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Lesson Transcript

Beatriz: Bienvenidos a Spanishpod101.com. Buenos días, me llamo Beatriz.
Joseph: Joseph here. Spanish Phonetic Series, Lesson 9 – “The fusion of words in Spoken Spanish – Part 2.”
Beatriz: Bienvenidos.
Joseph: Welcome.
Beatriz: I am Beatriz and I’m joined by Joseph. ¿Qué dices Joseph?
Joseph: Todo bien, gracias. Hi there. Welcome to the ninth lesson of the Spanish Phonetic Series of Spanishpod101.com. here, you’ll learn all the basics of pronunciation, intonation, inflexion and spelling, which will make it a lot easier to speak, as well as understand the Spanish language.
Beatriz: So, join us for this lesson of Spanishpod101.com.

Lesson focus

Joseph: In our last Phonetics Lesson, we began our study of metaplasms, and we learned about the sinalefa, which is the fusion of vowels at the end of one word and at the beginning of the next. Today, in Part 2 of this lesson on how words are fused in spoken Spanish, we’re going to take a look at a similar phenomenon which occurs with consonants. After that, we’ll talk a little bit about some common mistakes that students run into when learning Spanish pronunciation. And, we’ll finish up by doing some practice so that you can reinforce your understanding of the content that we’re going to cover in this lesson. Also, before we start, I just want to suggest that you check out the vocabulary transcripts with audio in the Learning Center. This is the ideal place to observe the kinds of phenomena that we’re talking about in this lesson. So, as we said, in our last Phonetics Lesson, we look at the sinalefa, which refers to the fusion of syllables, when the last syllable of one word ends in a vowel and the first syllable of the next begins with a vowel.
Beatriz: Claro. Hoy nos enfocaremos en la figura literaria de dicción que complementa a la sinalefa.
Joseph: And, Beatriz, what is this figure of diction that complements the sinalefa?
Beatriz: Se llama “eclipsis”.
Joseph: So it’s called “eclipsis”. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t sound much like a Spanish word.
Beatriz: Bueno, lo que pasa es que la mayoría de la terminología retórica proviene del griego.
Joseph: I see. So, the majority of rhetorical terms comes from Greek which also explains why we use the same word in English: eclypsis. So, Beatriz, can you tell us what this term means?
Beatriz: Claro. La eclipsis supone la fusión de las consonantes final e inicial de sendas palabras cuando aquéllas son idénticas o muy similares.
Joseph: So, eclypsis refers to the fusion of the final and initial consonant of two words when these consonants are identical or very similar. That doesn’t seem so hard. It’s kind of a big word for an easy definition, don’t you think?
Beatriz: Sí, entiendo lo que quieres decir. Pero, a la vez, es el término preciso y cuando se trata de la fonética, es esencial que sea preciso.
Joseph: That’s true. As you say, this is the precise term, and it’s essential to be precise when we’re dealing with phonetics. Ok. So, Beatriz, can you give us an example of the eclypsis?
Beatriz: “Carlos sabe llegar”.
Joseph: “Carlos sabe llegar”. Great. So, in this example, we notice that the name Carlos ends with an “S”, and we also notice that the verb “sabe” begins with an “S”, so the eclypsis or the fusion of these consonants allows us to pronounce these “Ss” as a single consonant sound. Instead of saying “Carlos sabe” we say “Carlos-sabe”, in which this “S” sound links these two words together phonetically.
Beatriz: Claro, la eclipsis no es muy difícil. Y una vez que lo aprendas terminarás hablando con más fluidez y ritmo.
Joseph: Yes, I think you’re right. This isn’t all that difficult, and as you say, Beatriz, once you learn it, you’ll end up speaking more fluidly and rhythmically which is such a big part of the sound of Spanish.
Beatriz: Así es, Joseph. Además, la eclipsis resulta un poco más fácil que la sinalefa, porque no existen tantas combinaciones para ésta como para aquélla.
Joseph: Yes, that’s a good point, too. The eclypsis is a little easier than the sinalefa, because there aren’t as many possible combinations for the former as there are for the latter. So, now that we have a good understanding of what eclypsis is, let’s take a moment and talk about some common mistakes that students run into when they’re learning how this applies to the pronunciation of Spanish.
Beatriz: Suena muy bien, Joseph. Yo diría que el error más común con respecto a la eclipsis es el de pronunciarla como si hubiera una pausa entre las dos palabras.
Joseph: That’s an interesting point, Beatriz. So, a really common error is to pronounce an eclypsis as if there were a pause between the two words. I see what you’re saying. And the whole point of the eclypsis is to connect or fuse these words together. And this makes it a lot easier to pronounce. If on the other hand you put a pause in between the words, and pronounce the consonant twice, you might find yourself stuttering.
