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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Beatriz: Bienvenidos a Spanishpod101.com. Buenos días, me llamo Beatriz.
Joseph: Joseph here. Spanish Phonetic Series, Lesson 5 – “Diphthongs”. Muy bienvenidos. My name is Joseph. And I’m here along with Beatriz. ¿Qué tal Beatriz?
Beatriz: Muy bien, gracias Joseph. Welcome to the fifth lesson of the Spanish Phonetic Series of spanishpod101.com.
Joseph: Are you worried about speaking Spanish with a thick accent? Then you’re in the right place.
Beatriz: Here, we show you exactly how the Spanish language is pronounced, which will make it easier to speak and also easier to understand.
Joseph: Isn’t that the truth. In this series, we’ll break down the language and show you exactly how pronunciation, intonation, inflexion and spelling work in the Spanish language.
Beatriz: So, join us for this lesson of Spanishpod101.
LESSON FOCUS
Joseph: In Phonetics Lesson 4, we looked at the vowels in Spanish and heard what they sound like when they are located in open and closed syllables, and when they are in stressed or unstressed positions. Today, we’re going to pick up where we left off and study diphthongs.
Beatriz: Diptongos.
Joseph: That’s right. And we’ll also look at a common confusion that students have between the diphthong and the hiatus. And after that, we’ll practice what we’ve learned by giving some examples of diphthongs. Also, be sure to take advantage of the core curriculum lessons in the Newbie and Beginner Series at Spanishpod101.com. In this lesson, we’ll study diphthongs. Beatriz, this word might not be all that familiar to our listeners. So, why don’t you tell us what a diphthong is?
Beatriz: Ok. Un diptongo es un grupo de dos vocales distintas y contiguas que se pronuncian en una sola sílaba.
Joseph: Very good definition. So, a diphthong is a group of two distinct vowels that are next to each other, which are pronounced as a single syllable. The word “diphthong” comes from the Greek “diphthongos” which means “two sounds” or “two voices”. And in English we can see an example of a diphthong in the word “boil” where the “O” and the “I” are vowels, which are located next to each other and which are pronounced as a single syllable.
Beatriz: ¡Claro! Además en español tenemos dos tipos de diptongos. Diptongos crecientes...
Joseph: Arising diphthongs.
Beatriz: Y diptongos decrecientes...
Joseph: Falling diphthongs. Exacto. Now, arising diphthongs are those in which the second element is more sonorous than the first. Or, to put it in another way, we could say they are those that are formed by a closed “U” or “I”, and then an open “A”, “E” or “O”, moving from the closed to open vowel.
Beatriz: That’s right. We see this in the example “viaje”.
Joseph: Así es. And so, the following diphthongs, on the other hand, are those in which the first element is more sonorous than the second. And again, we can put this in other way, too. Those that are formed by an open “A”, “E” or “O”, and then a closed “U” or “I”. This time moving from the open to the closed.
Beatriz: Muy bien dicho. Y un ejemplo de un diptongo decreciente es “pausa”.
Joseph: Right. “Pausa” is an example of a falling diphthong.
Beatriz: ¿Sabes Joseph? Los diptongos no son muy difíciles.
Joseph: Beatriz, I agree. It sounds like they’re going to be really difficult when you hear the word “diptongos” or diphthongs, but really they’re just like little teams of vowels that work together.
Beatriz: Así es. Son pequeños equipos de vocales que funcionan como si fueran una sola vocal.
Joseph: And that’s really the key to this whole thing, that they work together and therefore they’re pronounced as a single syllable. That’s the most important thing is to pronounce them as a single syllable. Ok. Now, let’s look at a common mistake related to the pronunciation of diphthongs.
Beatriz: Sounds like a good idea.
Joseph: Beatriz, what is a common mistake made by students who are just starting out in the process of learning Spanish pronunciation?
Beatriz: Bueno, un error muy común es el de pronunciar un diptongo como si fuera un hiato.
Joseph: “Un hiato”. Yes, you mean “a hiatus.”
Beatriz: Exactly.
Joseph: So, a common error you say, is to pronounce a diphthong as if it were a hiatus. And let’s remember that a hiatus is the occurrence of two vowel sounds without a pause or an intervening consonant sound.
Beatriz: Right. So, listen closely to the word “caer”.
Joseph: “Caer”, spelled “c-a-e-r”. “Caer”.
Beatriz: “Caer”.
Joseph: Notice that the “A” and the “E” do not form a single unit. They’re not pronounced as a single syllable.
