Spanish Âqu Prefieres? Ceceo, Seseo, O La Theta

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BCS
Sunday 05th of August 2007 06:55:17 AM
¿Qué prefieres?: What do you prefer:
Ceceo - S, C, and Z are pronounced like 'th'
Seseo - S, C, and Z are pronounced like 's'
La theta - C and Z are pronounced like 'th.' S is prounced like 's.'

Personally I find Seseo the easiest (because I am an English speaker) and then Ceceo because it has an easier and more consistant rule (Anything that would make an 's' sound in Seseo makes a th sound).


WickedArg
Sunday 05th of August 2007 11:21:47 AM
I don't think it's a matter of prefering... it's a phenomenon and that's it. You speak it because you were taught like that, and hear it every day.

As for students, well, I guess it's the same, although if you're not sure whether to pick one or another I recommend to pronounce S and C as 's', and Z as θ. After all, it's the "correct" way.
Personally, I pronounce them all 's', unless I'm dictating something to my little brother, where I have to make it clear how it is spelled.
The same happens with V and B, and LL and Y.


Jani
Sunday 05th of August 2007 03:41:58 PM
As for the natives, they don't really have that much choice – it pretty much depends on where one is born (as the Wicked already mentioned).

But as a foreigner a prefer the 'standard European version' :) :
C (+e/i) and Z > [th]
S > [s]

Before starting to learn Spanish I didn't even know about these differences, but my first Spanish teacher's pronunciation was 'peninsular' and that was what she thought us. :)

I'm sure seseo is probably the easiest as there is no need to distinguish the two sounds plus practically every language has the [s] sound. For English speakers [th] is probably no big deal either (in my language there is no such sound, so it took some time to get used to it – but it was worth it).


BCS
Sunday 05th of August 2007 07:03:17 PM
hmmm... So it's the 'right' way huh? Then why does no one in Latin America speak with la theta if it's the 'right' way?


Javier
Sunday 05th of August 2007 08:05:00 PM
Originalmente dicho por Jani
I'm sure seseo is probably the easiest as there is no need to distinguish the two sounds plus practically every language has the [s] sound.I am not sure if it is the easiest. But I am sure seseo is to blame when it comes to our (relatively) poor spelling. Many Spaniards can't understand why some people misspell words like ciencia, decisión and zapato. As they have a clearly distinction, it'd be very difficult for them to have it wrong. We, with seseo, have to rely more on memory to have it right (which kinda sucks).


Goran
Sunday 05th of August 2007 08:21:35 PM
Originally posted by WickedArg
The same happens with V and B, and LL and Y.

Well it depends on where you live, but in Catalonia LL and Y are completely different sounds.

Regarding C, S and Z I pronounce them

C (+e/i) and Z > [th]
S > [s]

because I live in the area where they are pronounced that way. In Andalucía, however, either ceceo, seseo or la theta are used depending on the region.

It's common for people who pronounce them as S to commit spelling mistakes, but in Spain I noticed they are some people who also have problems with C and CC.

Some of them write and pronounce: DISCRECCIÓN instead of DISCRECIÓN. Have you ever heard that? :)


citlalli
Sunday 05th of August 2007 08:24:04 PM
Originally posted by BCS


hmmm... So it's the 'right' way huh? Then why does no one in Latin America speak with la theta if it's the 'right' way?

I don't think there's a right and a wrong way... it's just what you're used to. I think that if you learn Spanish as as foreign language you are likely to stick to the option taught to you by your first teacher, unless you go and live in a Spanish speaking country with a different "accent".

I've been to Spain and I have several Spanish friends and I have never had any communication problems or funny looks from them whatsoever. Nevertheless -I'm a Mexican living in Germany- Germans learning Spanish have told me I don't speak Spanish properly! Oh well...frustration and anger aside, let's go back to our subject: I think you should adopt whichever accent you find easier and nicer. All of them are equally right!


BCS
Sunday 05th of August 2007 08:28:34 PM
Well it depends on where you live, but in Catalonia LL and Y are completely different sounds.

What are the sounds?


Goran
Sunday 05th of August 2007 08:35:08 PM
Originally posted by BCS


Well it depends on where you live, but in Catalonia LL and Y are completely different sounds.

What are the sounds?

LL is like Italian MEGLIO, Portuguese LH, Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian LJ, etc
and Y sounds like and I. :)


Jani
Monday 06th of August 2007 03:43:57 AM
Originally posted by BCS
hmmm... So it's the 'right' way huh? Then why does no one in Latin America speak with la theta if it's the 'right' way?
Querido BCS: If you re-read my post, you'll see that it's you who call it right, not me. I just said, I opted for the Standard peninsular variant. Of course I know that the pronunciation in Latin America and also in many regions of Spain differs from that and that those are all excepted and correct. After all it's been a looong time since Academia de la Lengua Española equalled Real Academia... Nowadays all dictionaries, orthographies etc. are prepared in collaboration of all the academies – not even just European and American ones (thus taking into account all the variants of the language). To sum it up, your accusing me of discrimination had absolutely no foundations.