Beatriz: Pero claro, observemos el siguiente ejemplo, “David dice que va a venir”. Aquí, si no fusionamos la “d” final de “David” con la “d” inicial de “dice”, tartamudearíamos “David dice”, “d”, “d”.
Joseph: Right, right. So, if we look at the example “David dice que va venir”, we notice that if we don’t fuse the final “D” of “David” with the “D” of “decir”, then we stutter when we say “David dice”. And, Beatriz, can you show us what this should sound like when the consonant “D” from both words is fused, which is to say when there is eclypsis?
Beatriz: “David-dice que va venir”.
Joseph: Right. So, again, we say “David-dice”, fusing that “D”.
Beatriz: Se nota que es un aspecto importante de la fonética española.
Joseph: Yes, I think you’re right. You can tell that it’s an important aspect of Spanish Phonetics. The eclypsis along with the sinalefa allow us to string words together.
Beatriz: Claro. Y esos aspectos son importantes tanto para la pronunciación como para la comprensión.
Joseph: That’s a great point. These aspects are as important for pronunciation as they are for listening comprehension. So, if you’re a new student to the language and you’re just starting to incorporate this into your pronunciation habits, it’s also important to recognize that Spanish speakers are constantly fusing vowels with vowels and consonants with consonants. All right. Now, in order to reinforce our understanding of eclypsis, let’s give some concrete examples.
Beatriz: Ejemplos concretos.
Joseph: That’s right. Ok. So, Beatriz, just like last time, why don’t you start out by giving us an example sentence with eclypsis at normal speed, then I’ll break it down word by word and point out where the fusion of consonants occurs and then, we’ll both repeat it again at normal speed?
Beatriz: Muy buena idea, Joseph. ¿Vamos?
Joseph: Yes, Madame. Let’s begin.
Beatriz: “No dicen nada”.
Joseph: “No dicen nada”. So, in this example, we see that the verb “dicen” ends with an “N”, and that the indefinite pronoun “nada” begins with an “N”. So, instead of saying “No dicen nada”, we say...
Beatriz: “No dicen-nada”.
Joseph: “No dicen-nada”. Great. Now, let’s move on and look at another example.
Beatriz: “No habrá otra oportunidad de viajar”.
Joseph: “No habrá otra oportunidad de viajar”. This time, we see that the noun “oportunidad” ends with a “D”, and that the preposition “de” begins with a “D”. so, instead of saying “No habrá otra oportunidad de viajar”, we say...
Beatriz: “No habrá otra oportunidad-de viajar”.
Joseph: “No habrá otra oportunidad-de viajar”. Good. Now, let’s look at another example.
Beatriz: “Carmen no suele hablar rápido”.
Joseph: “Carmen no suele hablar rápido”. So, this time, there’re two instances of eclypsis. First, we see that the name “Carmen” ends with an “N”, and that the adverb “no” begins with an “N”. Also, we see that the verb “hablar” ends with an “R”, and that the adverb “rápido” begins with an “R”. So, we don’t separate these words when we say “Carmen no suele hablar rápido”, but rather...
Beatriz: “Carmen-no suele hablar-rápido”.
Joseph: “Carmen-no suele hablar-rápido”. Great. That’s look at another example.
Beatriz: “Es fácil leer revistas simplonas”.
Joseph: “Es fácil leer revistas simplonas”. So, this is a great example. To begin, notice that the adjective “fácil” ends with an “L”, and that the verb “leer” begins with an “L”. Added to that, we see that the same verb “leer” ends with an “R”, and that the noun “revistas” begins with an “R”. And finally, we notice that that same noun “revistas” ends with an “S”, and that the adjective “simplonas” begins with an “S”. So, here, there are three instances of eclypsis. So, instead of saying “Es fácil leer revistas simplonas”, we say...
Beatriz: “Es fácil-leer-revistas-simplonas”.
Joseph: “Es fácil-leer-revistas-simplonas”. That’s a really great example. Beatriz, how about one more?
Beatriz: All right. “Los socios suelen negociar repentinamente”.
Joseph: “Los socios suelen negociar repentinamente”. So, in this example, every word is fused with another word. To begin, we see that the article “los” ends with an “S” and that the noun “socios” begins with an “S”. And then, recalling that “socios” ends with an “S”, we see that it’s fused with the auxiliary verb “suelen”, which also begins with an “S”. And from there, we see that that same auxiliary verb “suelen” ends with an “N” and that the main verb “negociar” begins with an “N”. And finally, recalling that the main verb “negociar” ends with an “R”, we notice that it fuses with the adverb “repentinamente” which begins with an “R”. So, instead of saying “Los socios suelen negociar repentinamente”, we say...
Beatriz: “Los-socios-suelen-negociar-repentinamente”.


Joseph: “Los-socios-suelen-negociar-repentinamente”. Ok. Well, hopefully that cleared up some of the confusion related to the pronunciation of phrases and sentences in Spanish. Make sure that you stop by Spanishpod101.com and pick up the PDF for this lesson.
Beatriz: ¡No se pierdan!