Policia / Farmacia / Licencia, Accentuation and stress.

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New Member
English - UK.
I've been trying to learn about Dipthongs, agudas, llanas and esdrujillas, tildes and the stressed syllable in words, but I cant work out why policía seems to break the rule.

policía = Po-li-CI-a
farmacia = Far-MA-cia
licencia = Li Cen Cia

policía ends in an A, so it shouldn't have an tilde, but you break the Dipthong to Ci-A... but why is the accent there?

Is there some rule I'm missing? what decides you break the dipthong and accent for one, but not the other?

Why is it po-li--a , but Far-MA-cia?

Am I overcomplicating?
Last edited:
  • elprofe

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    There's an accent in "policía" (po-li-CÍ-a) because otherwise (if there were no accents in policía), it would be pronounced po-LI-cia, just like far-MA-cia. However, we don't say po-LI-cia, so, what should we do to capture the real pronunciation? put an accent mark! :)

    Peterdg, one of the members of the forum, is a non-native speaker who masters almost every grammar point, he might be able to help you out, since he knows how to approach the accent issue from your point of view...

    Wandering JJ

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi CC,

    The tonic accent is on farmAcia from the Latin pharmacĭa(with short 'i' before 'a')from Greek φαρμακία.
    The tonic accent is on policIa from the Latin politīa (with long 'i' before 'a') from Greek πολιτεία.

    Unless you've studied Latin and are perhaps more interested in diachronic linguistics than in learning to speak Spanish, it's probably best to accept these minor variations from the norm.

    I hope I've understood your query.



    New Member
    English - UK.
    thank you all for your time and your help.

    I understand its written how it is to prompt you to pronounce it right, it just seemed so arbitrary. Now i know there is a reason, I can accept it.

    @wandering JJ - you understood my question exactly, and that's a good enough answer, there IS a reason for it, even if I don't necessarily understand the exact details of why, order is restored and I can move on :)

    Thank you all, this is a fantastic resource.

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