By Lisa Goodwin-Campiglio
Having trouble with the Spanish
names for Spanish Arabians?
Here are a few simple and
easy hints. It helps to remember that when speaking Spanish the tongue
works much further forward in the mouth than when speaking English.
A -- always pronounced
ah, as in father ( Spanish example: gracias)
E -- always pronounced
as a short e, as in best, ten, dress (Spanish
I --always pronounced ee,
as in feet, wheel, bee (Spanish example si)
O --always pronounced as
a short o, as in doctor, but with the lips a little more rounded.
It is always a pure vowel with no trace of the u sound (diphthong) which
is present in the English pronunciation of 'no'. (Spanish example:
U --always pronounced oo,
as in fool, pool. (Spanish example: uno)
The remaining letters are pronounced
as they are in English with only very slight variations.
B --Similar to the English
'b' but less plosive; between vowels it is pronounced very softly so that
the lips touch only slightly. (Spanish example: bebida)
C --As in English, before
a, o and u it is pronounced as a K, as in can. Before e or
i the c is pronounced as an S as in cent. In Spain the C before e
and i is pronounced 'th'. (Spanish example: ciudad)
CC -- Pronounced very similar
to the cc in accident (Spanish example: accidente .
In Spain ah-thee-den-tay)
D -- Similar to the English
'd' in 'bed' but with the tongue further forward; between vowels
or as the last letter of a word it is pronounced very softly similar to
the 'th' in the (Spanish example: ciudad)
G -- Before A, O or U it
pronounced as the G in get. Before E or I it is pronounced
like the English H but more emphatic. (Spanish example: general)
H -- Always silent in Spanish.
'Hotel' is pronounced 'otel' (Spanish example: hotel)
J Always pronounced like
the English H but more emphatic (Spanish example: jalapeño)
LL Always pronounced as
the Y in yes. (Spanish example: ella )
ñ -- This Spanish
character is pronounced NY as in canyon (Spanish example:
R -- Slightly trilled
(Spanish example: hora ) When it is the first letter of a
word it is strongly trilled. (Spanish example: Costa Rica
RR -- Always strongly trilled.
(Spanish example: arroz) Try imitating a cat’s purr! The tongue
vibrates on the roof of the mouth right behind the teeth.
V --In Spain and many parts
of South America there is no difference between the 'v' and the 'b'
(Spanish example: video)
X -- is pronounced as a
– J - ( the emphatic English H ) and is often replaced with a J.
(Spanish example: Xavier or Javier )
Y -pronounced as the English Y
except when it stands alone (y is Spanish for and) then it is pronounced
as in tree (Spanish example: cinco y media [five thirty])
W – does not exist in the Spanish
Z -- In South America the 'z'
is pronounced as the English S; in Spain the 'z' is closer to the 'th'
in the English word, 'bath' (Spanish example: diez)
QUE -- pronounced ke as
in kept (Spanish example: ¿Que pasa?)
QUI --pronounced kee as
in keep (Spanish example: quince )
GUE -- pronounced ge as
in guest, and get (Spanish example: gueto )
GUI -- pronounced gee as
in geese (Spanish example: guitarra )
Generally in a two syllable
word the emphasis is on the second syllable and if more than 2 syllables
the accent is on the second to last syllable.
For some familiar Spanish Arabian
Jalisco -- Ha-lees-ko,
Barich -- Ba-rick, Hermoso – Ay-r-mo-so.
In Spain the names are usually
in Castilian Spanish. There has been a recent movement though to
use names in some of the other four recognized languages within Spain such
as Galician , Basque or Euskera , Catalan and Occitan(aranès).
Neither Valenciano or Mallorquin are recognized legally as a language but
they are commonly used dialects of Catalan and have distinctive pronunciation
and spelling. Bable in Asturias and Aragones have their own linguistic
diversity. The above guide is for Castilian Spanish and if the horse’s
name looks impossible to pronounce it probably is and it is probably a
form of Euskera, of which there are 7 different forms, none of which seem
to have their root in a romance language.
© 2004 by the Spanish Arabian Horse Society.
rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written
permission of the author.