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With a little help from a few different websites, I was able to find the Rules for Accentuation in Spanish. (Oddly, I didn't find it in Spanish on SD.)

Will you please proof-read this and tell me if it is correct? It is for a homework assignment.

A) Las palabras que terminan en consonante distinta a 'n' o 's' o vocal y tienen el acento fonético en la última sílaba. Se llaman 'agudas'. No llevan acento escrito.

B) Las palabras que terminan en vocal y en 'n' o 's' se pronuncian con el acento en la penúltima sílaba. Se llaman 'llanas' o 'graves'. No llevan acento escrito.

C) Todas las palabras que no sigan estas normas llevan un acento ortográfico, que indica dónde recae el acento fonético.

4 Answers

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If you'll permit a bit of linguistic philosophy, you have it completely backwards. Apart from one small suggestion (I added a comment to your post), I doubt that your teacher will be displeased by your effort (unless [which is unlikely], your teacher has a background in linguistics).

The prevailing opinion in linguistic circles these days (and for some time) is that the written language follows/reflects/depends upon the spoken language. English is a notable exception. Our spelling conventions often reflect the pronunciation of several hundred years ago and no effort has been made to "modernize" the spelling in order to correspond to modern pronunciation. Chinese and Japanese, too, make no attempt to make the writing system correspond to the spoken language (but they are operating on a completely different principle).

Thus you could say:

A) Las palabras que llevan énfasís en la última sílaba y que terminan en consonante distinta a 'n' o 's' o vocal no llevan acento escrito.. Se llaman 'agudas'.

B) Las palabras que llevan énfasís en la penúltima sílaba se llaman 'llanas' o 'graves' y si terminan en vocal o en 'n' o 's', no llevan tilde.

C) Todas demás palabras (que llevan énfasis en otra sílaba) llevan un acento ortográfico indicando donde recae el acento fonético.

People who learn Spanish as a second language typically approach it through the written language (and, only later, "advance" to the spoken language). Thus the tendency to say "You pronounce it thus because there is a written accent." Native speakers, on the other hand, usually learn how to say a word long before they learn how to write it. Thus, their writing reflects their pronunciation.

  • Thanks for the insight and suggestions. - MrSillyInc Oct 11, 2011 flag
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¡Hola!, MrSillyInc:

The SpanishDict information in regard to "stress" and "accents" is found on these two reference pages:
Stress, and

It may be that you have not yet "cruised" the reference pages to see the large amount of good information available there. Why not check out this link jus to be sure you know about it: ----> SpanishDictReferenceGuide.. You don't need to bookmark it because you can always access it under the "More", then "Reference" tabs at the top of the page.

  • Yes, yes. I know all that. What I do NOT know is if what I have written in Spanish is correct. I'm only looking for corrections to the Spanish text. - MrSillyInc Oct 10, 2011 flag
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This looks completely correct to me - but I'm not a native speaker.

I wonder if the punctuation is correct:

...distinta a 'n' o 's' o vocal ...

Maybe commas are used here, somewhat like in English?

Did you want to address the use of accent marks or for pronounciation? If for accent marks, you may want to include the accent rules for some personal pronouns, for certain irregular verbs (for example, sé), etc.

  • I wanted to address how to pronounce Spanish words. Thanks for your input. - MrSillyInc Oct 10, 2011 flag
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