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Correct pronunciation?


camillenparadise

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I wasn't being clear. It's hot this afternoon, and I'm flagging. I agree with you.

Yes, the accent/stress is on the last syllable of Jocotepec. What I meant was it's not exaggerated in the way that many people from the US--especially certain parts ot it--drag out sounds. Those who incorrectly put the accent on the second syllable often pronounce it like: "Ho-COHHHHH-te-pec". All I meant to say is that while there is stress on the last syllable, it's still pronounced a clipped, stacatto fashion.

At least, I think it is. :wacko:

At any rate, trying to describe pronunciation in written form is a bitch. That's why I suggested people listen, really listen, when they hear a local pronounce it.

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Definitely the B and the V are among the most common spelling errors in Spanish, along with leaving out an H (which is always silent,) the Y and the LL, and the S, C and Z (in many cases.) The correct spelling of these words requires memorization. Fortunately that is about all one has to memorize about spelling in Spanish because everything else is easily to spell correctly once one understands what letter make what sounds where.

There are, in fact, two sounds for the B and V, depending upon their position in a word. An initial B or V is like the B in the English word "boy"--the lips bounce off of each other. The medial B or V is called a bi-labial fricative. This sound does not exist in English. The lips come together and sort of vibrate against each other but do not bounce off each other as in the initial B or V.

By the way, the official names of these two letters have been changed and the B is now "be" and V is now "uve." Not that I think most locals will call them this but rather will continue with things like "B de burro, V de vaca" or "B grande, V chica." The name of the Y and W have also officially been changed. And the CH and LL dropped as separate letters from the Spanish alphabet, thus leaving it with 27 letters instead of the previous 29. You can read about it here: http://multilanguagelearning.com/en/learn-spanish-language/new-changes-to-the-spanish-alphabet

In regards to the tendency of locals to not pronounce the final C of Jocotepec and Ajijic, I believe this has to do with the fact that Spanish words never end in hard (aspirated) consonants. This became obvious to me when I was married to a native Spanish-speaker who learned English after we married, and I always say that I spent the first three years of our marriage saying "P" "T" "K" "D" with that breath of air behind them because he did not pronounce them. He would say, "I'm going to ta the ka." I would say, "I'm going to taKe the caKe.".. As I said before in another post, people do not usually hear sounds that do not exist in their native language.

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I wasn't being clear. It's hot this afternoon, and I'm flagging. I agree with you.

Yes, the accent/stress is on the last syllable of Jocotepec. What I meant was it's not exaggerated in the way that many people from the US drag out sounds. Foreigners who incorrectly put the accent on the second syllable often pronounce it like: "Ho-COhhhhhh-te-pec". All I meant to say is that while there is stress on the last syllable, it's still pronounced rapid-fire, stacatto fashion.

At least, I think it is. :wacko:

At any rate, trying to describe pronunciation in written form is a bitch. That's why I suggested people listen, really listen, when they hear a local pronounce it.

I would put it differently, as I don't find Spanish to be staccato. I think one of the reasons that it sounds that way to non-native speakers is what is called "enlace"--that is, hooking from one word to the next, thus running sounds together. This makes it very difficult for non-native speakers to pick out individual words and thus understand. We are taught in English to ENUNCIATE each word separately. In correctly spoken Spanish we are taught to hook from one word to another.

It is difficult to write about pronunciation but there are text books about Spanish linguistics that at least try to explain all of this, just as there are in English. Not that I expect anybody here to even attempt to read any of those. Developing a decent accent in Spanish is usually a combination of listening carefully and/or having someone point out and explain the sounds to you, including how they are formed in the mouth. I believe that some are blessed with a "talent" to hear sounds and imitate them, thus developing a good Spanish pronunciation, while others will never get master these sounds no matter how much they have them explained to them or hear them. I am only referring to those who learn a second language from about the age of puberty on. Unfortunately that is about the age at which we start teaching second languages in the US, right at the point where language learning switches place in the brain and becomes more difficult. Children have no problems learning a second language without an accent.

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I would put it differently, as I don't find Spanish to be staccato. I think one of the reasons that it sounds that way to non-native speakers is what is called "enlace"--that is, hooking from one word to the next, thus running sounds together. This makes it very difficult for non-native speakers to pick out individual words and thus understand. We are taught in English to ENUNCIATE each word separately. In correctly spoken Spanish we are taught to hook from one word to another.

