Accentuation on the penultimate vowel

AlejandroC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Accentuation on the penultimate vowel

Newbie here: I’ve always been told that Spanish accent is usually on the penultimate vowel, and only the exceptions need an explicit tilde mark. 

However, there are conjugations, like actuéis where the accent mark is on the penultimate vowel. I would have thought that the accent wasn’t needed anymore. Any place I could go to with a fuller explanation?

Thanks.

Asked 2 years ago
DavidC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Alejandro -

An "e-i" or "i-e" combination is treated as a single syllable (i.e., almost like a single vowel - unless the 'i' carries a tilde; see below); i.e., it is as if the 'i' is being partially absorbed.

Both 'i' and 'u' are "weak" vowels, which will never form a separate syllable when they are combined with a 'strong' vowel [these are 'a', 'e', and 'o'] - unless the 'i' or 'u' carries a tilde - for example in 'rocío', which is therefore pronounced as three syllables: "rosseeyo".

Compare the word "tarea", where the 'e' and 'a' are both strong vowels, so there is no need for a tilde and it is pronounced "tareya - as three syllables with the penultimate one stressed.

So with 'habláis', for example, the "-ais" is regarded as a single syllable because of the dipthong absorption. In the absence of a tilde, a word ending in 's' will not stress its last syllable. But with 'habláis', we want this last syllable to be stressed, so we have to mark it (over the strong vowel).

Your example, 'actuéis', is a more complicated story because it contains three vowels together. I think that combination, too, gets treated as a single syllable; (I am sure Inma will correct me if I am wrong !)

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Alejandro

 

This word has a triphthong:  actuéis; this is when there are 3 vowels together as David said, all belonging to the same syllable. The accent is always in the "strong" vowel in the middle. Being this the last syllable, following the rules for accentuation in Spanish it needs the written accent. (it ends in -s, so it takes the accent)

Here is a video where there is a thorough explanation on accents in triphthongs. It is all explained in Spanish.

I hope it helps.

Saludos 

Inma

 

Accentuation on the penultimate vowel

Newbie here: I’ve always been told that Spanish accent is usually on the penultimate vowel, and only the exceptions need an explicit tilde mark. 

However, there are conjugations, like actuéis where the accent mark is on the penultimate vowel. I would have thought that the accent wasn’t needed anymore. Any place I could go to with a fuller explanation?

Thanks.

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