Beatriz: Claro, eso se debe al hecho de que el hiato es formado por dos vocales contiguas que pertenecen a sílabas diferentes.
Joseph: That is a great way to put it. So, a hiatus is formed by two contiguous vowels that belong to different syllables. That’s the key. They belong to different syllables. Beatriz, can you think of another example of this?
Beatriz: “Poseer”.
Joseph: “Poseer”, spelled “p-o-s-e-e-r”.
Beatriz: “Poseer”.
Joseph: Again, notice that the two “es” do not belong to the same syllable, and therefore they’re not pronounced as a single phonetic unit.
Beatriz: “Po-se-er”.
Joseph: Beatriz, this was a great one to point out. So, I wanted to make sure that we’re careful not to pronounce a diphthong.
Beatriz: Diptongo.
Joseph: Like a hiatus.
Beatriz: Un hiato.
Joseph: And vice versa. All right. Now, we’re going to do some practice.
Beatriz: La práctica.
Joseph: Now that we’ve learned what a diphthong is, how it can be either arising or descending and how to differentiate a diphthong from a hiatus, let’s go through and give some examples, so that our students can see exactly how these concepts apply to the Spanish language.
Beatriz: Me parece una muy buena idea.
Joseph: Ok. So, let’s start out with arising diphthongs.
Beatriz: Los diptongos crecientes.
Joseph: Right. So, the first arising diphthong that we’ll look at is the “IA”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “IA”.
Joseph: As in “comedia”. “C-o-m-e-d-i-a”.
Beatriz: “Comedia”, “co-me-dia”, “comedia”.
Joseph: Great. Now, the next arising diphthong that we’ll look at is “IE”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Ie”.
Joseph: As in “hierba”. “H-i-e-r-b-a”.
Beatriz: “Hierba”, “hier-ba”, “hierba”.
Joseph: Now, the next arising diphthong that we’ll look at is the “IO”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Io”.
Joseph: As in “cambio”. “C-a-m-b-i-o”.
Beatriz: “Cambio”, “cam-bio”, “cambio”.
Joseph: Muy bien. The next arising diphthong is the “UA”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Ua”.
Joseph: As in “agua”. “A-g-u-a”.
Beatriz: “Agua”, “a-gua”, “agua”.
Joseph: Great. Ok. So, the next arising diphthong that we’ll look at is the “UE”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Ue”.
Joseph: As in “encuentro”. “E-n-c-u-e-n-t-r-o”.
Beatriz: “Encuentro”, “en-cuen-tro”, “encuentro”.
Joseph: All right. And the last arising diphthong that we’ll cover is the “OU”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Uo”.
Joseph: As in “antiguo”. “A-n-t-i-g-u-o”.
Beatriz: “Antiguo”, “an-ti-guo”, “antiguo”.
Joseph: Ok. So, again, those were the arising diphthongs. Now, let’s look at the falling diphthongs. The first one that we’ll go over is the “AU”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Au”.
Joseph: As in “causa”. “C-a-u-s-a”.
Beatriz: “Causa”, “cau-sa”, “causa”.
Joseph: Great. The next falling diphthong that we’ll look at is the “AI”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Ai”.
Joseph: As in “paisaje”. “P-a-i-s-a-j-e”.
Beatriz: “Paisaje”, “pai-sa-je”, “paisaje”.
Joseph: Muy bien. And the next falling diphthong that we’ll look at is the “EU”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Eu”.
Joseph: As in “deuda”. “D-e-u-d-a”.
Beatriz: “Deuda”, “deu-da”, “deuda”.
Joseph: Very good. The next falling diphthong that we’ll cover is the “EI”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Ei”.
Joseph: As in “peine”. “P-e-i-n-e”.
Beatriz: “Peine”, “pei-ne”, “peine”.
Joseph: Great. This brings us to the last falling diphthong that we’ll cover today. It is the “OI”, which is pronounced?
Beatriz: “Oi”.
Joseph: As in “trapezoide”. “T-r-a-p-e-z-o-i-d-e”.
Beatriz: “Trapezoide”, “tra-pe-zoi-de”, “trapezoide”.
OUTRO
Joseph: Great. So, this should give us a better idea of how diphthongs are pronounced in the Spanish language.
Beatriz: Como pueden escuchar, pronunciamos los diptongos como una sola sílaba.
Joseph: Right. As you can hear, diphthongs are pronounced as a single syllable. That’s the most important thing to remember here. And, we should also mention that this list does not include all of the possible diphthongs in the Spanish language. But the ones that we’ve covered here, are very common and because of that, they’re very useful for students who are just starting out. So, this will conclude today’s lesson, but be sure to stop by Spanishpod101.com and check out the Newbie and Beginner Series, where you’ll learn the fundamentals of grammar and usage. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to use our form and comment on today’s lesson. See again tomorrow!
Beatriz: ¡Ya nos vemos mañana!

