Spanish Hiatus – Examples + When to pronounce the vowels separated

Have you ever tried to say a Spanish word but it sounded weird and you didn’t know why?

During years I tried to say in English the word «pronunciation» accurately. I used to produce every single sound quite clearly but the word still sounded strange and I didn’t understand the reason.

I wasn’t able to say that word without such a terrible Spanish accent.

Nobody told me that I was doing wrong.

If you say a Spanish word, it sounds weird, and you don’t understand why; there are 3 possible reasons.

The 3 reasons why you probably sound strange

  1. You’re pronouncing wrong some sound. Learn how to produce every Spanish sound here.
  2. You’re adding vowels where they don’t belong.
  3. You’re separating vowels in different syllables (hiatus) or putting them together (diphthong or triphthong) when it doesn’t correspond.

That’s what I’m going to explain to you: when to pronounce the Spanish vowels in different syllables.

One day I was watching a YouTube video. They were talking about pronunciation. I heard that word many times before I realized why I was saying it wrong.

But I finally did.

This is what I was saying:
/pro.nun.cia.tion/
(Joining the 2 vowels: diphthong)

This is how it’s pronounced:
/pro.nun.ci-a.tion/
(Separating the vowels: hiatus)

Why I did that?

In Spanish, we say /pro.nun.cia.ción/, putting the vowels together.

I was following the Spanish pronunciation patterns so I had a terrible accent. I still have an accent and I’ll always have an accent. But now, people understand me and I don’t need to repeat myself.

Hiatus and diphthongs are a very important part of the pronunciation in any language.

Knowing when to pronounce the vowels in the same or different syllable will make your speech more clear and fluent. And it is easier than you think.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear idea on how and when to joing vowel sounds.

Remember:

  • Diphthong: 2 vowels pronounced in the same syllable (viernes, causa, cuidar).
  • Triphthong: 3 vowels pronounced in the same syllable (limpiéis, buey, riáis).

What is a hiatus?

As you might know, Spanish hiatus are 2 or 3 vowels which are written side by side but pronounced in separated syllables.

Examples of Spanish hiatus:
ps (pa-ís)
búho (bú-ho)
caía (ca-í-a)

How to identify Spanish hiatus

Resume

To recognize a hiatus you only have to answer 2 questions:

1. Are there 2 open vowels?
2. Is there any í/ú (with the accent mark)?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then you should split those vowels in different syllables.

Elephants can’t live together (a, e, o) and Super Milu (í, ú) wants the house only for him.

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