mark in an effort to sign that the diphthong has been damaged:

Hiatus Examples
 (vigor), ps
(nation), judsmo
(trunk/chest), atd
(coffin), n
(caffeine),  incrble
(unimaginable), 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 once)
(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 giggle)
se ríe
(he/she/it laughs)
(that you simply 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 simply 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 publish comprises a number of data, however don’t get overwhelmed! Simply attempt to be taught the few guidelines introduced and use the examples for observe. 

To get used to them, take heed to vowels in context. Spanish music, films and different audio or video sources are a good way to get uncovered to Spanish vowels. 

Language studying packages with multimedia options may assist familiarize you with vowels and correct enunciation. For instance, FluentU permits you to take heed to and be taught from brief Spanish movies outfitted with interactive subtitles.

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