pronunciation - desde

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by miss jaq, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. miss jaq Member

    USA English
    I have read that Spanish has no z sound (as in the English z sound in 'please'), but I swear that when I hear the word 'desde' it has that z sound not an S sound. Also, all my friends named Sanchez pronounce the z with that same English z sound. Is that just because they speak English. Would their name be pronounced differently by a Spanish speaker?
  2. Pinairun

    Pinairun Senior Member

    In Spain Sanchez is pronounced with spanish "z" sound. Like "death".
  3. A-million-milles-away New Member

    Madrid (España)
    Español (España)
    Los libros explican que el sonido de la "S" sonora /z/ es como el sonido de la "S" en las palabras "desde" o "mismo".

    A los españoles nos sale ese sonido sin querer. No es nuestra intención hacer una "S" sonora. No nos damos cuenta de ello ni al hablar ni al escuchar.

    En esa misma palabra "desde" la primera "e" suena más abierta que la segunda. Tampoco es nuestra intención. No tenemos "e" abierta ni "e" cerrada como el idioma francés o el catalán. Simplemente sale así.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
  4. jetstick Member

    Spanish & English
    I hope you understand him, because what he's just said is very true...
    We don't have any sound else... we don't mean to do a different sound, simply in spoken Spanish.. we don't worry about pronouncing the letters like each is... only about the easiest way to speak :)
  5. VAN_J Senior Member

    En México y Latinoamerica la "z" se pronuncia como "s". Sánchez, zorro, zapato, cielo, silla, cerveza, sol todas son pronunciadas con /s/ sonora.
  6. Sköll Senior Member

    English, US
    I'm sure you meant 'sorda'. :)
  7. VAN_J Senior Member

    Yes, I did. /s/ sorda.

    Thanks :)
  8. neal41 Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA, English
    Your question relates to the linguistic concepts of phoneme and allophone. The phonemes of a given languages are the sounds that distinguish words in that language. In English the phoneme /z/ with the sound [z] and the phoneme /s/ with sound are distinct phonemes. They distinguish words; as, for example, 'race' and 'raze'. In Spanish there is no such pair of words. There is only one phoneme, usually designated as /s/. It is often the case that a given phoneme will be represented by different sounds in different environments, called allophones. In Spanish the phoneme /s/ is represented by the sound [z] before voiced consonants like the /d/ in 'desde' and the /m/ in 'mismo'. That is one of the phonological rules of Spanish.

    In Latin America the letters 'z' and 's' both represent the phoneme /s/, and when not before a voiced consonant the sound is . 'casar' and 'cazar' are [kasar]. Note however that closely connected words are often pronounced as if they were one word so that 'Sanchez Mendez', as in 'José Sanchez Mendez', might be [sanchezmendes]

    'Sanchez' is routinely pronounced [sanchez] in the US due to the influence of English.
  9. Ana_Fi

    Ana_Fi Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spain - Spanish
    Another example of that phenomenon is in the very same word 'desde', is the sound of the d's.
    We are not aware of it, but we pronounce the d's in a different way. The first d is similar to the Ensligh sound /d/, but a little softer, and the second is like the English sound /đ/. We pronounce the latter when a d is between two vowels... But we get crazy to learn to pronounce words like 'weather' properly, hahaha.
  10. swift

    swift Senior Member

    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)

    Lo que escuchaste no es sorprendente. Yo creía ser de los pocos que pronunciamos la /z̹/ de "desde", "mismo", "rasgo". Se trata de una "s" sonora dentalizada, y como se ha mencionado, es un alófono.

    [déz̹de] (la segunda "d" es fricativa, pero no la encuentro en mi teclado :()


    [ráz̹ɡo] (la "g" es también fricativa, pero etc.)

    La explicación de Neal41 es perfecta.



  11. miss jaq Member

    USA English
    Thank you all!

    It's good to know I am not crazy. I knew I was hearing a Z. It seems that most of what is said about Spanish pronunciation (in my Spanish books) is wrong. Someone should pay all of you to put this thread in their book.

    So the z sound in desde is perceived to be the same as S because they are one phoneme. (new word for me-thx for the explanation) This is also true for the Ds in desde. (up next--I am going to look up the word fricative)

    My next step is pronouncing v/b. I can just burn those pages. (they're all wrong) I suppose that's a different post.

    thank you so much for solving the mystery
  12. Ana_Fi

    Ana_Fi Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spain - Spanish
    Oops, I said 'desde' but I was thinking about 'dado'. Sometimes I'm a complete mess :)
    The second 'd' in 'dado' is between two vowels and therefore is pronounced as I said. Sorry for the confusion.

