Pronunciación - Ei vs. e

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by maghanish2, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English

    Espero que me puedan ayudar con una pregunta que tengo. En castellano, se pronuncian lo mismo e y ei? Por ejemplo, se pronuncian estas palabras lo mismo?:

    Reina y Rena? Sé que la segunda palabra no es una palabra real, pero se pronuncian lo mismo? (No pude pensar en un mejor ejemplo).

    Gracias de antemano por la ayuda!

    Os la agradezco!
  2. unspecified

    unspecified Senior Member

    Boston, MA, USA
    English, USA
    No, they'd be pronounced differently. Rena is a word (female reindeer), by the way. ;)

    /EI/ is pronounced like the "ei" in vein (as in, the things that carry blood).
    /E/ on its own is pronounced like the "e" in ten (the number).
  3. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English
    Jaja, no sabía que existió rena. Gracais unspecified!
  4. JB

    JB Senior Member

    Santa Monica, CA, EEUU
    English (AE)
    Just a note that with very, very rare exceptions (the occasional new foreign word or new youth slang imported from English) Spanish is 99.999999999999% phonetic.

    If words are spelled differently, they are pronounced differently.

    Exception. There are, indeed, homophones (as vs. has vs. haz, casa vs. caza, sueco vs. zueco) but at the moment I don't think any of those involve vowels. Diphthongs are always spelled out in Spanish, not in English.

    Short version of a long story (speaking from experience): If you mean to say "peine" (comb) and you end up pronouncing it like "pene" (penis), because you did not hit the diphthong clearly, and you are talking to a 13 year-old working in her parents' shop, you may regret it.
  5. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The problem, I think, is that many English speakers interpret the plain vowel [e] in rena as a diphthong, and pronounce it [ei], making rena a homophone of reina. This is a telltale sign of an English accent, in Spanish and many other languages.

    To make things worse, many textbooks for English speakers actually describe the Spanish "e" sound, incorrectly, as an "ey". For instance, café is not pronounced "cafey" in Spanish (nor is José pronounced "Howzey", etc.)
  6. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English
    Gracias! Entonces, se pronouncia la e en café como en la palabra inglesa pet o en la palabra inglesa weigh, o no es como ninguno de estas palabras?
  7. Triva87 Member

    Monterrey, Mx
    Mexican Spanish, English US
    Se pronuncia como 'pet', as it has been said before, in Spanish the word is pronounced the way is writen.

    With the 2 examples you gave at the beginning... the 'ei' in reina is pronounced like the 'ay' on 'say'. and the 'e' on 'rena' sounds like the 'e' on 'men'.

    hope it helps...
  8. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English
    Gracias Triva87! La pronunciación a veces me confunde. Alguien sabe si en otros países pronuncian la e diferentemente? O siempre se lo pronuncia como men?
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  9. Vidar1984 Senior Member

    California, USA
    USA English
    Wowow! This has been an extremely helpful thread for me. When I learned Spanish, all of my instructors, grammar books, and peers ALL taught that the 'e' and 'ei' would be pronounced identically. I've definitely been pronouncing them correctly for a while, just as the proper way to do it has rubbed off on me, but I thought that I was straying from the correct pronunciation into something more regional. This helps a lot. Thanks!
  10. Pinairun

    Pinairun Senior Member

    In Spanish of Spain, except a few regional uses, the only homophone words among these are "as" and "has", both sound "as"

    The other are different:

    Haz = sounds "ath" like "think"
    Casa, sounds "casa", like "kiss"
    Caza is "catha", like "think"
    Sueco is "sueco", like "kiss",
    and zueco is "thueco", like "think".

    There are certainly many other homophones.

  11. JB

    JB Senior Member

    Santa Monica, CA, EEUU
    English (AE)
    You are right. I should have clarified that these are homophones in LatinAmerica, where "s" and "z" (plus soft "c") are pronounced the same, unless in most of Spain.
  12. duncandhu Senior Member

    Annapolis, MD, USA
    United Kingdom, English
    Just to say that the "e" in spanish, I find, is something in between the sounds "e" (pet) and "ay", but more like the "e" in "pet", but it's not exactly like the way we pronounce "e" in "pet" either. But anyway, it's definitely not the same sound as "ay" as in "reina"

  13. Pinairun

    Pinairun Senior Member

    Reino = Kingdom ("ei" = day)

    Reno = reindeer (e" = let)

    I stress its importance in order to avoid little misunderstandings.
  14. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    No exactamente como en "pet" (es esto que cría dificultades a los anglófonos).

    pet (AmE, BrE) --> [pʰɛt]
    weigh, way (AmE, BrE) --> [wei̯]

    But [e] does not appear as an individual phoneme in AmE or BrE. It always shows up as part of the diphthong [ei̯] (or a variant of it), with which it is therefore identified/confused by English speakers.

    Also, the Spanish "e" is a mid-vowel [e̞], halfway between [e] and [ɛ].

    The Spanish "e" is closer to the one in "pet" in terms of quantity/duration (since it's a plain vowel rather than a diphthong), but it probably sounds closer to the one in "weigh" in terms of quality (its prominent vowel sound is not quite the same as the one in "pet").

    Sorry about the language mixing in my post.
  15. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English
    Gracias, Outsider. Creo que te comprendo. Pero, para estar seguro, quiero escribir un resumen y por favor dime si es lo que quisiste decir:

    La "e" española es corta y sólo un sonido simple, pero la "e" ingles (en palabras como pet) es un diptongo?

    Así que, la "e" española no es un diptongo pero básicamente es una versión más corta y sencilla que la "ei/y" inglesa en palabras como weigh o hey? La "ei/y" en estas palabras es cómo se pronuncia el diptongo español "ei"?

    Espero comprenderte!
  16. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    En "pet" no se trata de un diptongo. Es la vocal [ɛ]. La "e" española es [e] (o [e̞], más precismente, aunque el diacrítico se suele omitir).

    Pero en palabras inglesas como "fiancé" o "café" sí que es un diptongo, [ei̯] (o [eɪ̯]).

    Más o menos. Pero la "ei/ey/ay/a" inglesa (long "a") es normalmente un diptongo.

    En realidad, la pronunciación de la long "a" inglesa depende del dialecto. En inglés escocés y australiano hay quienes la pronuncian muy parecida a la española. Pero en inglés americano o inglés estándar, creo que no es muy habitual. Sin embargo, mire esta discusión anterior.
  17. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English
    Interesante......así que, sólo quiero estar seguro de que la e española no se pronuncia como pet. Esto es verdad, no? Es corto como pet, pero no es el mismo sonido, no?
  18. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Es eso. :thumbsup:

    Pero la "e" de "pet" puede servir como primera aproximación, en mi opinión.
  19. maghanish2 Senior Member

    United States - English
    Bueno. Creo que puedo pronunciar e y ei distintamente. Gracias de nuevo por la ayuda!

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