English has a wonderful little habit of placing neat glotal stops in between words, or if not we place enough separation between most words to show that they are indeed separate words. Spanish does not do this at all, and in fact, a whole sentence is broken down phonemically as pretty much one word. There are, however, strict rules between syllables that concern how they sentence is pronounced. Here are those rules:

  • Generally speaking, a syllable begins with a consonant and ends with a vowel or diphthong. This is very general.
  • Sometimes a vowel must start a syllable, particulary is there are two strong vowels in a row. Like in the word maestro /ma-es-tro/
  • This leads to another rule. The only consonant clusters that can ever start a syllable are /br/ /bl/ /pr/ /pl/ /dr/ /tr/ /gr/ /gl/ /kr/ /kl/ /fr/ /fl/. Any other cluster must be broken up, and the ones listed just now can not be broken up.
  • Diphthongs and triphthongs can not be broken up, and in fact, now ones will form between word boundaries if at all possible.
  • If the statement ends in a consonant, then the last syllable of course ends in a consonant. There are no syllabic consonants in Spanish.

Those are the general rules, but to illustrate them I will provide some examples:

  • Este señor es un amigo de mío. /és-te-se-ñó-re-su-na-mí-go-de-mí-o/
  • Francia y Alemania son países en Europa que han empezados muchos guerras. /frán-sîaî-a-le-má-nîa-son-pa-í-se-se-neû-ró-pa-ke-a-nem-pe-sá-dos-mú-cos-gé-ras/
  • Una dalmación es un perro de piel blanco y puntos negros. /u-na-dal-ma-sîó-ne-sun-pé-rro-de-pîél-blán-koî-pún-tos-ne-gros/
  • Los estadounidenses les gusta ser gordos y comen muchos hamburguesas cada día. /lo-ses-ta-doû-ni-dén-ses-les-gús-ta-ser-gór-do-si-ko-men-mú-co-sam-bur-gé-sas-ká-da-dí-a/
  • Gloria y Ésteban comen comidas de amor porque son amadores y este frase no significa nada pero ilustrar un punto de la fonología del idioma español /gló-rîaî-és-te-ban-kó-men-ko-mí-das-de-a-mór-por-ke-so-na-ma-dó-res-îés-te-fra-se-no-sig-ni-fí-ka-ná-da-pe-roî-lus-trá-run-pún-to-de-la-fo-no-lo-xí-a-de-li-dîó-ma-es-pa-ñól/

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