    About b/v, they both are pronounced like 'b', you can check it here:
  13. neal41 Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA, English
    Lo que dice el DPD es correcto pero incompleto. Las letras 'b' y 'v' representan un solo fonema, digamos /B/, pero este fonema tiene alófonos. Inicialmente en un grupo fónico (breath group = grupo de palabras pronunciadas como una sola) o después de un sonido nasal, /B/ es el sonido , una oclusiva bilabial sonora. Entre vocales y en cualquier otra posición, /B/ es [β], una fricativa bilabial sonora.

    El fonema /D/ que ocurre dos veces en 'dedo' obedece una distribución semejante. Inicialmente, después de un sonido nasal y después de /l/ es la oclusiva dental sonora [d] pero entre vocales y en otras posiciones es la fricativa dental sonora [ð].

    La regla para el fonema /G/ en 'galgo' es muy semejante. Initialmente y después de un sonido nasal es la oclusiva velar sonora [g] pero entre vocales y en otras posiciones es la fricativa velar sonora [γ].

    Es muy recomendable el siguiente sitio web para estudiar más a fondo estos sonidos. Allí se usa el término 'espirante' para [β], [ð] y [γ]. Vale la pena comparar los sonidos [d] y [ð] del español con los sonidos correspondientes (pero no idénticos) del inglés.
  14. Ana_Fi

    Ana_Fi Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spain - Spanish
    ¡Muchas gracias por la página! ¡Está muy bien!
  15. Tamita Member

    Realmente los españoles tienen ese acento en la Z, en Latinoamerica realmente pronunciamos la S como Z.
  16. miss jaq Member

    USA English
    So there is no difference between V and B. The difference that I am hearing corresponds to the placement of those letters within a word. Ok.

    Just like D between two vowels in 'dado,' V and B -placed between two vowels- sound differently than when placed before a 'breath group.' Ok. (I'm learning a lot here)

    I like that uiowa website, however, i must admit, I'm having a hard time with that [β]! It sounds closer to an English W than an English b. That might be my untrained ears. I'll listen up for it when I watch Spanish tv.

    Any suggestions on learning how to properly pronounce v and b when they are placed between two vowels?
  17. neal41 Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA, English
    All phonologists and phoneticians who study Spanish say that in normal rapid speech the phoneme /b/ is the bilabial fricative [β] except after nasals and initially in a breath group. Nevertheless when I hear native Spanish speakers (for example Maria Elena Salinas on the Univision news broadcast) I sometimes hear what sounds to me like the bilabial stop between vowels, as for example in 'Cuba'.

    Since in English (my native language) [v], as in 'voice', is labio-dental rather than bilabial, it might be that my hearing mechanism (ears and brain combined) interpret [β] as since [β] is regarded as being closer to than to [v]. Remember that the hearing mechanism acts like a funnel; similar but not entirely identical sounds are funneled into, or interpreted as, a single phoneme for purposes of identifying words.

    Someone who is teaching Spanish to speakers of English might be tempted to say: if you cannot consistently pronounce [β], it is better to use [v] than . I don't know whether that is good advice or not. I would like to find an expert opinion on that, and I would like to know if I really hear in 'Cuba'.

    While we are discussing Spanish phonology, it is probably worthwhile to point out that nasals assimilate in position to a following consonant. That means that a nasal before /b/ is the bilabial nasal [m], regardless of how it is spelled. Remember that words in a breath group are pronounced as if they were one word. So 'convento' --> [kombento], 'inventar' --> [imbentar], 'un beso' --> [umbeso], 'un vaso' --> [umbaso].
  18. miss jaq Member

    USA English
    Neal41 I would also like an expert opinion on that. You have confirmed my belief that I am just not hearing right. Oye! (double entendre intended) You have also opened another of Pandora's boxes (apparently she has more than one) because you said that with combination of nasal sounds and the b/v, there is an M sound. So un vaso sounds like umbaso. Oye vay! Thanks for the heads up, I'm going to look into that.

    Sorry it took me so long to respond. I didn't get an e-mail notice to the thread response. I usually do.

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