Guanajuato (Pronunciation, "gu_")

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Michael Zwingli

Senior Member
English - American (U.S. - New England)
Hello, all.
I have a question on pronunciation, and since there is no "Spanish pronunciation" forum, I have decided to ask it here.
I have occasion to wonder about the pronunciation throughout the Spanish speaking world of the "g" within the phoneme "gu_" as found within various Spanish lemmas. A question that, in my search for some answers to this, I found posted online is both instructive and well-asked. I quote therefrom: "A native of Guanajuato, Mexico told me that her town (and state) are pronounced with the g silent, as if the name of the town were spelled "Huanajuato". Moreover, she said that this pronunciation is standard in Mexico, not just regionally correct. I asked two of my colleagues, both of whom are from Mexico City, about this pronunciation, and they agreed with some qualifications. Clearly, the g in Spanish in "ga-", "go-", and "gu-" words is less fricative, less aspirated, and less strongly voiced than the equivalent in English or in the IPA.; however, its being silent is a big surprise to me. One of my Columbian students, perhaps being mischievous, pronounced 'agua' with the g silent. I've never encountered silent g in peninsular Spanish--except in foreign words like 'gnómico'--and I don't remember it in Costa Rica. On the other hand, I have noticed some alternative and homophonous spellings in at least Mexican Spanish, such as "guacel" and "huacel". I'd like to hear some comments on the correctness, scope, and variability of the silent g in Latin America." Let me begin by stating that I realize that the "u" is silent within the morphemes "gue" and "gui", e.g. "guerra", "guisa", "guisar", and "seguir". Obviously, the "g" is prounounced as a hard consonant within these words. I also note that within words such as "agua", "guapo", and "guardar", as well as such dialectical words borrowed from other languages as Cuban "guaguanco" and the aforementioned Mexican place name "Guanajuato", the "gu" seems to be fulfilling the role of the consonantal "u" (which in English is provided for by "w"); in these cases the "g" is either silent or suppressed into virtual silence. My specific question: is the "g" within such cases actually silent, or is it voiced in a suppressed manner, or voiced in more/stronger than a "suppressed manner", within the various dialects of Spanish, and in Catalan as well, both within the Iberian peninsula and elsewhere? What, if any, is the difference between the pronunciation of "gu_" as in "guapo", "hu_" as in "Chihuahua", and "ju_" as in "Guanajuato"? Also, how is the "g" pronounced in words within which the diaeresis is used over the "u", such as: ambigüedad, bilingüe, cigüeña, vergüenza; argüir, lingüística, pingüino, piragüista, etc.? Is the "g" voiced at all in these constructions, or does the "gu" simply provide for the consonantal "u" therewithin? How does the pronunciation of the "g" vary in these cases across the Spanish speaking world? Thanks much, I look forward to an interesting discussion about this...
 
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  • Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    What, if any, is the difference between the pronunciation of "gu_" as in "guapo", "hu_" as in "Chihuahua", and "ju_" as in "Guanajuato"?
    The g of guapo is pronounced, softly but pronounced although some people may omit it in relaxed pronounciation. The hu of Chihuahua is pronounced like u (both the first hu and the second one); not g sound at all. The j of the ju of Guanajuato is pronounced with a strong sound (/x/ in phonetics); the same one than the g of girar.
    Also, how is the "g" pronounced in words within which the diaeresis is used over the "u", such as: ambigüedad, bilingüe, cigüeña, vergüenza; argüir, lingüística, pingüino, piragüista, etc.?
    Similarly to the g of guapo but more strongly; specially if it's preceded by consonant but I'd say both sounds are alophones although I'm not an expert on phonetics.
     

    Rocko!

    Senior Member
    Español - México
    spelled "Huanajuato". Moreover, she said that this pronunciation is standard in Mexico
    ¿Huanajuato?, no, no, no. Si es que así lo pronuncian en Guanajuato, pues bien por ellos, pero yo sí pronuncio la G, clara y fuerte, y todas las personas de por aquí la pronunciamos (en clases de primaria y secundaria pronunciamos esa palabra cuando estudiamos los nombres de los estados de la República).
    A veces se escucha "wapo(a)" (labios en posición de soplar) en lugar de "guapo(a)", en mi zona, pero es pronunciado así intencionalmente para sonar algo cómico.
    Y ese "ahua" en lugar de "agua" tiene dos variantes: una G muy reducida en su sonoridad es normal cuando se habla con rapidez; pero en el caso de que esté, siempre, completamente ausente, indica una pronunciación de personas provenientes de estratos sociales con poca formación educativa.
     

    Circunflejo

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Castilla
    en clases de primaria y secundaria pronunciamos esa palabra cuando estudiamos los nombres de los estados de la República
    Acá tenemos la ciudad de Guadalajara (por allá también tenéis una ciudad llamada Guadalajara) y la provincia homónima y también la estudiamos en la escuela y también pronunciamos la g.
     

