HomeQ&ALápiz and Fácil

Lápiz and Fácil

3
votes

The accents in Lápiz and Fácil seem to serve no purpose.

The penultimate syllable is usually emphasized so why do these words have accents?

Are there any other words like this?

12417 views
updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by ian-hill

10 Answers

9
votes

Hi, Ian. If a word ends in a consonant other than "n" or "s", the last syllable is stressed unless there is a written accent.

If a word ends in a vowel or "n" or "s" the second to last syllable is stressed unless there is a written accent.

hence, the accents are there for pronunciation purposes...

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
Excellent...thank you! - --Mariana--, MAY 5, 2010
Thanks mountaingirl - but - why does the emphasis "have" to be on the penultimate syllable for these 2 words? - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
because that is how they are pronounced - LA-piz and FA-cil. If they were not pronounced that way there would be no accent... - mountaingirl123, MAY 5, 2010
But if there was no accent they could be pronounced that way anyway. - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
4
votes

Spanish orthography is meant to reflect the pronunciation. There is no answer to "Why do they pronounce a word a certain way?" other than, because they do. Once the pronunciation is established, your orthography can show how it pronounced (as in Spanish) or not (as in English).

However, it makes no more sense to ask "Why don't they say 'lapiz' (stress on the penult)?" that it does to ask "Why we don't say in English TOday (with the stress on the first syllable) or faCILE (with the stress on the final syllable)?"

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by samdie
English pronunciation is a mess - we all agree - but that does not mean one cannot / should not question Spanish pronunciation and spelling. - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
Further the "rules" were written after the pronunciation had been established. - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
The RAE is considering doing away with the "redundant " accents. If they are so necessary why would they do this? - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
4
votes

Just to clarify the 3 rules for stress:

Rule 1: If a word ends in a vowel of "n" or "s", the word is pronounced with the stress on the next to the last syllable. Examples: e-JEM-plo, Ha-BLA-mos, SA-ben.

Rule 2: If a word ends in a consonant other than "n" or "s", the word is pronounced with the stress on the last syllable. Examples: en-TRAR, fal-se-DAD, e-sta-TAL.

Rule 3: If a word is pronounced in a way that does not follow the above 2 rules, there is a written accent over the stressed vowel. Examples: fá-cil, di-fí-cil, lá-piz, te-lé-fono, sa-béis, ju-rí-di-co, et-cé-te-ra.

I hope this helps!

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
3
votes

"feliz" no accent mark so accented on last syllable

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by geofc
Why not for lápiz and fácil then? - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
They would be if it were not for the accents. - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 5, 2010
Make that there would be... - Delores--Lindsey, MAY 5, 2010
Exactly so why ? - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
3
votes

I don't know the answer to your question, but I have been corrected by spanish-speaking natives because I didn't emphasize the accent enough, on these exact two words.

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by Jack-OBrien
Me too. - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
2
votes

Words such as infinitives: "correr" and "abrir", and other words that end in a consonant such as "abril" and "lugar" have the stress on the last syllable because they end in a consonant.

This rule goes for all words ending with a consonant, except when the consonant is "n" or "s" in words such as corren and libros

If lápiz had no accent mark, it would be pronounced lapíz If fácil had no accent mark, it would be pronounced facíl.

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by bmancornelious
Wrong way round - if "lápiz" were pronounced with the accent on the last syllable it wouldn't have an accent mark. Usage rules, not diacritical marks. - geofc, MAY 5, 2010
2
votes

dont forget dipthongs.... i promise it's not inappropriate.

singers use these when singing, they are also used in english for that reason

its where theres a break in the word

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by lauren12
2
votes

Hi Ian. I have attempted to answer this question in my Website at: link text

Richard

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by richardjarrold
Thanks Richard - ian-hill, MAY 5, 2010
2
votes

"feliz" no accent mark so accented on last syllable

Feliz is stressed on the final syllable, so it doesn't need the stress.

updated MAY 5, 2010
edited by Issabela
posted by Issabela
2
votes

Great question, Ian.

Here's the only thing that I found online.

lápiz --> With accent because it's a word, ending in letter different from vowel, n or s.

updated MAY 5, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
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