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Pronunciation of the ll sound?


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#1 joyce

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 01:10 PM

I'm in a terrific intermmediate Spanish class at Lakeside. I have always pronounced the ll sound(as in ellas, ellos, pollos, etc.) as yah (ehyahs, ehyohs, poeyohs, etc.). There is a controversy that is against my pronunciation. It is to pronounce the ll as sia (sounds like the sia part of Asia--ehsias, ehshos, poshos, etc.) I want to have correct pronunciation and will gladly change over, but first want a confirmation to make sure that it is really correct for Mexican Spanish. Have had lots of different opinions but no expert answers. If you are an expert Spanish speaker (Mexican Spanish), will you please enlighten me? I want to learn to pronounce correctly before the wrong pronounciation becomes too deeply embedded in my old brain to be able to easily change it. Thank you!

#2 papirex

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 01:50 PM

I'm in a terrific intermmediate Spanish class at Lakeside. I have always pronounced the ll sound(as in ellas, ellos, pollos, etc.) as yah (ehyahs, ehyohs, poeyohs, etc.). There is a controversy that is against my pronunciation. It is to pronounce the ll as sia (sounds like the sia part of Asia--ehsias, ehshos, poshos, etc.) I want to have correct pronunciation and will gladly change over, but first want a confirmation to make sure that it is really correct for Mexican Spanish. Have had lots of different opinions but no expert answers. If you are an expert Spanish speaker (Mexican Spanish), will you please enlighten me? I want to learn to pronounce correctly before the wrong pronounciation becomes too deeply embedded in my old brain to be able to easily change it. Thank you!

I am not an expert Spanish speaker, but here is what I know about your question.

There are two correct pronunciations for the letter LL in Spanish. Both are correct, but it depends on the word for how it is pronounced. The letter LL is usually pronounced like a Y, but it is not pronounced the same for every word. The word I use the most with the unusual pronunciation is lleno when buying gasoline. Lleno means fill, or full. It is correctly pronounced as something like “zhayno.” I usually say “Lleno verde, por favor”, (fill it with regular, please.)

It is easier to ask a Spanish teacher, or an educated native Spanish speaker about the correct pronunciation of letters and words here, some of them do vary in other Spanish speaking countries. My bi-lingual Mexican wife has been a great help for me.

Many people never learn that what appears to be a double letter to an English speaker, LL, RR, etc. are really a single letter in Spanish.

Rex
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#3 More Liana

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 02:08 PM

I'm in a terrific intermmediate Spanish class at Lakeside. I have always pronounced the ll sound(as in ellas, ellos, pollos, etc.) as yah (ehyahs, ehyohs, poeyohs, etc.). There is a controversy that is against my pronunciation. It is to pronounce the ll as sia (sounds like the sia part of Asia--ehsias, ehshos, poshos, etc.) I want to have correct pronunciation and will gladly change over, but first want a confirmation to make sure that it is really correct for Mexican Spanish. Have had lots of different opinions but no expert answers. If you are an expert Spanish speaker (Mexican Spanish), will you please enlighten me? I want to learn to pronounce correctly before the wrong pronounciation becomes too deeply embedded in my old brain to be able to easily change it. Thank you!

The pronunciation of the 'll' in Mexican Spanish words is like the 'y': not 'yah', but 'ee'. Ellas: EH-yahs. Ellos: EH-yohs. Pollos: POH-yos. Lleno: YAY-noh. The pronunciation of the LETTER 'll' (if you are reciting the alphabet) is EH-yeh.

You will hear people use the other pronunciation at times as they speak, but it's primarily used by people who speak Argentine or Uruguayan Spanish, not Mexican Spanish. If used by Mexicans, it's either incorrect or an affectation.

Listen here: pronounce the Spanish 'll'.

#4 jimmiller

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 02:23 PM

The pronunciation of the 'll' in Mexican Spanish words is like the 'y': not 'yah', but 'ee'. Ellas: EH-yahs. Ellos: EH-yohs. Pollos: POH-yos. Lleno: YAY-noh. The pronunciation of the LETTER 'll' (if you are reciting the alphabet) is EH-yeh.

You will hear people use the other pronunciation at times as they speak, but it's primarily used by people who speak Argentine or Uruguayan Spanish, not Mexican Spanish. If used by Mexicans, it's either incorrect or an affectation.

Listen here: pronounce the Spanish 'll'.


My Mexican spouse and in-laws all pronounce it as you describe.

