Acentos con verbos monosílabos: guiar, liar, criar

Karlaina

Senior Member
English, United States
Greetings!

I am confused as to why verbs with just one syllable receive accent marks in the preterit.

For example:
yo guié and él guió
yo lié and ella lió
yo crié and Ud. crió
It seems to me that these accent marks are not serving any purpose. The verbs would be pronounced the same way if the accent marks were not written because the words are of one syllable only.

With verbs like ver and dar we do not include accent marks (yo vi, él dio), so why do we with other monosyllabic verbs?

Thank you for your response. :)
 
  • Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre

    1.2. Monosílabos.
    Las palabras de una sola sílaba no se acentúan nunca gráficamente, salvo en los casos de tilde diacrítica (→ 3.1): mes, bien, fe, fui, pan, vio. Puesto que, dependiendo de distintos factores, una misma secuencia de vocales puede articularse como diptongo (→ diptongo) o como hiato (→ hiato), para saber si una palabra es o no monosílaba desde el punto de vista ortográfico, hay que tener en cuenta que algunas combinaciones vocálicas se consideran siempre diptongos a efectos de acentuación gráfica, sea cual sea su pronunciación. En concreto, toda combinación de vocal abierta (a, e, o) + vocal cerrada (i, u), o viceversa, siempre que la cerrada no sea tónica, así como la combinación de dos vocales cerradas distintas, han de considerarse diptongos desde el punto de vista ortográfico. Esta convención es una de las novedades introducidas en la Ortografía académica de 1999. Por eso, algunas palabras que antes de esta fecha se consideraban bisílabas pasan ahora a ser consideradas monosílabas a efectos de acentuación gráfica, por contener alguna de las secuencias vocálicas antes señaladas, y, como consecuencia de ello, deben escribirse sin tilde. Estas palabras son formas verbales como crie, crio, criais, crieis (de criar); fie, fio, fiais, fieis (de fiar); flui, fluis (de fluir); frio, friais (de freír); frui, fruis (de fruir); guie, guio, guiais, guieis (de guiar); hui, huis (de huir); lie, lio, liais, lieis (de liar); pie, pio, piais, pieis (de piar); rio, riais (de reír); los sustantivos guion, ion, muon, pion, prion, ruan y truhan; y, entre los nombres propios, Ruan y Sion. No obstante, es admisible acentuar gráficamente estas palabras, por ser agudas acabadas en -n, -s o vocal, si quien escribe articula nítidamente como hiatos las secuencias vocálicas que contienen y, en consecuencia, las considera bisílabas: fié, huí, riáis, guión, truhán, etc. La pronunciación monosilábica es predominante en amplias zonas de Hispanoamérica, especialmente en México y en el área centroamericana, mientras que en otros países americanos como la Argentina, el Ecuador, Colombia y Venezuela, al igual que en España, es mayoritaria la pronunciación bisilábica.
     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Thanks, bat factor, but I still have some doubts.

    According to my understanding, the "i" is a weak vowel, so it forms a dipthong when it is paired with other vowels (unless it has an accent mark over it).

    The verb "guiar", for example, is not pronounced with two syllables (as in gui-ar), but rather one single syllable.

    The conjugation in the preterit, "yo guié" is also a single syllable, so the accent mark is not affecting its pronunciation whatsoever in the same way that the pronunciation of "yo vi" would not change if we added an accent mark to it: "yo ví."

    Am I missing something? :confused:
     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Agró, that explains it.

    Do I understand correctly that while it is permissible for monosyllabic words like "(yo) crie" to be written with accent marks, the most proper thing is to write them without?

    Thank you very much for your reply.
     

    Agró

    Senior Member
    Spanish-Navarre
    Agró, that explains it.

    Do I understand correctly that while it is permissible for monosyllabic words like "(yo) crie" to be written with accent marks, the most proper thing is to write them without?

    Thank you very much for your reply.
    I keep writing them with an accent: crié/guié/fiéç;crió/guió/fió, etc.
    I'm used to doing it, but it's not necessary any more.
     

    bat_factor

    Senior Member
    Spanish (European)
    Thanks, bat factor, but I still have some doubts.

    According to my understanding, the "i" is a weak vowel, so it forms a dipthong when it is paired with other vowels (unless it has an accent mark over it).

    The verb "guiar", for example, is not pronounced with two syllables (as in gui-ar), but rather one single syllable.