It is difficult to write about pronunciation but there are text books about Spanish linguistics that at least try to explain all of this, just as there are in English. Not that I expect anybody here to even attempt to read any of those. Developing a decent accent in Spanish is usually a combination of listening carefully and/or having someone point out and explain the sounds to you, including how they are formed in the mouth. I believe that some are blessed with a "talent" to hear sounds and imitate them, thus developing a good Spanish pronunciation, while others will never get master these sounds no matter how much they have them explained to them or hear them. I am only referring to those who learn a second language from about the age of puberty on. Unfortunately that is about the age at which we start teaching second languages in the US, right at the point where language learning switches place in the brain and becomes more difficult. Children have no problems learning a second language without an accent.

Meant to say that this "enlace"/hooking from one word to the next is what makes Spanish sound so rapid to most English-speaking listeners. I think that whatever speed we speak at in English tends to carry over to Spanish. I have also know native Spanish speakers who speak verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slowly and others who speak very quickly. I tend to be a very fast English speaker so that carries over to when I speak Spanish.

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Jajaja. And "what I meant to say" is NOT that Spanish pronunciation in general is staccato, but that the pronunciation of Jocotopec has a quick rythmn that doesn't include any long, drawn out syllables. That's all.

Good stuff bdlngton. Thanks for taking the time.

P.S. If there are any mods out there, maybe this should be moved to the Spanish language forum? Cheers.

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There is a huge difference between English and Spanish in syllabification. Learning to pronounce Spanish with the syllables of a word divided correctly will go a long way to improve both your pronunciation and your accent. For example: in English, the word 'education' is divided into the following syllables: ed·u·ca·tion. In Spanish, the similar word educación is divided like this: e-du-ca-ci-ón. There is elision between the 'ci' and the 'ón', that sliding together of pronunciation that makes the last four letter almost-but-not-quite one syllable.

You might think this is no big deal, but if you practice pronouncing any Spanish word *as it is divided into Spanish syllables*, rather than as you would pronounce it while speaking English, you will find that the difference is both hard to achieve without practice and pronounced (ha!) in the change in how you say it. You will need to pay close attention not only to vocabulary, but also to syllabification. Listen, don't assume.

In addition, a Spanish-speaker will move his or her mouth, tongue, and cheeks when speaking, so that they move in ways that use muscles that English-speakers do not. I have found, over more than 30 years' close notice, that you can tell whether a person is speaking Spanish even if you cannot hear him or her--just by watching the mouth move. When I was first learning Spanish, a person I barely knew pointed out to me that when I spoke Spanish, my upper lip barely moved. Trust me, it should move a lot. I learned something important that day. Only yesterday I was watching a young woman across the sidewalk from me; it was instantly appeared to me that she was speaking English and when I got close enough to hear her, it was true.

ETA: why in the world is all of this highlighted in gray?

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A quote from a personal interview related in Karen Blue's 2000 book 'Midlife Mavericks':

"How did you discover Jocotepec ? It's not exactly on the tourist trail"

She corrected my pronunciation;

"Accent on the first and last syllables. It's an Indian name. HO.co.tay.PECK"

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This should be correct according to Spanish rules of pronunciation and there is no accent to move the stress from the last syllable. The rules of natural stress are:

If a word ends in a vowel, an N or an S, the next to the last syllable gets the stress.

If a word ends in any consonant other than N or S, the last syllable gets the stress.

Any word that violates these two rules will have a written accent on the vowel of the syllable where the stress falls.

The problem with your logic is that Jocotepec is not a Spanish word. It is Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs. The grammatical rules are different.

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I have been following this thread, it is rather interesting and educational. What are the rules to pronouncing Nahuatl words and names?........Jocotepec is clearly and obviously not Spanish but rather a word with indigenous providence, possibly but not necessarily Nahuatl. Many indigenous dialects existed in the western half of Mexico, with many sharing similarities to Nahuatl. It has been previously stated that words of Nahuatl origin tend to stress the final syllable. But in Mexico we speak Spanish and generally, as stated above, many Spanish words stress the second to last syllable, but it is extremely rare for any Spanish word to end in a hard c. I can only think of one truly Spanish word that ends with a "j" that may end with a slightly hard c sound............it is reloj, many Spanish speakers pronounce this 'j' with a slight hard 'c' sound.........pronouncing it as relok. I spoke today with my gardener who is from Chapala, he seems to prefer the jocoTEpec pronunciation, but his final 'c' is nearly nonexistent or swallowed, conforming with Spanglinizing a Nahuatl word.

So what I take from this, is that the correct pronunciation is jocotePec, but if you were to choose to pronounce it as if it were a true Spanish word, which it clearly is not, you would pronounce it as jocoTepec but slightly swallow the final 'c' sound and it should sound like jocoTepe.

