Sunday, July 10, 2016

preliminary notes on accent marks

Accent marks in spanish

A word can have at most one accent mark.  either zero or one.  that's it.

the ~ on the ñ is not an accent mark.  that's part of the letter.  so a word can have any number of ~'s and one accent mark or zero accent marks.

the accent marks always go up to the right. áéíóúÁÉÍÓÚ

If a word has an accent mark, the accent mark is always on the stressed vowel of the word.  A word has one stressed syllable and a syllable has one vowel that is its nucleus.  If the word has an accent mark, it goes over that vowel.

How to determine if a word has an accent mark.
it has to meet at least one of the following

1.  it's a one-syllable word that gets sentence-level stress that has at least one homonym that doesn't get sentence-level stress.  so like "sé" gets an accent mark and "se" doesn't because sé is a verb and se is a pronoun.  The parts of speech that get sentence-level stress are nouns, verbs, adjective, adverbs, i think that's all, need to get confirmation on this.

2.  it's a "question word" that needs to be distinguished from its corresponding relative pronoun or whatever.  so like if "qué" means "what", it gets an accent mark, but if it means "that", it doesn't.  when "cómo" means "how", it gets an accent mark, but when it means "as", it doesn't.  bizarro exception is the phrase "lo que" which is treated as one word separate from "qué" so it never gets an accent mark.

3.  it contains an antidiptongo.  uh, I will just make a separate entry explaining diphthongs and antidiphthongs.

4.  it breaks the assumed stress pattern.  Words that end in a vowel, n, or s are assumed to be stressed on the second-to-last syllable, so if they are stressed on any other syllable, there needs to be an accent mark over the stressed vowel.  Words that end in any other letter are assumed to be stressed on the last syllable, so if they are stressed on any other syllable, there needs to be an accent mark on the stressed vowel.

5.  spanish is "regulated" by a stupid "academy" and they "decided" that this isn't true anymore, but you will probably still see it sometimes:  the words este(os)/a(s), ese(os)/a(s), aquel(los)/la(s) can be pronouns or adjectives and the "old" way is to give them an accent mark when they are being pronouns.

So to figure out if a word needs an accent mark.
1.  Is it a one-syllable word?  If so then check if it's one of those that gets an accent mark to distinguish it from a "tiny" homonym.
2.  Is it a question word that needs to be distinguished from a homonymy relative pronoun?  Then it gets an accent mark probably i think i need to look into this.
3.  Is it one of those three demonstrative pronouns?  Then you can put an accent mark on it if you want but it's not required anymore.
4.  If the word has more than one syllable apply this rule.  If it's not a llana word that ends in a vowel n or s, or an aguda word that ends in any other letter, then it gets an accent mark.
5.  If it contains an antidiptongo where the would-be deslisada is the stressed vowel of the word, then it gets an accent mark.

They don't have to be done in order.

1 comment:

  1. I left out the fact that the "stress pattern" rule doesn't apply to single-syllable words.

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