    The conjugation in the preterit, "yo guié" is also a single syllable, so the accent mark is not affecting its pronunciation whatsoever in the same way that the pronunciation of "yo vi" would not change if we added an accent mark to it: "yo ví."

    Am I missing something? :confused:
    Personally, I've always heard verbs like "guiar" pronounced with two syllables, so the accent mark does make a pretty big difference. In spoken Spanish, at least here in Spain, you can tell the past tense (gui-'e) from the subjunctive ('gui-e) when you hear it, which wouldn't happen if you pronounced it as one single syllable.

    From what Agró posted, I see it is different in other countries, so you might as well use what's easier for you. :)
     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    In spoken Spanish, at least here in Spain, you can tell the past tense (gui-'e) from the subjunctive ('gui-e) when you hear it, which wouldn't happen if you pronounced it as one single syllable.
    Actually, the preterit and subjunctive forms would never be confused because the present tense forms of guiar (as well as the other aforementioned verbs) suffer a stem change (i → í).

    One would say, therefore:
    Es importante que Ud. nos guíe. (The accent here serves to break up the dipthong forming an hiatus; the word is grave and pronounced as two syllables: guí-e.)

    But on the other hand:
    Ayer yo guie un grupo de turistas. (This word is a single syllable word - aguda by default.)

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
     

    elianecanspeak

    Senior Member
    English - EEUU
    "Guiar" does not require an accent mark because it ends in "r". All the infinitive s of verbs have the stress on the -ar, -er. or -ir ending, and they are always separate syllables.
     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    If I have understood the previous responses correctly, then there should be some changes made on the WordReference conjugation pages, as they reflect the old spelling (with accent marks). This was what threw me off in the first place. :eek:

    ¿De acuerdo?





    "Guiar" does not require an accent mark because it ends in "r". All the infinitive s of verbs have the stress on the -ar, -er. or -ir ending, and they are always separate syllables.
    Elaine, I'm not sure if I am misunderstanding you or if you misunderstood my question... I am asking about certain monosyllabic conjugations of these monosyllables.

    For example, yo guie vs yo guié.
     

    elianecanspeak

    Senior Member
    English - EEUU
    Hi Karliaina -- I was replying to, and disagreeing with, this statement in your previous post (#8)

    Originally Posted by Karlaina .

    The verb "guiar", for example, is not pronounced with two syllables (as in gui-ar), but rather one single syllable
    Originally Posted by elianecanspeak
    "Guiar" does not require an accent mark because it ends in "r". All the infinitive s of verbs have the stress on the -ar, -er. or -ir ending, and they are always separate syllables.
    Summary : "Guiar" is pronounced in two syllables, not one, and the stress is on the final syllable as it is with all infinitives.
     

    bat_factor

    Senior Member
    Spanish (European)
    Actually, the preterit and subjunctive forms would never be confused because the present tense forms of guiar (as well as the other aforementioned verbs) suffer a stem change (i → í).

    One would say, therefore:
    Es importante que Ud. nos guíe. (The accent here serves to break up the dipthong forming an hiatus; the word is grave and pronounced as two syllables: guí-e.)

    But on the other hand:
    Ayer yo guie un grupo de turistas. (This word is a single syllable word - aguda by default.)

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    I don't really know about stem changes, I'm just saying that in some cases, including those you are asking about, it is also correct to pronounce certain words as two syllables, in which case they also need the appropriate accent marks when written.

    For instance, if you considered the word "criar" to have two separate syllables, the past tense would need an accent mark ("crié"), since it is aguda and ends in a vowel. If, however, you considered it to be a monosyllabic word, it wouldn't need the accent.

    Going back to what Agró posted before (which, by the way, comes from the RAE's DPD entry on accent marks):

    (...) es admisible acentuar gráficamente estas palabras, por ser agudas acabadas en -n, -s o vocal, si quien escribe articula nítidamente como hiatos las secuencias vocálicas que contienen y, en consecuencia, las considera bisílabas: fié, huí, riáis, guión, truhán, etc. La pronunciación monosilábica es predominante en amplias zonas de Hispanoamérica, especialmente en México y en el área centroamericana, mientras que en otros países americanos como la Argentina, el Ecuador, Colombia y Venezuela, al igual que en España, es mayoritaria la pronunciación bisilábica.
    So basically, both are correct; they just depend on the person speaking. :)

    Oh and about the WordReference conjugator pages, they do reflect the old spelling, but since it is still a perfectly correct spelling, I don't think it's a problem. ^_^
     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Summary : "Guiar" is pronounced in two syllables, not one, and the stress is on the final syllable as it is with all infinitives.
    According to the "rules," the word guiar should be pronounced as a single syllable: When a weak vowel, like the "i," is paired with another vowel, in this case "a," the result is a diphthong (meaning that the two are pronounced as a single syllable). The "u" in guiar is there only to preserve the hard sound of the "g" and is not pronounced. The result should be a word pronounced kind of like "gyar."

