HomeQ&A'D' - The 'killer' consonant

'D' - The 'killer' consonant

7
votes

I've seen quite a few posts on pronunciation of 'R' and 'V/B' but none on 'D'. And yet I have found 'D' the hardest letter to get to grips with, particularly when trying to understand spoken Spanish.

It seems to depend very much on where it is in the word. At the beginning I have heard it pronounced just like an English 'R' - "me ras" for "me das". This is really confusing when you are trying to get the meaning of something.

Then in the middle it seems to be like an English 'D' but softer, so I am alright there.

But then we get to the ends of words and we have 'R', 'L' 'RL' or even nothing at all! If I ever have to say 'Tengo sed' for real I am afraid I will die of thirst before I am understood.

The question is, am I alone or am I seriously DEficient? hmmm

What do others think?

3205 views
updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by Jespa
getting my vote, jespa - 00494d19, OCT 27, 2009
try this site to hear people from various Spanish-speaking countries talk about a wide range of topics: http://www.laits.utexas.edu/spe. The videos are accompanied by transcripts, without which there are many words I would not have identified properly - dcrussell, OCT 27, 2009
Thanks dcrussel! This question is yielding a super harvest of links to research. - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009

7 Answers

2
votes

It should never sound like the English "r" (which is, by the way, a very unusual sound; Mandarin is the only other language that I know of that has a "retroflex r sound")..

When "d" is intervocalic (or at the end of a word) it can sound very much like the "th" of English as used in "them" (the similarity of sounds also accounts for the Brooklynese "des, dem, dose" pronunciations). In a number of regions the "d" of "-ado" / "ido" (common as terminations for past participles, is often not pronounced.

For the "standard" pronunciation of "d" in Spanish, consult this pronunciation guide (under "occlusivas")

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by samdie
Fair enough; the example I gave was probably an exception. It's from Limón y Sal by Julieta Venegas, the 'Unplugged' version when she sings "Pero a todo lo demás le gana lo bueno que me das" I just hear that as "me ras" - could be my ears I guess :-) - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
And BTW, thanks for the link I will have a careful look at that. - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
Great link Samdie...This site teaches similarly to the way in which I was taught when I was younger. Great link! - Izanoni1, OCT 27, 2009
1
vote

Try listening to the word Madrid in English and then in Spanish.

The English pronounces the 2 Ds whereas Spanish sounds more like "Mathrith" For my ears anyway.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by ian-hill
tha tis correct - 00494d19, OCT 27, 2009
Absolutely - went there in May (super city!) and I think I got that one pretty well! ;-) - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
1
vote

You are DEficient! Haha just kidding. Depends on the country where it's spoken, I've heard (from songs and movies depending on the region) a normal sounding d to more of a kind of 'th' sounding soft d. Kinda like "días" sounds almost like "thee-ahs".

I think it depends on the word, who is speaking it, and what region or dialect/accent they speak.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by cheeseisyummy
I've haerd it as "th" in Belize. - Seitheach, OCT 27, 2009
I think that is what I meant by the 'softer' D I have heard a lot. - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
1
vote

Samdie said:

In a number of regions the "d" of "-ado" / "ido" (common as terminations for past participles, is often not pronounced.

I've often heard Puerto Ricans say pesc'ao (pescado) and cuid'ao (cuidado). The also drop their "s" in many words, i.e., ¿Cómo e'tas?

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by --Mariana--
That would really throw me! My next door neighbours lived in the DR for years and have commented how they drop their 'S's all the time too. - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
0
votes

You're not alone, English speakers do find them quite challenging. I guess you also find it interesting how the hard g (as in gato) is pronounced, at least in Spain. It's like a mixture of g & k.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by Deanski
Yes, I have picked up the difference - more of a hollow sound, maybe? - Jespa, OCT 27, 2009
0
votes

place the tip of tongue on upper teeth. To see what 'am talking about go to http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/#

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by 00769608
0
votes

This isn't exactly have to do with D, but here is an example of how different people pronounce letters/words. BEBE from spain sings the song Buscome, but if you listen she drops the S so it sounds like bucome:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sb19Pjdt70

Seems many from spain do this with the S in words.

updated OCT 27, 2009
posted by cheeseisyummy
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