quién? vs. quien

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Ms Missy, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    (quién? vs. quien)

    1. Are these two words pronounced the same even though one has an accent mark over the e?

    2. What is the correct pronunciation for "quien"? Is it more like "key-in" or "key-aine"?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. megane_wang

    megane_wang Senior Member

    Spanish / Catalan
    1. Yes, "quien = quién"

    2. I think it's more like "key-áine"
  3. Ana_Fi

    Ana_Fi Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spain - Spanish
    The difference is in the stress given to the word when speaking. Quién is used for questions (with or without question mark), as an interrogative pronoun, and quien is used as a relative pronoun.
    ¿Quién ha llamado?
    No sé quién ha llamado.
    Él es quien llamó.
  4. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    If I were you I would completely avoid those psedo-phonetical tricks (key-aine, etc), because they are a very poor approximation to Spanish pronunciation, since English and Spanish use different sounds for vowels and some consonants. Unlike English, Spanish has a phonetic alphabet which allows people to pronounce words they have never seen before following a few simple rules which always apply (except with English borrowed words, of course).

    The words "quien" and "quién" are pronounced EXACTLY the same, but they are stressed differently: The one with the stress mark is stressed when pronounced.
  5. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    Re: The difference is in the stress given to the word when speaking.

    Ana, from your response, I'm assuming that there IS a difference in the way the two words are pronounced when speaking. That's was the point of the original question that I asked. In other words, what I want to know is ...

    What is the difference in the stress given to the words quién? vs. quien
    when speaking?

  6. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    I already answered this question: "Quién" is stressed; "quien" is not.

    Quien quiere... - Quién quiere...
  7. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    Lazarus, I had responded to Ana's message before I received yours. (I guess I was still typeing while yours was being posted, so I don't want you to think that I ignored your response). At any rate, I'm still confused about how two words could be pronounced EXACTLY the same, yet one is given more stress when speaking. So I'm going to post an example of my understanding so far. Please let me me know if this comes close to what you're trying to explain. Here's my example:

    In English, the word WHO? is comparable to quién? when asking a question, and who is comparable to quien when not asking a question. Although both words are pronounced exactly the same, they are given different voice inflections when speaking. Ex:

    1. Who did that?

    2. I know who did that!

    Am I close, or still far off base?
  8. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    If you prefer to call it inflection rather than stress, it is fine, but the pronounciation still remains the same: Both "who" are pronounced //hu://.

    ¿Have you tried listening to the mp3 recording I have attached for you?

  9. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    Re: ¿Have you tried listening to the mp3 recording I have attached for you?

    Lazarus, I don't see an attachment. If it's not against the rules of the forum, could you please send it to: mlgolden@hotmail.com

    Many Thanks,
  10. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
  11. micafe

    micafe Senior Member

    United States
    Spanish - Colombia
    I don't want to interfere but I tend to agree with Ms Missy.

    Quien quiere.... the 'e' in quien is shorter and the mouth is closer.
    Quién quiere... the 'e' is longer and the mouth is more open.

    Sutilezas que a veces los nativos no notamos.

    In college I was taught Spanish phonetics. We believe a letter is always pronounced the same and it is not. It depends on where in the word it goes, along with the context of the sentence. It depends upon the adjacent letter sounds.
  12. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    Hay variaciones de acento y de entonación, pero los fonemas que representan a ambas palabras son los mismos. Las leves variaciones de apertura son normales cuando cambia la entonación; lo que ella estaba tratando de hacer es cambiar los fonemas (de //ki:in// a //ki:ein//) al cambiar la acentuación.
  13. jess oh seven

