Learning Spanish diphthongs: Strong and weak vowel formation
When learning Spanish as a second language, it is often unanticipated how to pronounce certain vowel combinations. Spanish grammatical rules indicate that diphthongs are essential in pronunciation and reading. But what are diphthongs in understanding Spanish?
Diphthongs are combinations of two vowels that can sounds almost as one.
It is best defined as …known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets. That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel.
And for this reason, it is always recommended to learn Spanish in an immersion way, to be completely thinking and speaking the language.
In Spanish diphthongs, there are two vowels, either one strong and weak or both weak, in the same syllable. There are 14 total diphthongs in Spanish.
The weak vowels are i, (y), and u.
The strong vowels are a, e, and o.
In each syllable, you might encounter weak-strong or weak-weak diphthongs. In each case, it will tell you whether the syllables can be split or not. As a general rule, diphthongs in Spanish are not split unless the syllables have an accent or tilde on a weak vowel.
Here are some examples of Spanish diphthongs:
ciudad = city
buitre = vulture
muy = much
paisaje = landscape
baile = dance
peine = comb
miedo = scare
cielo = sky
puerta = door
puente = bridge
lengua = tongue
oído = ear
día = day
tía = aunt
When practicing pronunciation of Spanish diphthongs, try to sound out the syllable combination. Although it may not be easy to distinguish the break between syllables, it is always best to use either clapping of your hands to clearly sound them out. For young children, the use of maracas or tambourines is an excellent way to demonstrate syllable combinations.