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Lesson of the Week: Spanish Accent Marks

From the La Bamba Grammar Chapter

Artificial Stress

When a word goes against the rule of natural stress, it needs an accent mark.

from Musical Spanish Book
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The stress of capitán would fall on the “i ”(ka-PEE-tahn) but since this is not how the word is pronounced, you need an accent mark. For instructions about using accent marks on your computer, click on the graphic below.
accent marks on your computer from

hear audio mp3Click to hear an mp3 that includes the word "seré"

Here are some more examples of words that contain artificial stress, or accent marks - practice SAYING these words out loud.

Bogotá fácil fórmula
estás útil teléfono
inglés cárcel tímida
ningún lápiz incómodo

Adding Accent Marks to Differentiate Between Words

Some words can be used to mean different things, so an accent mark is used to show which meaning applies. Look at the following words:

yes si if
porqué why? porque because
sólo only solo alone
estás you are estas these (feminine)

For words with just 1 syllable, accent marks are only used when a word has multiple meanings. Look at the word "sí" above.

Worksheet/Activity: Accent Marks

Quiz: Accent Marks

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