#5 Sylvie

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 03:04 PM

The 'yah' sound is definitely Argentina, Uruguay. My husband is Argentine, my father was a Spaniard, my mother Cuban raised in Yucatan and I was raised in So. Cal near the Baja border. My pronunciation is all over the place, but everyone seems to understand me.That's what matters. My accent may change,unconsiously, depending on the accent of the person I'm conversing with, then goes back to what is normal for me now after 30+ years of marriage -Argentine. It is not affectation or incorrect.

#6 LaChula

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 04:17 PM

The 'yah' sound is definitely Argentina, Uruguay. My husband is Argentine, my father was a Spaniard, my mother Cuban raised in Yucatan and I was raised in So. Cal near the Baja border. My pronunciation is all over the place, but everyone seems to understand me.That's what matters. My accent may change,unconsiously, depending on the accent of the person I'm conversing with, then goes back to what is normal for me now after 30+ years of marriage -Argentine. It is not affectation or incorrect.


My Argentime friends say JO me Jamo, here we say yo me yamo. Yo me llamo..
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#7 joyce

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 08:26 AM

The pronunciation of the 'll' in Mexican Spanish words is like the 'y': not 'yah', but 'ee'. Ellas: EH-yahs. Ellos: EH-yohs. Pollos: POH-yos. Lleno: YAY-noh. The pronunciation of the LETTER 'll' (if you are reciting the alphabet) is EH-yeh.

You will hear people use the other pronunciation at times as they speak, but it's primarily used by people who speak Argentine or Uruguayan Spanish, not Mexican Spanish. If used by Mexicans, it's either incorrect or an affectation.

Listen here: pronounce the Spanish 'll'.


Thanks to everyone for their answers! Listening to the URL you included was especially helpful, Liana, but it was great to hear a general consensus from several individuals. I'm going to continue pronouncing "ll" the same, and not try to develop the jah sound, as in "ejahs" for ellas.

#8 Intercasa

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 05:57 PM

You can be an Argentinian and pronounce it like zzjha and some pronounce it like the y but then you could be grouped with central americans. There is a bit of a leaning towards a subtle jzha from the y sound.
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#9 RVGRINGO

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:17 PM

TV advertisements often pronounce it "jzya-me ya" for "Call me now." It almost seems like a subtle compromise.

#10 phxfunguy

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 06:16 PM

I had a Puerto Rican colleague in my medical practice and I noticed she pronounced the "y" and 'll' with a fairly strong (English) j-sound.

#11 HelperGuy

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 02:52 PM

I have often been told by "well to do" Mexicans that the "yah" sound is more village, and the modifed "j" sound is proper. Class consciousness?

#12 virgogirl

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:33 PM

The above has been told to me by many former Spanish teachers I have had, Helper Guy. They were all from upper class families and they had that kind of accent, using the J sound.

#13 Catinmex

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 07:29 AM

That's what I have been told as well, Helper Guy.

#14 B.J. Titsengolf

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:27 AM

Joyce, you are correct. the sia sound is used in Argentina.

#15 virgogirl

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:29 PM

Yes. My Spanish teachers here always told me that j, or zha, is more middle upper, and the y pronunciation is commoners, so to speak. In Santa Fe, NM I had a teacher from Argentina and she despised any us using the zha sound and said we should all be using the y sound. Some of us already had the zha ingrained from other teachers, and she would go ballistic like she was trying to keep the sound in Argentina. Because of this many people walked out of her class. I notice when I am speaking to educated Mexicans and do not use the zha sound they correct me to that pronunciation.

#16 Canamex

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 10:49 PM

I studied Spanish at university with a teacher from Madrid. Castilians (but not all Spaniards) pronounce 'll' as a 'y' preceded by a light 'l', so 'ly'. Not an exaggerated sound. Although Argentinians pronounce 'll' as zh (as in "mirage"), less educated Argentinians, I was told, go all out and make it dzh, or 'j' if you prefer, and some Chileans do as well. But I knew Chileans who looked down on those Argentinians who used the 'dzh'/'j' sound for 'll'.

Here yeísmo rules. If Mexicans are starting to use the Argentinian 'zh', it's surely either an overcorrection or an affection/fashion, much the way the 'x' before a consonant (eg. extracción) is often here pronounced as English 'x', or 'x' in 'examen' instead of the standard pronunciation of 's' (as if it were written 'estracción'). That's also an overcorrection. Perhaps it's now trying to be used as a class marker as well. I don't know how well the science of linguistics and sociolinguistics are entrenched here or if there are books available for studying these phenomena, but in lieu of those, the OP shouldn't go wrong by pronouncing 'll' as 'y'.




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