¿Hay homónimos en español? (Are there homonyms in Spanish?) | SpanishDict Answers
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3 Vote

Unos homónimos son dos palabras que suenan exactamente lo mismo, pero se escriben de manera diferente y tienen significados diferentes. En inglés, algunos ejemplos son "their and there", "steel and steal", y "steak and stake". ¿Aparte de la utilización de acentos con las palabras interrogativas ("qué y que", "quién y quien", etc.), son algunos homónimos en español? ¿Y sí no, por qué hay una palabra "homónimo" en español.?

(Homonyms are two words that sound exactly the same, but they are spelled differently and they have different meanings. In English, some examples are "their and there, "steel and steal", and "steak and stake". Apart from the use of accent marks with the interrogative words ("qué y que", "quién y quien", etc.), are there any homonyms in Spanish? And if not, why is there a word "homonym" in Spanish?)

  • Posted Nov 10, 2009
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15 Answers

2 Vote

By the way, in not all cases will homonyms be spelled differently (homograph vs. homophone).

Here is a list of a few in Spanish: Hómonimos

  • There are also heteronyms and metronyms that may also qualify for this discussion, but for symplicity, I just went with "homonym". - jrey0474 Nov 10, 2009 flag
1 Vote

Bueno, no es un homónimo, pero algo interesante es que "me siento" podría ser de "sentirse" o de "sentarse." Pero el significado sería claro con contexto.

1 Vote

Apart from the use of accent marks with the interrogative words ("qué y que", "quién y quien", etc.), are there any homonyms in Spanish?

Diacritical accent marks aren't limited to interrogative pronouns.

el, él tu, tú esta, ésta, etc.

1 Vote

there is an old sentence my dad taught when i was a child that always made me laugh, as he made no difference between b and v sound:

¡vaya con la yegua baya que saltó la valla y se comió la baya!

let's see who can figure it out! tongue laugh

  • Go with the bay (reddish-brown) horse that jumped over the fence and ate the berry - Izanoni1 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • the vaya in the beginning, in this case, goes as an exlamation, so it's more like a wow!, but that is great! - zenejero Nov 10, 2009 flag
0 Vote

Claro que sí, por ejemplo:

ciento y siento

  • jejejejejejjejeje, funny, but this is not everywhere, no cuenta;) - 00494d19 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • Por su puesto. Lo siento, ciento indultos. - jrey0474 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • I suppose not...because with ceseo/seseo it would not apply everywhere - Izanoni1 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • In Spain it might be more like "Lo siento, thiento indultos" - Izanoni1 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • only in madrid... - zenejero Nov 10, 2009 flag
0 Vote

meces y meses

  • no cuenta, haceis trampas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 00494d19 Nov 10, 2009 flag
0 Vote

Excelente pregunta, rey. En inglés conozco unos cuantos.

en español

tuvo / tubo

haya / aya

vasto/basto

  • Gracias, Heidita. Me olvidé la silenciosa "H". - jrey0474 Nov 10, 2009 flag
0 Vote

azar y asar

bello y vello

oí y hoy

errar y herrar

arroyo y arrollo (not sure if these count because the definitions are similiar....)

  • azar y asar in Spain don't have the same pronuntiation - SpanishSkype Mar 19, 2014 flag
0 Vote

Hi Izan, but they only sound the same in America, not in Spain. However, words spelled with a b and v do sound the same everywhere, so do the ones starting using y or ll.

  • You must have missed my comments below my post...that's what I meant by ceseo/seseo - Izanoni1 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • maybe I am using the wrong terminology....I thought that's what that was called - Izanoni1 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • not really heidi! some of us learned the two, the v and the b and it makes a difference when we speak! (i am adamant about it, so sorry to contradict you) - zenejero Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • zejero if you make a difference....you make a mistake...but that is up to you, I have no problem with that;) - 00494d19 Nov 10, 2009 flag
  • if i make a difference i make a mistake? how so? - zenejero Nov 10, 2009 flag
0 Vote

varios y barrios

  • Double 'rr' makes it very distince. Sorry Ken. But nice try anyhow! :-) - chaparrito Nov 13, 2009 flag
0 Vote

¡Hay muchos! Obviamente, no pensé lo suficiente. Gracias por todas las respuestas; miles de cabezas son mejor de una.