    jess oh seven Senior Member

    UK/US, English
    well, this sort of "phonetic transcription" can be used for approximate Spanish pronunciation "transcribed" into English but not really the other way around since Spanish has far fewer vowel sounds. eg. "kee-EHN" would be an approximate pronunciation of "quién", whereas you can't really do the same for the word "who" for Spanish speakers since the first sound doesn't exist in Spanish. not all of us can be phoneticians nor do we all have the time and need to learn the IPA.
  14. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    Precisely because phonetically is far simpler and it has rules it makes more sense to avoid having to memorize the phonetic transcription for each word, and just read them directly as they are. Also, people reading those transcriptions to speak Spanish sound like ... well... very foreign, because the sounds are not very close. The way around is learn how each vowel sounds by listening to them once, and keep pronouncing them like that all the time.
  15. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    First of all I would like to thank Lazarus for his responses to my inquiry about the correct pronunciation of "quien" with or without the accent mark over the e. (although I must admit that his response, although helpful, it also had the tone of scolding me for daring to compare the purity of Spanish pronunciations to that of the convoluted pronunciations of the English language). I never intended for my question to be taken as a contest between which language was more consistent as far as anyone learning it as a second language. Therefore, I must also thank "jess oh seven" for understanding the point I was trying to make. IOW, in English, we don't put accent marks over 2 words that have the EXACT same spelling, and then say that they are pronounced EXACTLY the same! For us, it's easy to question why give one an accent mark, if it doesn't have any influence on the pronunciation?

    But it seems that in Spanish (according to my meager understanding), the accent marks represent a difference in "meaning" rather than in pronunciation.

    Ex: (si or sí ... que or qué ... porque or por qué ... cuando or cuándo ... etc.).

    Also keep in mind that there are regional differences in the way words are pronounced in any language. I've noticed that the Puerto Ricans really take a beating in that area!

    No offense is meant to anyone, but I only ask that we consider the feelings of others when wording our responses. I also visit the Spanish forums where native Spanish speakers ask questions about English, and you can believe that some of their inquiries also sound like ... well very foreign, because the meanings are not very close!

    I hope that this message will be taken in the good faith that it was intended.

  16. Jellby

    Jellby Senior Member

    Spanish (Spain)
    In general, the accent marks the stressed syllable, so there is actually a difference in pronuciation. In some cases (monosyllables) the accent can be used to distinguish words with different meanings, still, there is usually a difference in stress, the word without the accent being pronounced more softly and the one with accent with more emphasis (it's more a matter of intonation than strict pronunciation), in spoken language, one can easily (usually) tell the difference between:

    "Dime que quieres" and "Dime qué quieres".
    "Si lo hago..." and "Sí, lo hago".
    "Porque es así" and "Por qué es así".
  17. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    We are using some words differently, I think. What I call pronounciation refers to the phonetical transcription that you find in a dictionary when you want to know how to read a word aloud. For example, in English you don't pronounce the "l" in "talk" even though the "l" is there; the phonetic symbols don't include the "l" because it is not pronounced, so you can get very close to the correct pronounciation (/t%:k/). However, this symbols don't tell you how to entonate or stress the word out in interrogative or exclamative questions, or even depending on their position on a sentence. Surely you don't say these words exactly the same:

    The king, who abdicated....
    Who abdicated?

    Try to pronounce the first "who abdicated..." exactly like in the second one, and tell me that they are the same. :) The "who" in the second sentence is stressed; the first one is not. However, the pronounciation in both cases is exactly the same (/hu:/). The difference between "quien" and "quién" is pretty much the same; we just indicate this with a stress mark.

    By the way, did you get my sound file?
  18. Ms Missy Senior Member

    U.S. Virgin Islands
    USA English
    Lazarus, yes I did get the sound file you sent to my private address. I sent you a repy email to thank you, so i hope you got that okay. I agree that we both might be using different words to convey the same concept. I was mostly thrown off by the words EXACTLY THE SAME. That's an issue I have dealt with since early childhood since I have an identical twin sister and people have always had difficulty in telling us apart, but would resort to words such as: They look EXACTLY alike EXCEPT THAT this one is taller, heavier, lighter-skinned, etc. So for me it was always a question of whether it was EXACTLY, or ALMOST. It couldn't be both ways. Something was either EXACTLY the same, or ALMOST the same.

    My apologies for mis-interpreting your response as a "put-down" of the English language.

  19. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    We're not here to apologize, miss, but to learn from, and help each other the best we can ;) . I don't often explain myself as well as I'd like to, so feel free to ask as many times as you need to.

Share This Page