    Rocko!

    Senior Member
    Español - México
    Acá tenemos la ciudad de Guadalajara (por allá también tenéis una ciudad llamada Guadalajara) y la provincia homónima y también la estudiamos en la escuela y también pronunciamos la g.
    Sí, y aquí: Guadalajara, se puede escuchar la palabra "Guadalajara", pronunciada dos veces, por una latinoamericana y por una española, y se puede apreciar bien lo que mencionaste, Circunflejo, de una J "extra fuerte" en la pronunciación europea, mientras que la americana es más suave.
    En una PC, es necesario hacer click en el icono de bocina, para que aparezca la opción de escuchar a una o a otra hablante
    :
    bocina.PNG
     

    Michael Zwingli

    Senior Member
    English - American (U.S. - New England)
    Muchisimas gracias por los insumos vuestros. Estoy estudiando Espanol ahora, por si mismo, y ensenando la pronunciacion correcto es muy importante a mi.
    Cual combinacion de letras usan los Espanoles para dar el "consonaltal u" (English "w")? Gracias.
     

    lagartija68

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    Muchisimas gracias por los insumos vuestros. Estoy estudiando Espanol ahora, por si mismo, y ensenando la pronunciacion correcto es muy importante a mi.
    Cual combinacion de letras usan los Espanoles para dar el "consonaltal u" (English "w")? Gracias.
    Hua, hue, hui, huo (u semiconsonante)
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    You yourself cited the pair "guacel" and "huacel".
    My (Simon & Schuster) bilingual dictionary gives
    "huaca: var. of guaca"
    "huacal: var. of guacal"
    "huacamole: (Mex.) var. of guacamole"
    "huaco: var. of guaco"
    "huarache: var. of guarache"
    "huasca: var. of guasca"
    "huaso: var. of guaso"
    "huero" and "güero" separately as "(Mex.) blond, fair"
    "güepil: var. of huipil"
    "huinche (Chile)" and "güinche (Amer.)" separately as "winch, crane"
    S&S lists only "guachinango", but the Google Ngram Viewer says "huachinango" is more frequent in books.
    As additional evidence we have the title of the novel by Benito Lynch, El inglés de los güesos,
    showing how some (Argentine?) speakers pronounce "huesos".
    The forms with "hu-" look as if they begin with a semivowel sound, but Spanish-speakers sometimes "fortify" an initial semivowel, constricting the point of articulation (velar in this case) to the point of producing turbulence in the air stream, effectively making it a consonant. Meanwhile, remember that the Spanish /g/ phoneme usually is phonetically a fricative or approximant, with continuous air flow—not a complete interruption in the air flow as in the case of the English /g/ phoneme.
    Bottom line: "hua-" tends toward "gua-", and vice versa; there is no contrast between them.
    One day when I was first learning Spanish I heard a newscast that gave Canada's capital a name that I heard as "Otagua".
    I thought Otawa had its own form in Spanish, like "Londres" or "Moscú".
     
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    jmx

    Senior Member
    Spain / Spanish
    I don't think there is any real difference between the first sound of "guapo" and "huevo" in Spanish. This sound can go all the way from a [g] stop to no consonant at all, including fricative and approximant varieties in between, depending on the phonic environment, and the level of emphasis or relaxation. And of course there might be subtle regional differences too.
     

    Michael Zwingli

    Senior Member
    English - American (U.S. - New England)
    Creo que no yerro si digo que en español u es siempre vocálico. Lo más cercano al inglés w es, precisamente, la w de palabras de origen inglés como waterpolo.
    Hua, hue, hui, huo (u semiconsonante)
    I don't think there is any real difference between the first sound of "guapo" and "huevo" in Spanish. This sound can go all the way from a [g] stop to no consonant at all, including fricative and approximant varieties in between, depending on the phonic environment, and the level of emphasis or relaxation. And of course there might be subtle regional differences too.
    Muy bien, ustedes me congracian! Ahora tengo un buen idea de este asunto. (Perdoname para algunas equivocaciones gramaticales que hago en Espanol. Sospecho que yo hablo como un nino muy joven!
     