But honestly, this is all fairly complicated for Mexicans and Gringos alike........so lets do as the Mexicans do and just call this wonderful city as Joco.

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Dichosalocura: please go to the first page of this thread and read posts #10 and 14. While your ideas are interesting, your suggested pronunciation for Jocotepec is wrong. It is ho-ko-te-PEC. Regardless of the origin of the town name, the pronunciation follows a rule of Spanish pronunciation. The earlier posts will tell you which rule.

Another point to consider: indigenous languages were not and are not dialects. They are individual languages. From Merriam-Webster:

  • a : a regional variety of language distinguished by features of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation from other regional varieties and constituting together with them a single language <the Doric dialect of ancient Greek>
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It does not matter how the people speaking Nahuatl pronounced Jocotepec the correct pronounciation is the one fom the people who took over..

Yes Nahuatl is a language and not a fialect and it had many variations . In a place like Chiapas where Maya is still widely spoken you soon realize although many people speak Maya many do not understand each other because of the variations and the different types of Maya they speak. There are some 58 variations of Zapotec as well in Oaxaca so chances are that the Nathual spoken in Ajijic, San Juan Cosola and Jocotepec had its variation as well hence people today have a different way of speaking in each village and can still tell the difference between the way the local people speak,

The Spaniards took over and unified the counry with Spanish so the Spanish pronounciarion is the recognized one.

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The problem with your logic is that Jocotepec is not a Spanish word. It is Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs. The grammatical rules are different.

We are not talking about GRAMMAR here, but rather syllable division and natural stress. Do you honestly know the grammar for Nahuatl? I sure don't but you can Google "Nahuatl grammar" and read all about it.

Nahuatl did not have a written alphabet but rather used a pictographic system which served as reminders of what had been learned orally. The Spaniards introduced the Latin alphabet to record the sounds of the oral Nahuatl language.. Therefore the correct syllable division and natural stress of place names that originally existed in Nahuatl and are still in use today are written as they would be in SPANISH, including accents when they violate the Spanish rules of stress. Thus Jocotepec is correctly pronounced with the stress on the last syllable and no accent is needed to show that. Cosala does need an accent on the last a in order to be pronounced with the stress there, which reflects the Nahuatl pronunciation of Coxala. You can read more about Nahuatl pronunciation and alphabet here: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/nahuatl.htm

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I have been following this thread, it is rather interesting and educational. What are the rules to pronouncing Nahuatl words and names?........Jocotepec is clearly and obviously not Spanish but rather a word with indigenous providence, possibly but not necessarily Nahuatl. Many indigenous dialects existed in the western half of Mexico, with many sharing similarities to Nahuatl. It has been previously stated that words of Nahuatl origin tend to stress the final syllable. But in Mexico we speak Spanish and generally, as stated above, many Spanish words stress the second to last syllable, but it is extremely rare for any Spanish word to end in a hard c. I can only think of one truly Spanish word that ends with a "j" that may end with a slightly hard c sound............it is reloj, many Spanish speakers pronounce this 'j' with a slight hard 'c' sound.........pronouncing it as relok. I spoke today with my gardener who is from Chapala, he seems to prefer the jocoTEpec pronunciation, but his final 'c' is nearly nonexistent or swallowed, conforming with Spanglinizing a Nahuatl word.

So what I take from this, is that the correct pronunciation is jocotePec, but if you were to choose to pronounce it as if it were a true Spanish word, which it clearly is not, you would pronounce it as jocoTepec but slightly swallow the final 'c' sound and it should sound like jocoTepe.

But honestly, this is all fairly complicated for Mexicans and Gringos alike........so lets do as the Mexicans do and just call this wonderful city as Joco.

I don't think it was stated that Nahuatl words tend to stress the last syllable. I think it was stated that words/place names ending in "tepec" are stressed on the last syllable. That follows the Spanish rule of stress: If a word ends in any consonant other than N or S, the last syllable gets the stress. In correct Spanish pronunciation it would never be pronounced with the stress on the TE (jo co TE pec) because that violates the rule of natural stress in Spanish. That is why Jocotepec does not need a written accent.

You can call is Joco as the Mexicans do, but please don't call Guadalajara "Guad." I've never heard a Mexican do that. (By the way, Guadalajara does NOT need a written accent because it follows the Spanish rules of stress: If a word ends in a vowel, an N or and S, the next to last syllable gets the stress.