11 Comments

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SpanishPod101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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So, which of the diphthongs do you find to be the hardest to pronounce? As we said in the lesson, the diphthongs that we went over are not all of the possible diphthongs in the Spanish language. Can anyone think of one which we didn't cover?

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Spanishpod101.com
Tuesday at 12:28 pm
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Hola Kiri,


Sorry about the audio.

We'll change it for the correct audio ASAP.

Thank you for noticing and sorry for the inconvenience.


Saludos,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Kiri
Monday at 4:53 am
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The audio pronunciation for "encuentro" (regular speed) is a different recording altogether. It says "En la edad de mi abuelo, no habia computadoras." :)

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SpanishPod101.com
Tuesday at 1:34 pm
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Hola Estaba,


Thank you for your comment!

Our team will review the sentences, in order to fix it or correct it.


Saludos,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Esteban
Wednesday at 11:05 pm
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From vocab section:


Es el trapezoide que tiene dos pares de lados iguales, pero no paralelos.

"It's the trapezoid that has two sets of equal but not parallel sides."


I think this example needs to be re-written. From my recollection of high school geometry, if a four-sided figure has two sets of equal sides, they must also be parallel. Also, the definition of a trapezoid is a quadrilateral with only one pair of parallel sides. So there is no such thing as a trapezoid with no parallel sides.

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SpanishPod101.com
Sunday at 3:22 am
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Hola Estaban,


Thank you for the feedback.

It can be confusion, OU, UO. :sweat_smile:

The correct diphthong UO.


Gracias,

Saludos,

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Esteban
Thursday at 3:14 am
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From the lesson transcript:


Joseph: All right. And the last arising diphthong that we’ll cover is the “OU”, which is

pronounced?


Beatriz: “Uo”.


Joseph: As in “antiguo”. “A-n-t-i-g-u-o”.


Joseph verbally says "OU" in the audio and that is what is in the transcript above. I think he meant to say "UO" as Beatriz says.

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SpanishPod101.com
Saturday at 7:01 am
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Hola Darren ,


Here are more examples "pingüino, cigüeña agüita, ambigüedad, bilingüe". And Yes! they are forming diphthongs.


We also have tripthongs, but they are not use ofter. e.g. Paraguay, Uruguay, despreciéis, crisis.


Suerte,

Carla

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Darren
Wednesday at 7:36 am
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Very interesting. I have two questions about diphthongs. First of all, the u with an umlaut, isn't that effectively the same as the ue dipthong? And how come I don't see it that often? I can think of only averguenza (I can't type an umlaut) and I know I came acroos one or two more words with it, but that was it.


And also, are there tripthongs in Spanish, and if so, what are some of them?

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SpanishPod101.com
Tuesday at 5:48 pm
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Hola Karlene,


I've tried with both browsers and it's working fine.

Could you tell me what's exactly happening?

Thank you a lot for your comment!

Regards

Mélanie

Team SpanishPod101.com

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Karlene
Sunday at 11:24 am
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The pdf is not working in either Firefox or Chrome. Could you fix this please. Thanks.