(Obviously, I didn't think about it enough. Thanks for all the responses; thousands of heads are better than one.)

0 Vote

Here's another one. And... its an important one. (Although our friends in Spain don't have to worry. wink)

casar - to marry (join someone else in marriage)

cazar - to hunt, chase, catch

Usage:

A man might offer to preside over the wedding of his lady-friend by saying: "Te quiero casar" but what if she heard: "Te quiero cazar" ???

grin

  • The thing about this particular example is that if you were in Spain, this might not be classified as a homonym. The letter "Z" is pronounced with the teeth between the tongue and sounds different from the letter "S" - miznandi Oct 20, 2012 flag
0 Vote

not really heidi! some of us learned the two, the v and the b and it makes a difference when we speak! (i am adamant about it, so sorry to contradict you)

Sorry to contradict you! Unless I am mistaken you are the one who reported in another thread that your Italian-speaking teacher of Spanish taught you that the two letters were pronounced differently. Unfortunately (for the purposes of this discussion), speakers of other languages that make a b/v distinction tend to hear what they want/expect to hear (and Italian is one of those languages). Ask them about "Valencia/Barcelona" and they will insist that they hear a difference. The reason is, simply, that they expect to hear a difference (because they are familiar with the spelling and the pronunciations of those letters are distinguished in their own languages) and they hear what they expect to hear..

Exercise: try a Google search with "b v Spanish pronunciation" (I did this recently)> High in the results was a thread from WordReference.com (which in turn, linked to another thread). The important fact was that there were a large number of responses from Spanish-speakers (higher than the responses from SpanishDict.com). For the most part, the answers fell into two categories: "There is no difference (citing various authorities) and "there are some schools/places where young children are taught to make a distinction because it will/should help them to avoid certain errors in orthography but that, as adults (or in casual conversation) they no longer made such a distinction.

Actually the difference between the "v" (of English) and the v/b of Spanish should be very easy to detect, even if your ears are prejudiced. The "b/v" of Spanish is bi-labial the "v" of English/Italian/French and other languages that make a distinction, is labio-dental. Even if you can't hear the difference, if you watch the speaker's mouth, you should be able to see whether, or not, the teeth are visible and contacting the lower lip.

According to the standard theory, (to the best of my knowledge propounded by all serious studies of Spanish phonetics (but I've only read three), the "v" is bilabial , not labiodental. If you have some evidence that there is widespread distinction between the pronunciations of b/v (you will probably need a somewhat stronger argument that "My Italian Spanish teacher told me ..."), By all means publish it! You may become rich and famous.

  • In Spain b and v is the same pronountiation. In Latin America there is a difference. - SpanishSkype Mar 19, 2014 flag
0 Vote

Pufff, ¡qué susto, Sam!

Me parecía leer que me contradecías....

De todas formas, esto se ha discutido muchas veces y en español no hay diferencia entre le v y la b.

slaudossmile

0 Vote

I agree with Zenejero, and I do not have any other ancestry than that of Mexican (Spanish speaking)... I do make a difference between "v" and "b" and I do recognize them as "labio dental" and "labial" respectively. That's how I learned them as a child in Mexico and that's how I was able to exceed in my Spelling Tests (Ortografía). Even though many people do not make an audible difference in modern times, and even when I was a child, I trained my self to remember the word with either sound to memorize the spelling, i.e. Benavides... benevolente... I was able to remember which "b/v sound" went where within the word. Many times I had to repeat the word myself after teacher's dictation to establish the correct spelling.

I was taught that in ancient times in the Spanish language, the difference existed and it was dropped out of usage... I am sad many people fail to use it and that the language has evolved to forget about it. But I do recognize the need for both sounds!!

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