As far as whether the final C on Jocotepec and Ajijic should or should not be pronounced you would have to go back to the original Nahuatl pronunciation of those names to really know. However, given that Nahuatl did not have a written alphabet but rather a pictograph system, my guess would be that they did have a "K" sound at the end of those names, which is why the Spaniards spelled those names with the final C in the Latin alphabet. As I said before, since true Spanish words do NOT have a final aspirated (hard) consonant sound (P, T, C, D) it is a hard sound for native Spanish speakers to pronounce so they tend to leave it off Jocotepec and Ajijic despite whatever the original Nahuatl pronunciation (and Spanish transcribing of that pronunciation) might have been.

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A quote from a personal interview related in Karen Blue's 2000 book 'Midlife Mavericks':

"How did you discover Jocotepec ? It's not exactly on the tourist trail"

She corrected my pronunciation;

"Accent on the first and last syllables. It's an Indian name. HO.co.tay.PECK"

I would like to know who corrected the pronunciation here.

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That's a fun one. There is "v vaca" and "b baby". Both sound like "b", although in my years as a linguist (okay, just a fan of My Fair Lady), it seems to me that the "v vaca" is more like blowing a b rather than saying a b. Does that make sense? (Vaca means cow, of course.)

I suggest you google "Spanish pronunciation of b vs v." There are two sounds and which sound is made does not depend upon which letter ( b or v) the word is spelled with but rather where that b/v appears in a word or breath group. For a further explanation of the two sounds google "bilabial plosive" compared to "bilabial fricative." The bilabial plosive exists in English; the blabial fricative doesn't.. Again, if there were truly a sound difference between the b and v in Spanish there would not be so many misspellings in Spanish between these two letters.

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I have never seen and accent used in Cosala, i.e., Cosala'

Knowing where the accent is makes it easy.

Did you ever notice that most road signs are written in all caps? That's why we don't see the written accents on many place names that actually require them. To be perfectly correct, at least according to the Diccionario de la Real Academia de Espanol, capital letters need the accent just as much as small letters do to indicate correct pronunciation. Unfortuately they are often left off. (Excuse me for not putting the ~ of the n in espanol but I'm on a netbook and don't know how to do symbols on it.)

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There is a huge difference between English and Spanish in syllabification. Learning to pronounce Spanish with the syllables of a word divided correctly will go a long way to improve both your pronunciation and your accent. For example: in English, the word 'education' is divided into the following syllables: ed·u·ca·tion. In Spanish, the similar word educación is divided like this: e-du-ca-ci-ón. There is elision between the 'ci' and the 'ón', that sliding together of pronunciation that makes the last four letter almost-but-not-quite one syllable.

You might think this is no big deal, but if you practice pronouncing any Spanish word *as it is divided into Spanish syllables*, rather than as you would pronounce it while speaking English, you will find that the difference is both hard to achieve without practice and pronounced (ha!) in the change in how you say it. You will need to pay close attention not only to vocabulary, but also to syllabification. Listen, don't assume.

In addition, a Spanish-speaker will move his or her mouth, tongue, and cheeks when speaking, so that they move in ways that use muscles that English-speakers do not. I have found, over more than 30 years' close notice, that you can tell whether a person is speaking Spanish even if you cannot hear him or her--just by watching the mouth move. When I was first learning Spanish, a person I barely knew pointed out to me that when I spoke Spanish, my upper lip barely moved. Trust me, it should move a lot. I learned something important that day. Only yesterday I was watching a young woman across the sidewalk from me; it was instantly appeared to me that she was speaking English and when I got close enough to hear her, it was true.

ETA: why in the world is all of this highlighted in gray?

Totally agree that before you can really talk about natural stress in Spanish that you need to first talk about where Spanish syllables divide, especially since the rules of stress refer specifically to which syllable the stress falls on.

I would differ on the ci-on of words like educacion being elision. I would call it a diphthong and it forms one syllable. But that's nit picky and probably nobody except you, More Liana, and I even care much less enjoy these types of discussions. :-) (please excuse the lack of accent on the o but I don't know how to do that on the netbook I'm working on right now.)

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"...it was instantly appeared to me that she was speaking English..."

Oh yes. It was instantly appeared to me...sheesh.

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They call is Guad when speaking Spanish? or when speaking to English speakers in English?

They only speak Spanish to each other & she says he usually always says "Guad." I've heard the man who does my household repairs tell a worker he was going to Guad.

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My friend's Mexican husband always calls Guadalajara "Guad." I know a couple others that do as well.

I've lived in Guadalajara for years and have never heard a Mexican call it Guad,neither has my wife who was born here.

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