2 Vote

Ex. in the word "triste", should I pronounce e as "ay" or like English e?

Also, how do I ask : How do you spell your name?"

Thank you!!!

  • Posted Jan 26, 2012
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6 Answers

3 Vote

I'm so glad you asked this question!

Really, the "e" at the end of a word is like a short "e" sound in English, NOT an "ay" sound.

For example, the name "José" is often pronounced "Hose- ay."

Really, it should be (phonetically) "Hos (s sound, not z)... -é (like in ed, not aid).

People tend to elongate it into "ay" but it's really choppier and sharper than that.

It's like the e in Egg (not pronounced "Ay"g or Every (not Avery) or Evolution (not Ay-volution) or Extreme (not Ay-xtreme).

We do have the equivalent sound in English, but people don't transfer it intuitively because it never falls at the end of a word in English.

Great question!

  • I'm not sure I completely agree withe the e in egg. I know people name Jose and I never heard them say it like "Hos-eh" its a pretty clear long A to my ear, like "Hos-ay". - discostew02 Jan 26, 2012 flag
  • Oh definitely, a lot of people named José go by the more English-sounding pronunciation, just like people named Carlos do. I suppose I should have chosen a word word instead of a name for my example. (Madre, come, qué, adelante...) - TejanaJo Jan 26, 2012 flag
  • "ay" sounds like day and that is not like the Spanish "e" which is more like the "e" in edit. - ian-hill Jan 26, 2012 flag
  • @discotew02: I think it's just your perception. As a native speaker, I'd go for "ho-SEH" (or "HO-seh", depending on various factors) any time. It may sound like "Ho-say" because of the stress on the "é" - Heimy Jan 26, 2012 flag
2 Vote

"ay" is correct. To ask how to you spell your name: "Como se escribe su nombre?"

  • I think "write" should not be confused with"spell"!! one is the verb "escribir" the other"deletrear" two quite different concepts. - faliron Jan 26, 2012 flag
  • @ faliron: I think both are acceptable in the Spanish-speaking world. "Escribir" might actually be more commonly used... Según el diccionario: how do you spell it? -> ¿cómo se escribe? (it also has "deletrear") - Goldie_Miel Jan 26, 2012 flag
1 Vote

I agree, however, maybe we should make a distinction between "ay" (as in pay) because it is not really the sound of the final e in Spanish. If you listen carefully and pronounce the word slowly, you will hear those "ay" sounds come out as a long a followed by an "ee" (try Sunday, it is most evident there). The sound of the final e in Spanish sounds more like the English "long a" as in gate or eight. It is a fine point, but maybe native Spanish speakers can hear the difference and find it part of an American/English accent?? tongue rolleye

0 Vote

I'm a native spanish speaker, fo me, the sound "e" in any pary of the word sounds as the E in: The, evolution, or any e of september.. **About triste.. It sounds TRIS-te, tris: trees but with a short ee (e like in theenglish alphabet). "te"like te in september.

I hope havent made the thing more complicate. XD

0 Vote

Because the English language is such a melting pot (and not so melted!) of many disparate sources, it is correct in some circles to use a phonetic (as in make it sound according to the "rules" of English) translation of foreign language words. That said when I hear someone pronounce José as Joe-see it REALLY grates my noodle! There are many examples of words (especially of Asian origin) that get 'mangled' thus - many because they are unpronounceable to English speakers! I believe that if you know where the word comes from you should respect the source and use the pronunciation that is apropos.

0 Vote

"ay" sounds like day and that is not like the Spanish "e" which is more like the "e" in edit.

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