Originally posted by Javier
I am not sure if it is the easiest. But I am sure seseo is to blame when it comes to our (relatively) poor spelling. Many Spaniards can't understand why some people misspell words like ciencia, decisión and zapato. As they have a clearly distinction, it'd be very difficult for them to have it wrong. We, with seseo, have to rely more on memory to have it right (which kinda sucks).
Of course I didn't consider all the spelling errors that might originate in this. I was just looking from the phonetic point of view – for a foreigner learning a language from scratch it would probably be easier to memorize just one phoneme than two. And when made to choose between [s] and [th] I assume the majority would choose [s] which they most probably already know from their mother tongue. Are there many languages (apart from English, Spanish and Greek) that have the [th] sound?

But, of course, I agree – eliminating the difference between these two sounds makes coser/cocer or casar/cazar spelling problems possible...


WickedArg
Monday 06th of August 2007 04:30:43 AM
It is considered the "right" way because those who speak español septentrional speak like that, and español septentrional is traditionally considered as linguistic reference, i.e., the "correct" way.
As for why we don't make the distinction between /s/ and /θ/, that's history: most of those who came during the colonization were from Andalucía, where they don't make the mentioned distinction.

The way I (and everyone I personally know) pronounce Y and LL is like the phonetic symbol /ʃ/, found in the word 'show'.
In other places, Y sounds like 'i', and LL sounds close to 'li' (a more exact way is, like Goran said, Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian LJ).

But many people said it before me, there is no right or wrong here. There are ways of speaking that are socially accepted, therefore "correct" in that place, but "incorrect" somewhere else. Which is why I've been using the words right and correct between inverted commas.


Jani
Monday 06th of August 2007 05:23:48 AM
Originally posted by WickedArg
It is considered the "right" way because those who speak español septentrional speak like that, and español septentrional is traditionally considered as linguistic reference, i.e., the "correct" way.
The fact is that the percentage of those speaking this way is relatively small if the total number of native Spanish speakers is taken into consideration. So the only right thing to do is to refer to all of the variants as the right ones. And nowadays that is being done. Maybe not to the full extend yet, but I (as a foreigner learning Spanish as a foreign language) can see the difference – 15 years ago all textbooks for Spanish as a foreign language were based on the central Spanish 'dialect' (the pronunciation, the grammar, the audio recordings etc.). Today the situation is quite different – the audio recordings include native speaker from different countries, grammar sections include things like seseo, voseo etc., the vocabulary section include also words specific to different Latin American countries. So, I don't know how native speakers perceive this, but for me the difference is more than obvious (i.e. the difference in the way different dialects are treated) and a lot of things that were before considered 'not correct' (and were presented as such to foreigners learning the language) are now presented as equally correct options. I guess there is still plenty of space for improvements, but the fact remains that there are different variants of Spanish and when a foreigner starts learning it (s)he will choose the one that suits her/him best depending on where (s)he lives, which speakers (s)he has mostly contact with, what (s)he wants to do with her/his knowledge, etc. The teacher (specially the first one, as citlalli already mentioned) can have a big influence on this choice and the teacher always speaks one of the many variants (regardless of whether (s)he is native or not) and can only theoretically mention and/or explain the others.

This is my view, of course. :)


BCS
Monday 06th of August 2007 05:44:20 AM
Originally posted by Jani
To sum it up, your accusing me of discrimination had absolutely no foundations.


Actually, I was talking to Wicked: Originally posted by WickedArgAs for students, well, I guess it's the same, although if you're not sure whether to pick one or another I recommend to pronounce S and C as 's', and Z as θ. After all, it's the "correct" way.

Sorry for the miscommunication!


WickedArg
Monday 06th of August 2007 05:47:02 AM
There's nothing I can add to your post, Jani, it's great.


Jani
Monday 06th of August 2007 12:04:53 PM
Originally posted by BCS
Actually, I was talking to Wicked:
Sorry for the miscommunication!
Well, in that case, I apologize for my outburst (which was based on the fact that your post followed mine and contained no quote).

PS: I think WickedArg's "correct" was meant literally, but rather with a pinch of irony and/or sarcasm — hence the quotation marks (at least that's the way I understood it). After all, it would be rather unlikely for an Argentinian to consider the European dialect the only correct one. :)


BCS
Monday 06th of August 2007 07:19:19 PM
no offense taken. I guess your right , there must be some irony in it :D!


el_tigre
Sunday 23rd of September 2007 02:00:18 AM
I prefer to pronounce S and Z on the same way. As well as the C in front of I E . I have sometimes problems with spelling.
As well with confusing with letters B and V .

Untill 1 ago I was thinking that word head is spelled :"cavesa" not "cabeza" . :D



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