use of accent mark

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I'm a beginner in Spanish. In the written language, how do I know when to use an accent mark above a vowel? This is a general question but I do have one example. I want to pluralize the word cabrón; do I need to include the accent mark? Thanks very much in advance.

13453 views
updated ABR 27, 2009
posted by owllady

14 Answers

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This was written by LAZARUS always a guarantee:


Heidita, you surely know how much I hate to correct you. wink

updated FEB 9, 2011
posted by 00e657d4
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This was written by LAZARUS always a garantee:

http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/show/7390/

Marcia, I hope you find this helpful.

updated ABR 27, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Hi Gus,

Just one correction, the word "patío" (with accent mark) doesn't exist in Spanish. It should be patio (pa-tio). The kids can play on the playground. Los niños pueden jugar en el patio (de recreo).

Thank you, I made the needed corrections.

updated ABR 27, 2009
posted by 00769608
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Part Three
In Spanish the letter 'S? is separated from a following consonant

inspiración ins-pi-ra-cion
española es-'pa- ño-la
espuela es-pue-la
escuela es-cue-la
Inés I- nés

A tilde above an i or u dissolves the dyphthong and makes two different syllables.

Leído, le- i- do
Matias, Ma tí-as
Patio pa- tio
Pua pú-a

All other vowels combinations are separated into different syllables
Insister in-sis-tir
Concebir con- ce-bir

Constituir cons ti tu ir

More to follow

By the way I had help from Repase y Escriba by MaríaCanteli Dominicis and John Reynolds

Gramática de la lengua española
Paula Arenas Martín- Abril

Pequeño Larousee Ilustrado

More to come

updated ABR 27, 2009
posted by 00769608
0
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Hi Gus,

Just one correction, the word "patío" (with accent mark) doesn't exist in Spanish. It should be patio (pa-tio). The kids can play on the playground. Los niños pueden jugar en el patio (de recreo).

updated ABR 27, 2009
posted by iker
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Is that explanation not a little deficient, especially to a beginner?

Well, I didn't realize my explanation left so much to be desired. Good thing Lazarus is the Spanish teacher and not me!

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by LadyDi
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**I thought there would be no accent mark, but I thought so for not quite the right reason! I'm certainly glad I asked.

I'll keep following this topic, it's very interesting. Thanks to all.**

Marcia, I wish to apologize for my comment. It is misleading, because it only discusses using an accent mark to place stress on syllables wherever that whoever decides how words are to be pronounced wants to put it.
Actually one of the more common uses of the accent mark is to shift stress from one vowel to another within the same syllable. I don't wish confuse you with detail as I don't know if you are familiar with diphthongs and tripthongs, etc., but there are "rules" about which syllable get stressed and also which vowel within the syllable get stressed. If you haven't already, you will learn about strong and weak wowels and which ones are stressed when they appear in certain combinations. Like the concept of using an accent mark to place stress on a syllable where the " other rules" do not place it, Spanish also uses the accent mark to place stress on the vowel that the " other rules" would not stress.
The basic concept to remember about using an accent mark is that it is a method of violating or sidestepping the other "rules".
It is simply saying "I know that the other rules say that the stress should go here, but I want it to go somewhere else, so I'm going to mark where I want you to place the stress".

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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**I thought there would be no accent mark, but I thought so for not quite the right reason! I'm certainly glad I asked.

I'll keep following this topic, it's very interesting. Thanks to all.**

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by owllady
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Addition to part two

words with three consonants together

emblema.... em'ble'ma

comprension.....com'pren'sion

estrujar....... es'tru'jar

rastrillo...... ras'tri'llo

contribuir......con'tri'buir

part three to come

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by 00769608
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Rules of Sillabication
part two

When three or more consonants appear between vowels eg.
enfrentar (the three consonant in the word enfrentar are, nfr..enfrentar),en-fren-tar notice that the thre consonants are easy to pronounce together, otherwise the consonants are split eg. cumplimentar
cum-pli-men-tar
part three is coming soon

disclaimer..any mistakes? please feel free to correct them or what the heck make mistakes yourself,after all we are here to learn and to have fun.

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by 00769608
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The rules on how to divide words (syllabication) needs to be known.
In order to learn how to stress(acentuate) a word in Spanish.

Rules for syllabication:

If a consonant is grouped with a following vowel,example
Panamericano is divided like this, pa-na-me-ri-ca-no
Puerto is divided like this, puer-to

When two consonants appear between vowels
example
Biblioteca.... bi-blio-te-ca
Agradecer.... a-gra-de-cer
Please notice that the two wordsabove are easy to pronounce together
But if there are words were two consonants are separated by a vowel and are hard to pronounce together then the consonants are split,example
Ambiguo am-bi-guo
Alrededor al-re-de-dor

Attention, there are about 5 more rules, however, I'll stop here in the hope that someone read this and caches any mistakes that I might of made. And will continue with the rules sometime tomorrow.

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by 00769608
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There's no accent on 'cabrones' because it ends in 's' so the accent should be on the penultimate syllable.

Is that explanation not a little deficient, especially to a beginner?

It assumes that you understand the concept that Spanish uses the accent mark to place stress on syllables other than those that the "rules" would place it on.

It may seem obvious to someone with your experience, but telling a beginner that because "it ends in 's' so the accent should be on the penultimate syllable." seems lacking to me. Allowing that he understood that you were saying that convention says that we want to put the stress on the next to the last syllable and because it ends in s that is also where the rules place it, he still has to understand the concept that if the rules place the stress where convention says we want it to be be, then we don't use a accent mark.

Actually I like the approach that Lazarus chose, but that is not the one that is usually presented in (Engl. learning Span.) grammar books. His approach is...if this happens (any of these 3 situations) then do this (use the accent). The usual method is: if this does not happen (convention and rules coincide, then do this (use the accent mark). I do not know why the latter method is chosen over the former so often.

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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ca-brÿn
ca-brO-nes

In both cases, the syllable with the 'o' is the stressed one, but the accent is used:

1) if the stress is on the last syllable, and the word ends in vowel, 'n' or 's'.
2) if the stress is on the penultimate syllable, and the word does not end in vowel, 'n' or 's'.
3) if the stress is on the any other syllable

"Cabrones" has the stress on the penultimate syllable, but it ends in 's', so no accent.

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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There's no accent on 'cabrones' because it ends in 's' so the accent should be on the penultimate syllable.

updated ABR 25, 2009
posted by LadyDi