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JohnnyBoy

Nov 12, 2006, 3:16 PM

Post #1 of 17 (8661 views)

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Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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Hello Everyone,

I have posted a few times on other forums. This is my first on the Language Forum. Those of you who are acquainted with my posts will no doubt find this one just as obsessive and difficult to respond to. Nevertheless, I have a question and I bet someone out there knows the answer. And that will scratch my itch.

The double "L" is Spanish, maybe it has a name, I don't know it. But is there ONE correct way to pronounce it? As in "calle," "cuchillo," "silla." ?

My impression is that it has a distinct English "y" quality. I live in the Bay Area of California, specifically San Mateo. I am surround by thousands of native speakers of Spanish. I work with dozens of Latinos who are bi-lingual. Spanish is a first language to most of them. To a man (or a woman, as the case maybe) when I ask him/her to pronounce these words for me...loudly and distinctly...I hear: kah-Yeh, koo-chee-Yoh, see-Yah.

I have purchased, upon recommendation of people who really ought to know what they are doing, a Spanish language learning program that uses drawings in a booklet and the matching spoken words on a CD. Right away I noticed the speaker did not pronouce these words THAT way. I called the company that produces the language course and they told me the speaker is from Colombia and is a native speaker of Spanish.

I took a little evening Spanish class at a local High School in the evening a couple of years ago and the instructor was an older man from Colombia. He did not pronounce these words like the guy on the CDs.

The speaker on the CD pronounces the words like the "gl" in Italian, if any of you are familiar with that. It is like the double "L" in the English word "million." So "calle" sounds like "kah-lyeh", "silla" like "see-lya" and "cuchillo" like "koo-chee-lyo."

Have any of you heard this pronunciation of the "LL" that way in Mexico in your experience?

Forgive me my anal curiosity. But I am dying to know.

Thanks,

jb



esperanza

Nov 12, 2006, 6:10 PM

Post #2 of 17 (8656 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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The 'll' (the letter is known as the EH-yeh) is pronounced in Mexico like the 'Y'. kah-Yeh, koo-chee-Yoh, see-Yah are correct. Some South American countries pronounce the 'll' with a slight 'j' sound (kah-jeh, etc), but this is not common to Mexico.

The pronunciation you are hearing on your CD is incorrect, no matter where the speaker comes from.

It might interest you to know that the Royal Academy has done away with the 'll' as a separate letter in Spanish. The 'ch' and the 'rr' have also gone by the wayside.




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jerezano

Nov 12, 2006, 7:43 PM

Post #3 of 17 (8648 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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Hello,

Esperanza is a remarkably good Spanish teacher. She is correct that here in Mexico the double ll sound is pronounced as a soft y. As we would pronounce the y in yes.

When reciting the sounded alphabet the double letter is pronounced EH yeh. While the double ll as a separate letter has flown from the REA dictionary, it is still included in the teaching of the alphabet in a goodly number of Mexican primary schools. You will notice on many Mexican road signs and place names that the ll and the y are confused just as the b and the v are confused. Our sign people are not noted for their education. A local example is Maguellito for Magueyito or a more distant one Peña de Vernal for Peña de Bernal.

She is also correct that the pronunciation of the the ll differs in some South American countries and in some regions of Spain, and probably in other Spanish speaking countries. The slight jy sound is quite often heard.

The statement that the ly pronunciation on your CD is incorrect, no matter where the speaker comes from is subject to challenge. My Equadorian Spanish teacher some 20 years ago had a definite ljy in her double ll's. And unfortunately I learned it and have trouble getting rid of it. I have caught the same slight ly or ljy sound in many speakers from Spain on TVE. I occasionally hear it from a Cuban speaker (they claim to speak the purest Spanish in the Western Hemisphere), a Columbian speaker, and an Argentinan (famous for Italianized Spanish accents) speaker, etc. I have even heard it from professors of UNAM hear in México.

To sum up. Here in México you will always be correct if you learn your Spanish using the soft y as in yes or yeah. But don't worry if you hear the slight ly sound or the jy sound. Those are just variations.

As to the sample pronunciations you give, here in México the word calle is pronounced KAH yeh with the accent on the first sylable. Cuchillo is coo CHEEH yoh, silla is SEE yah.

Also while the rr or EH rrreh has also disappeared as a separate letter the rolled rrr sound has remained with us.

A similar problem with the r or EH reh sound is that between two vowels it is also rolled and here in many regions of México the final r in a word by a very macho speaker may roll astonishingly long and loud. Tirar, tea RRRAHRRRR.

Good luck with your lessons. You will find that here on the Spanish forum you will get good advice on Mexican Spanish, Mexican idioms (modismos) and Mexican usages and customs. Keep in touch.

Adiós. jerezano.


juditha16


Nov 12, 2006, 8:35 PM

Post #4 of 17 (8642 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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Dropping the ch, rr, ll as separate letters in the Spanish alphabet has something to do with the advent of computers and a more unversal alphabet. The letters still exist, but they are found within the dictionary in the same place as in English (ie, ch in the with the "C's, ll in with the "l's", rr in with the "r's". But I think ñ (en-yay) still stands alone.
Judith


esperanza

Nov 12, 2006, 8:42 PM

Post #5 of 17 (8640 views)

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Re: [juditha16] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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You're right, Judith, the Ñ(ñ)--like the cheese--stands alone.