    gato radioso

    Senior Member
    spanish-spain
    Hello, all.
    I have a question on pronunciation, and since there is no "Spanish pronunciation" forum, I have decided to ask it here.
    I have occasion to wonder about the pronunciation throughout the Spanish speaking world of the "g" within the phoneme "gu_" as found within various Spanish lemmas. A question that, in my search for some answers to this, I found posted online is both instructive and well-asked. I quote therefrom: "A native of Guanajuato, Mexico told me that her town (and state) are pronounced with the g silent, as if the name of the town were spelled "Huanajuato". Moreover, she said that this pronunciation is standard in Mexico, not just regionally correct. I asked two of my colleagues, both of whom are from Mexico City, about this pronunciation, and they agreed with some qualifications. Clearly, the g in Spanish in "ga-", "go-", and "gu-" words is less fricative, less aspirated, and less strongly voiced than the equivalent in English or in the IPA.; however, its being silent is a big surprise to me. One of my Columbian students, perhaps being mischievous, pronounced 'agua' with the g silent. I've never encountered silent g in peninsular Spanish--except in foreign words like 'gnómico'--and I don't remember it in Costa Rica. On the other hand, I have noticed some alternative and homophonous spellings in at least Mexican Spanish, such as "guacel" and "huacel". I'd like to hear some comments on the correctness, scope, and variability of the silent g in Latin America." Let me begin by stating that I realize that the "u" is silent within the morphemes "gue" and "gui", e.g. "guerra", "guisa", "guisar", and "seguir". Obviously, the "g" is prounounced as a hard consonant within these words. I also note that within words such as "agua", "guapo", and "guardar", as well as such dialectical words borrowed from other languages as Cuban "guaguanco" and the aforementioned Mexican place name "Guanajuato", the "gu" seems to be fulfilling the role of the consonantal "u" (which in English is provided for by "w"); in these cases the "g" is either silent or suppressed into virtual silence. My specific question: is the "g" within such cases actually silent, or is it voiced in a suppressed manner, or voiced in more/stronger than a "suppressed manner", within the various dialects of Spanish, and in Catalan as well, both within the Iberian peninsula and elsewhere? What, if any, is the difference between the pronunciation of "gu_" as in "guapo", "hu_" as in "Chihuahua", and "ju_" as in "Guanajuato"? Also, how is the "g" pronounced in words within which the diaeresis is used over the "u", such as: ambigüedad, bilingüe, cigüeña, vergüenza; argüir, lingüística, pingüino, piragüista, etc.? Is the "g" voiced at all in these constructions, or does the "gu" simply provide for the consonantal "u" therewithin? How does the pronunciation of the "g" vary in these cases across the Spanish speaking world? Thanks much, I look forward to an interesting discussion about this...
    The "g" in Guanajuato is the same sound as in "garden".
     

    Rocko!

    Senior Member
    Español - México
    "huacal: var. of guacal"
    "huacamole: (Mex.) var. of guacamole"
    "huarache: var. of guarache"
    "huero" and "güero" separately as "(Mex.) blond, fair"
    "güepil: var. of huipil"
    Interesante.
    Lo cierto es que uno no vacila entre cuál decir. Yo digo "huarache" solamente, al igual que digo solo "wero" (no huero ni güero). Y otras como guacamole, creo estar descubriendo en este mismo momento que cuando oigo "huacamole" ignoro esa pronunciación y es como si hubiera escuchado "guacamole" aunque no haya sido así.
     
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    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Too late to edit my post #10 above, but, for the sake of WR's high standards of accuracy,
    the capital of Canada is "Ottawa", with double T.
     

    Michael Zwingli

    Senior Member
    English - American (U.S. - New England)
    I am led to believe that the pronunciation of "gua", "güe", etc. is variable, and depends upon the dialect of Spanish, the locality and local pronunciation, and the origin of the word. Sometimes it is pronounced with a hard "g", as in the English historical term "Guelph", sometimes with a softer "g" but with the "g" still pronounced, perhaps as in the Cuban place name "Camagüey" (originally an Arawakan name), and sometimes the "gu" is pronounced like an English "w" as it is in the Cuban "guaguancó" (probably in this case, because it is not a Spanish word, but rather originates within an uncertain African language). I hope that I am correct in so thinking.
     

    TheCrociato91

    Senior Member
    Italian - Northern Italy
    I'd say you are correct. What you call hard g is a stop consonant and most typically occurs after a pause (such as in word-initial position) and after a nasal (as in tango). What you call soft g occurs in all other positions, and is a fricative or most commonly an approximant sound which, as was explained above (#11), can range from a light g to a semiconsonsant-like sound (/w/) depending on a variety of factors.
     

    Graciela J

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    As additional evidence we have the title of the novel by Benito Lynch, El inglés de los güesos,
    showing how some (Argentine?) speakers pronounce "huesos".
    I want to point that the pronunciation güesos, güevos is considered uneducated. In Argentine literature, it's used to indicate how people from rural regions pronounce the words (for example, in works about gauchos, like Martín Fierro or Don Segundo Sombra).

    I don't think there is any real difference between the first sound of "guapo" and "huevo" in Spanish. This sound can go all the way from a [g] stop to no consonant at all, including fricative and approximant varieties in between, depending on the phonic environment, and the level of emphasis or relaxation. And of course there might be subtle regional differences too.
    Para mí, sí hay diferencia. Que algunas personas lo pronuncien igual es otra cosa.

