Jul 17, 2007, 1:18 PM
Post #5 of 7
The sounds of e in Mexican Spanish are indeed two. If you ask somebody to recite the Spanish alphabet, you will quite definitely hear both sounds of that e. You will hear ah a, bay b, say c, day d , ay e and then ehfay f, etc. On f you will hear both the e sounds for the letter efe which is pronounced EH fay. Hearing problems be damned. I have your problem and have had it for 20 years.
However, the normal sound of e when combined in words is eh as in EHM ma (Emma) an example used in a previous post. New example: esconder eh scone DEHR. The eh sound is quite definite in the two sylables.
But in a word such as hectarea (which was used in a prior post as an example) you may or may not, depending on the speaker, hear both sounds on the final e. Example ehck TAH
ray yah or ehc TAH reh yah. I hear both pronunciacions here in the countryside of Zacatecas. Just as I hear the final r in words such as trabajar rolled, (trah, bah JARRRR) again depending on the speaker.
I have found throughout México that the eh use is more or less consistent. For example contrast the words peine (comb) which is pronounced PAY nay, not PAY neh, with pene (penis) which is pronounced PEH neh or PEH nay (most usual), again depending on the doctor speaking. Note the necessity to put the i in peine to distinguish the two words by hearing instead of by context.
You will note the same hearing problem with the i occasionally. Such words as deleite deh LAY tay a delight, contrasted with delito deh LEE toh (a crime) where the i is necessary to distinguish the second sylable and the o is necessary to distinguish the third. Where somebody with poor diction swallows the last sylable, quite common, and doesn't pronounce the first clearly, then confusion reigns.
Your original question was a good one. It has been difficult for me having been early taught by instructors to always use ay to change over to the eh which is apparently normal throughout the Spanish speaking world.
Güeana suerte con los estudios. I suppose in the civilized areas in which you live you have never heard the G used instead of the B! LOL.
By the way I understand, probably incorrectly, that the use of hectarea instead of hectare is a Mexican idiosyncracy.
(This post was edited by jerezano on Jul 17, 2007, 1:40 PM)