15 BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE & RULES OF PRONUNCIATION

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  • Slide 1
  • 15 BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE & RULES OF PRONUNCIATION
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #1 There are 5 vowels sounds in Spanish: -a (ah); -e (eh); -i (ee); -o (oh); -u (oo). When reading in Spanish, every vowel is pronounced, in every word, all the time!
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #2 If the word ends in a vowel, vowel+n or vowel+s, then the next to the last syllable must be stressed: epiSOdio (episode), LIbro (book).
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #3 Otherwise, the last syllable is stressed: caLOR (heat), verDAD (truth), paPEL (paper).
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #4 If the word contains an accent mark (), then ignore the previous rules. An accent mark always indicates the stressed syllable: Hbito (habit), Lser (laser), Bceps (biceps), liBR (he/she/it saved somebody from something), inGLS (English).
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #5 There are four singular articles in Spanish: el, la, un, una and four plural articles: los, las, unos, unas. All go before the noun to indicate its gender and number.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #6 Nouns are either masculine or feminine.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #7 Masculine nouns (usually) end in -o; -e; -y; -u; -l; -n; or -r.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #8 Feminine nouns (usually) end in -a; -ian; -tad, -dad; or -umbre.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #9 To make a noun plural just add -s to a vowel or -es to a consonant.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #10 Subject pronouns are placed before the verb. (except in questions)
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #11 Spanish verbs in the infinitive form either end in -ar; -er; or -ir.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #12 Each verb tense has its own ending for each subject pronoun. First, second, and third person; singular/plural.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #13 Some verbs are irregular and their conjugations must be memorized individually.
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #14 Adjectives in Spanish are placed after the noun (usually).
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  • BASIC RULES OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE #15 Adjectives, nouns, and pronouns MUST ALL agree in both number and gender.
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  • SPANISH PRONUNCIATION THE RULES.
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  • VOWELS There are five vowels in the Spanish alphabet, the same as in English: a, e, i, o and u. They have only one possible pronunciation each. A = ah E = eh I = ee O = oh U = oo
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  • Z The letter z may sound like s in see (Hispanic American accents) or like th in thin (standard Spaniard accent).
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  • C The letter c sounds like the Spanish z (i.e, like s or th, depending on the country) when it comes before e or i, and like c in cat in any other case.
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  • Q The letter q always sounds like c in cat. Almost always, it is followed by a silent u, and is used with i or e only. Exceptions are some Latin or foreign words.
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  • J The letter j may sound like h in hot (Hispanic America) or like ch in the Scottish word loch (Spain).
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  • G The letter g sounds like the Spanish j when it comes before e/i, and like g in got in any other case. Also: For g to sound like g in got before e/i, it must be followed by a silent u, as in guitarra (guitar). But what if we want to force the pronunciation of the u in gue/gui? Then, you must put a diaeresis () over it, as in pingino (penguin).
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  • H The letter h is always silent. So, Hola (hello) and ola (wave) have exactly the same pronunciation.
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  • Y The letter y sounds like j in jet when it is placed at the beginning of a syllable: yo (I), mayo (May), and like y in very in any other case: y (and), muy (very).
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  • LL The letter ll also sounds like j in jet, although in some regions may have a sound similar to y in yet.
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  • R The letter r sounds like tt in matter (with USA accent) when: it is not at the beginning of a syllable, e.g., brazo (arm), tren (train), or when it is placed between two vowels: pero (but), Corea (Korea). In any other case it sounds as a strongly trilled r (again, Scottish style), i.e., at the beginning of a word, and after n, l, s, or some prefix: rpido (fast), honrado (honest), alrededor (around), Israel (Israel), subrayado (underlined).
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  • RR The rr is used to force a strongly trilled r between two vowels, e.g., perro (dog), correa (leash).
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  • W The letter w is only used in foreign words, and its sound resembles the original foreign sound. Basically, it may sound like a Spanish b (Wagner) or like an English w (Washington).
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  • The letter represents a nasal palatal phoneme, which is a sound that does not exist in English. It is commonly said that is pronounced like n in canyon or in onion. That is just a useful approximation, at best. Actually, you should press the roof of your mouth with the middle of your tongue (the tip of it could simply rest behind your lower teeth). Only then, in this position, you could try a short /ny/ sound that sort of blends with the next vowel.
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  • STRESS One last thing you should learn is how to identify the stressed syllable in any word you read. Three simple rules will suffice:
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  • STRESS 1. If the word ends in a vowel, vowel+n or vowel+s, then the next to the last syllable must be stressed: epiSOdio (episode), LIbro (book), INgles (groins).
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  • STRESS 2. Otherwise, the last syllable is stressed: caLOR (heat), verDAD (truth), paPEL (paper).
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  • STRESS 3. If the word contains an acute accent mark (), then ignore the previous rules, as an accent mark always indicates the stressed syllable: Hbito (habit), Lser (laser), Bceps (biceps), liBR (he/she/it saved somebody from something), inGLS (English).
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  • PRACTICE La jirafa cazadora beba gazpacho muy fro y cantaba bajo la lluvia.
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  • PRACTICE El victorioso guerrero llevaba un hacha que pesaba nueve kilogramos.
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  • PRACTICE Un frgil zorro pedigeo viaj ayer en taxi.
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  • PRACTICE Tu amigo japons prepara agua, arroz y guindas en la cocina.