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quevedo

Nov 13, 2006, 7:56 AM

Post #6 of 17 (8629 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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Estimada Esperanza:

The pronunciation on the CD surely comes from Catalunya. The Catalonians, catalanes, and mallorquines from Mallorca pronounce the LL that way. And for them that is pretty correct.

Saludos,

Quevedo


quevedo

Nov 13, 2006, 7:58 AM

Post #7 of 17 (8628 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Cubans?

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I believe they speak one of the unpurest Spanish in the continent.

Saludos,

Quevedo

(This post was edited by quevedo on Nov 13, 2006, 10:05 PM)


juditha16


Nov 13, 2006, 9:34 AM

Post #8 of 17 (8622 views)

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Re: [quevedo] Cubans?

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I agree with Señor Quevedo. When I worked with Cuban refugees in Key West after the Mariel boatlift, I found them nearly unintelligible. It took a while to get used the the pronunciation and vocabulary. But, after 25 years in Key West, I've been told by speakers in Mexico and Costa Rica that I have a Cuban accent. (I'm working on putting the "s" sound back in my words.) It's a pleasure to listen to Mexican Spanish--so clear and musical...a far cry from the Cuban I got used to.
Judith


tonyburton


Nov 13, 2006, 10:32 AM

Post #9 of 17 (8616 views)

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Re: [juditha16] Cubans?

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I may be mistaken, but I believe Quevedo's comments should only be taken to refer to Catalunya (the north-east of Spain, as in Barcelona) and not taken to refer in any way to Cuba, even though the Cuban accent is certainly distinctive.


DoDi2


Nov 13, 2006, 1:05 PM

Post #10 of 17 (8611 views)

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Re: [juditha16] Cubans?

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I love the way Cuban spanish sounds, It may not be pure but who cares.. when it has so much tumbao. yeah!


jerezano

Nov 13, 2006, 1:22 PM

Post #11 of 17 (8608 views)

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Re: [juditha16] Cubans?

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Hello all:

Help!! I can't understand Cubanos either. I didn't say they speak the purest Spanish in the Western Hemisphere. I said and I quote "they claim to speak the purest Spanish in the Western Hermisphere."

And Judith you are right, there is a lilt and music to Mexican Spanish that the Cubanos lack.

But on the swallowed final s's----come to Zacatecas and you will feel that you are back on the ranch. And our friend Andres Manuel Lópex Obrador (from Tabasco) is so famous for swallowing all his s's that a cartoonist replaces the s with a j in the balloons.

Adiós. jerezano.


JohnnyBoy

Nov 17, 2006, 11:38 AM

Post #12 of 17 (8515 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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Thanks to all of you who have posted in response to my question about the Spanish double "L."

I rather expected to learn that it was Argentinian influence, due to the large number of Italians in Argentina over the past couple of hundred years, and the fact that that sound (lya or like the double-L in English "million") is so prevalent in Italian. But apparently that is not the explanation.

I continue to use my CD-based language course and without fail, every new "LL" word presented has that same Italian "ly" sound: mantaquilla (sp?) cropped up just this morning.

There are variations in the pronunciation of any language, and I know enough about linguistics to know that we must be descriptive in our observations, never proscriptive. And I think that is what I was doing with my question.

That strange sound is there on my CDs. But I doubt I am going to pick it up.

Again thanks to all of you for your estimable contributions.

jb


mparrino

Nov 17, 2006, 1:20 PM

Post #13 of 17 (8509 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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John - Argentinians tend to pronounce the "ll" as a soft 'j'.
Marcia


sioux4noff

Nov 23, 2006, 10:34 AM

Post #14 of 17 (8469 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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Many people who are natives of Puerto Vallarta pronounce the LL sort-of like a J in it.
"Calle" sounds like Ca-jay instead of Ca-yay. But the same with the Y sound, "yo" sounds sort-of like the name Joe in English.
My niece, who studied extensively in Argentina, also has that same sound to her letters.


Georgia


Dec 10, 2006, 6:57 AM

Post #15 of 17 (8395 views)

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Re: [quevedo] Cubans?

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Tsk, tsk, Quevedo. In Madrid the "ll" is also pronounced like the "ll" in the English word "million" and let's not even talk about Argentina. Whatever people say in their own locale is pure, in my opinion, and if you live there you'd better learn the local take on these living languages.


margojean

Dec 12, 2006, 6:19 AM

Post #16 of 17 (8356 views)

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Re: [quevedo] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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The Catalans do not consider their language to be Spanish, and certainly do not speak Castillian. They consider their language, Catalan, to be a stand-alone language as different from Spanish as are Portuguese and French. Nonetheless, it is similar enough that, as only so-so Spanish speakers, we had no problem understanding a guide in Cataluna when indignant Catalans insisted he speak their language, and not Spanish.
margojean


hopalog


Jan 27, 2007, 10:52 AM

Post #17 of 17 (8198 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Pronunciation of the Spanish Double "L"

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what is even more interesting is that the "ll" = "j" sound does not travel to all "ll" words. The Venezuleans and the Uruguayans and even the Argentenians and some Chilleans living in the Andes will pronounce some words with the "hard" ll and some words without. On the norm, most all "ll" words are "hard" but everyoneceandawhile a "ll" would be "y". But I found this mostly in Venezuela. The intricacies of the regionalities are amazing.

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