    Del Diccionario panhispánico de dudas:

    h:
    3. En las palabras que contienen los diptongos /ua/, /ue/, /ui/ en posición inicial o en posición interior a comienzo de sílaba, y que se escriben con h antepuesta (hua-, hue-, hui-), se suele pronunciar ante el diptongo un leve sonido consonántico cercano a una /g/: [guéso, guébo, pariguéla, desguesár] por hueso, huevo, parihuela, deshuesar. Esta pronunciación ha quedado, a veces, fijada en la escritura, y así, algunas palabras que comienzan por hua-, hue- o hui- pueden escribirse también con gua-, güe- y güi-, como huaca, huemul o huipil, escritas también guaca, güemul, güipil.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    When the 'g' follows a [n], you can hear it perfectly well. Otherwise, there is lenition (it goes soft). Before a diphthong with 'u' (gua, güe, güi, guo) it's so soft you don't hear it. So much so that people may write "agua' as 'abua', (or the opposite "agüela) and more so in initial position. Check some spectrogram and you'll see how similar they are.
    :tick::tick::tick:
    What some people learn at school is irrelevant because it's forced. I had a teacher who pronounced b/v as different, which is pure BS.
     

    ChemaSaltasebes

    Senior Member
    Castellano (España)
    The truth and the fact is that we do actually many times during normal speech pronounce such a soft "g" in gua- and güe-, that it can be practically indistinguishable from ua- and ue-, which is also the reason why huevo, hueco or Ottawa, do many times sound just like (very soft "g") güevo, güeco or Otagua. Well read people automatically fill in the "g" when they hear "Huanajuato", or erase the "g" sound when they hear "güevo", and so I believe that we are not really aware of how these words are actually pronounced -generally; senstive ears might have a true painful experience in cases where the "g" is absolutely absent (u-a-najuato) or when there is a strong "g" that shouldn't (gu-e-vo) but I feel that we are pretty much used to soft "g" sounds with both gua-/hua- and güe-/hue- almost everywhere.
     

    lagartija68

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    Nope. In those diphthongs that onglide 'u' is a 'semivowel'. It's a semi-consonant in aw/ew/ow.
    semiconsonante
    1. adj. y f. fon. [Vocal] en principio de diptongo o triptongo, como en piedra, hielo, huerto, apreciáis, y más propiamente cuando su pronunciación se acerca a la de las consonantes, como en hierro, hueso. En español son la i y la u, que, como semiconsonantes, se llaman yod y wau respectivamente.

      semiconsonante - Definición - WordReference.com
     

    lagartija68

    Senior Member
    Castellano rioplatense
    Diccionario panhispánico de dudas:

    3. En las palabras que contienen los diptongos /ua/, /ue/, /ui/ en posición inicial o en posición interior a comienzo de sílaba, y que se escriben con h antepuesta (hua-, hue-, hui-), se suele pronunciar ante el diptongo un leve sonido consonántico cercano a una /g/: [guéso, guébo, pariguéla, desguesár] por hueso, huevo, parihuela, deshuesar. Esta pronunciación ha quedado, a veces, fijada en la escritura, y así, algunas palabras que comienzan por hua-, hue- o hui- pueden escribirse también con gua-, güe- y güi-, como huaca, huemul o huipil, escritas también guaca, güemul, güipil.​
    4. El grupo hi en posición inicial de palabra seguido de una e tónica se pronuncia normalmente como el sonido palatal sonoro /y/ (→ y1, 2a), salvo detrás de pausa o de palabra que termina en vocal, en que la pronunciación oscila entre [ié] y [yé]; así, es normal que palabras como hierro, hielo, hierba, hiedra se pronuncien [yérro, yélo, yérba, yédra]. También esta pronunciación se ha fijado en algún caso en la escritura, como ha ocurrido en hiedra y hierba, y en algunos derivados de esta última, que pueden escribirse también yedra, yerba, yerbajo, etc. En el Río de la Plata, las formas hierba y yerba no son simples variantes gráficas, sino que denotan cosas distintas: mientras que hierba designa cualquier planta pequeña de tallo tierno, yerba designa solo la que se emplea para preparar el mate.


    h | Diccionario panhispánico de dudas
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    semiconsonante
    1. adj. y f. fon. [Vocal] en principio de diptongo o triptongo, como en piedra, hielo, huerto, apreciáis, y más propiamente cuando su pronunciación se acerca a la de las consonantes, como en hierro, hueso. En español son la i y la u, que, como semiconsonantes, se llaman yod y wau respectivamente.

      semiconsonante - Definición - WordReference.com
    Ugh. I got it backwards. Time for a nap. And yes, I am a phonetician...

    semivocal - Definición - WordReference.com

    check this.

    English has a different definition of 'diphthongs'. Allows only post-glides.
     
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