3 Vote

Hola a todos!

I am wondering about the pronunciation of "yo" and the "y" sound in general. I grew up listening to Mexican Spanish (but am not a native speaker), and often heard it pronounced "jo". Is this common in all of Mexico, or only certain parts? How about in other Spanish-speaking countries?


  • Posted Jun 25, 2010
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7 Answers

2 Vote

*im not mexican but spanish is the same here and there lol... a bit diferent like english from USA and english from ENGLAND. the pronounciation is "JO" but in argentina they say "SHO" lol its funny *

  • yes, true, but that is only in Argentina, go for the Jo, that is standard;) - 00494d19 Jun 25, 2010 flag
2 Vote

I have heard it both ways! My husband pronounces it "yo" (as in 'Yo! What's up?'), and spells it "llo," whereas I've heard people he has spoken to in the grocery store pronounce it as "jo" (as in 'a hot cup of joe'). I honestly think it depends on where a person is from. On a daily basis I will have at least three or four men who are from diffrent parts of Mexico in my livingroom (my husband and his family/friends) and each one of them will pronounce a few words diffrently and have a few moments of utter confusion until one (or all) figures out what is being said. It never fails! I've always found that to be interesting.

1 Vote

I've heard many hispanic people pronounce the "j" with a "y" or "u" sound. My husband says "job" like "yob" and the name "Judy" like "Udy" and "Jonathan" like "Yawnathan." Has any one else heard a native Spanish speaker talk like that? Is it because they have a harder time pronouncing the English letters?

  • I don't get that; it's as if they read everything they say. They are perfectly capable of pronouncing those words and names correctly. - salsero69 Jun 26, 2010 flag
0 Vote

It all depends on the location. For example, in Medellin in Colombia, yo is pronounced jo. Actually almost any word that has a y sound (both Y's and LL's) is said like a j or something like shz. That is why there are also two ways to say Medellin: me-de-shzín / me-de-yín. The funny thing is, I have heard some Colombians ask me "Jes or no?" because they think that all y's are said like j's. (Personally, I think the sound of J in Spanish is beautiful, so I use it, but in reality it's not that hard to switch back to Y.)

0 Vote

Gracias, that answers some questions I have had about J and Y. Always wondered why my friend called jello, yello. My daughter always says the jello is not yellow, it is green! JeJe. So Cute!

0 Vote

Jew know, I think I have the answer to the y and J riddle! The y sound in many Spanish words is often strong, falling on an accent, as in payaso (clown). This strong stress perhaps produces an j-like sound given certain accents. But in truth a y or ll is always a ya and the J sound in place of the y is an accident of pronunciation, although not necessarily wrong or bad.

0 Vote

The way that yo (and y in general) is pronounced is truly is a regional thing. To say that the "correct" pronunciation is jo or to say that it is always yo completely ignores the sometimes very significant regional differences! Let's acknowledge and accept that there are regional differences in pronunciation without labelling them as "correct" or "incorrect".

Just a simple example of how striking the differences can sometimes be: In a recent conversation with a person from Argentina, it took me a while to figure out that she was talking about a beach - her pronunciation of playa (plazhya) was so different from the straight up playa pronunciation with which I am familiar.

The same principle also applies to the pronunciation of ll, although with this letter combination, the pronunciation can vary from person to person within the same region. KatieLou's answer particularly rings true for me when it comes to ll. Using the word llama as an example, here are some of the ways that this is pronounced: yama, jama, zhyama, lyama.

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