Él tiene un carro (pronunciation)

Bob6831

New Member
English - American
I would like to know if there are some rules/guidelines for speaking Spanish fast.
I am talking about speaking the sentence "El tiene un carro" as an example. (Note that I know that the E should have an accent, but for some reason cannot do that on my keyboard, even though can do other accents)
When I hear someone speak that sentence fast, it sounds like "El tien un carro". I see that on many other phrases. It seems like it happens when there is a vowel followed by another vowel. I am doing exercises from Duolingo and when I play a sentence like this in "turtle" (slow) mode, I can hear each word clearly and fully, but in fast/regular mode, it seems to drop a letter or 2 - like the last e in tiene.
 
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  • Aviador

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Chile
    ... (Note that I know that the E should have an accent, but for some reason cannot do that on my keyboard, even though can do other accents)...
    No problem. Use the Ω dropdown menu to insert the characters you need. There you'll find all Spanish special characters: opening question and exclamations marks, the letter ñ and all lower and upper case accented letters.

    I would like to know if there are some rules/guidelines for speaking Spanish fast.
    I am talking about speaking the sentence "El tiene un carro" as an example […]
    When I hear someone speak that sentence fast, it sounds like "El tien un carro". I see that on many other phrases. It seems like it happens when there is a vowel followed by another vowel. I am doing exercises from Duolingo and when I play a sentence like this in "turtle" (slow) mode, I can hear each word clearly and fully, but in fast/regular mode, it seems to drop a letter or 2 - like the last e in tiene.
    Yes, just like in any language, when speakers of Spanish talk fast they tend to drop certain sounds. I don't think there is any rule to drop sounds when speaking fast, this is something that just spontaneously occurs depending on how difficult it is to articulate them between other sounds. If you ask a speaker why he dropped some sound, he will probably look at your with amazement and answer that he pronounced everything.
    There are certain patterns, though. I have noticed that native speakers of many places tend to drop vocals when they are in groups: /trenticinco/ instead of treinta y cinco; /aropuerto/ instead of aeropuerto; /lugo/ instead od luego. Also consonants are sometimes dropped: /imigrante/ instead of inmigrante; /oservar/ instead of observar, etc.
    I would not worry much about this, just make your best to pronounce everything correctly and if when speaking fast one or two sounds are lost, unless they are vital for a proper comprehension, most people will not notice or care.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Generally, you will notice "strong" vowels/syllables pull our attention away from "weak" ones, especially those right next or after. In your case, you have él tiene un carro, where tie and ca are "stressed" syllables; and we are left with two unstressed vowels in ne and un. Generally, /u/, /i/ = weak /e/ = middle /o/, /a/ = strong. But the "stress" in syllables matters, that is, which parts we say with a bit more strength; /e/ and /o/ can still be "pulled" when they are in unstressed syllables. yo tengo una camioneta can still sound like we are eating that o in tengo, while going unnoticed by natives, as Aviador mentions, though some of his examples are more "colloquial", while this would just be the "natural" process of spoken Spanish.

    Almost no words end in -u and -i, so you will mostly notice this with words ending in -e and -o (unstressed, unless marked -é or -ó). Articles (un, el) are always unstressed. The most common verb endings are unstressed (otherwise marked, like tendré, though the future tense is replaced in spoken Spanish by ir a + INF and the present tense: mañana vengo). Oftentimes /e/ and /o/ are "pulled" to sound closer to /i/ and /u/. You would hear Spanish speakers in the US saying airopuerto, herue, tualla, etc. Notice in those words they are also unstressed. Toalla and héroe are technically three syllables, but we make them into two. These are two sides of the same coin, and we just try to say two vowels in a single syllable, either when they are weak, or when we make them so.
     
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    jmx

    Senior Member
    Spain / Spanish
    Articles (un, el) are always unstressed.
    No, sorry, the definite articles are unstressed, but the indefinite ones are stressed, not strongly perhaps, but noticeably. Pronounce to yourself "el carro" and then, with the same exact intonation, "un carro": you'll hear the difference.
     
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    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Oh, I should have said almost always. Un is unstressed in yours and Bob's most of the time, but unos and unas are sometimes stressed, though not sure if always at start of sentence or after pause (so not a worry for this matter).

    Oh, maybe @duvija knows some good references for this. In reality ofc, the /e/ in el, él, tengo, aéreo, tiene can vary & it's not just stress↔no stress; but degrees, like you say, which also depend on position and us speakers.
     
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