    For this reason, I maintain that the preterit forms of such verbs should not be written with accent marks.

    However, it seems that the words used to be written with accent marks just like and vió, and so the spelling with the accent mark tends to be considered an acceptable alternate.

    Also, the accent marks in the preterit on verbs like guiar would not separate the diphthongs at all because the accent marks would all be on the hard vowels: guié, guió. Accent marks on hard vowels only serve for emphasis - not to separate what should be a diphthong.

    For example, words ending in -ión ("o" being the hard vowel) are not pronounced com-pren-si-ON, but rather com-pren-SION. If the accent mark were over the weak vowel (the "i"), then it would serve to form an hiatus. Consequently, the word would become, com-pren-SI-on. The accent mark is always placed on the hard vowel of a diphthong:

    mur-CIE-la-go (not murcíelago → mur-CI-e-la-go)
    ten-tem-PIE (not tentempíe → ten-tem-PI-e)
    CIE-na-ga (not cíenaga → CI-e-na-ga)
    HUER-fa-no (not húerfano → HU-er-fa-no)

    And notice the way the accent mark on the weak vowel is used to separate the diphthong, creating an hiatus:

    pro-fe-CI-a (not profeciá → pro-fe-CIA)
    bru-je-RI-as (not brujeriás → bru-je-RIAS)
    mo-no-te-IS-mo (not monoteismo or monotéismo → mo-no-TEIS-mo)
    ro-cí-o (not roció → ro-CIO)
    PU-a (not pua or puá → PUA)
    ra-IZ (not raiz or ráiz → RAIZ)
    pro-te-I-na (not proteina or protéina → pro-TEI-na)
    es-ca-lo-FRI-os (not escalofriós → es-ca-lo-FRIOS)

    The accent mark on the "e" does not serve the purpose of separating the diphthong, as the "e" is a hard vowel.

    My conclusion, based on Agro's information is that the spelling WITHOUT the accent mark is the preferred one, as it follows the "rules," but the spelling with the accent mark is acceptable.

     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Oh and about the WordReference conjugator pages, they do reflect the old spelling, but since it is still a perfectly correct spelling, I don't think it's a problem. ^_^
    You're right, bat factor. I agree: it's not a problem... just confusing for those of us learning the language with all the rules, etc. :rolleyes:

    Why include the old spellings of some verbs and not others? Why not provide the most up-to-date information?

    Perhaps they could include BOTH spellings the way they do when a verb has a double past participle or with the verb yacer? :D
     

    Karlaina

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    This is the conjugation chart provided by the DRAE for "guiar". When in doubt, click on the "conjugar" button next to the word you are looking up.
    Perfect. Gracias, Agró.

    The DRAE conjugation chart contains the conjugations without accents marks. That settles it for me! :cool:

    :confused: When I click on the "conjugar" button, it just brings me to the WR conjugation chart (que no concuerda con el DRAE en este caso).

    I really appreciate your help! I will have to start going directly to the DRAE conjugation charts.

    Saludos. :)
     

    bat_factor

    Senior Member
    Spanish (European)
    You're right, bat factor. I agree: it's not a problem... just confusing for those of us learning the language with all the rules, etc. :rolleyes:

    Why include the old spellings of some verbs and not others? Why not provide the most up-to-date information?

    Perhaps they could include BOTH spellings the way they do when a verb has a double past participle or with the verb yacer? :D
    I so understand what you mean. Still, if it's any comfort, even us natives get rather confused sometimes. ;)

    Just for the record, though, I've never seen "ví" or "vió" spelled with accent marks... o_O

    But in any case, Agró's advice here is probably the best you can take: when in doubt, check the DRAE conjugator. You'll definitely get it right that way. ^_^

    Good luck with your learning! :)
     
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