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Diphthongs in Spanish
Diphthongs in Spanish are formed by combining one of the strong vowels, a, e, o with one of the weak vowels (i and u):
ai, ei, oi au, eu, ou
ia, ie, io ua, ue, uo
A combination of the 2 weak vowels also forms a diphthong in Spanish:
Oi is written oy and ui is written uy at the end of a word. Examples:
Hoy (today), Muy (very)
When the diphthong is accented, the stress falls on the strong vowel, if there is one.
If the diphthong consists of 2 weak vowels, the second one receives the stress. For instance:
aire (air), pausa (pause)
veinte (twenty), feudo (fief)
oigo (I hear), bou (casting of nets)
In speaking or writing Spanish, you must take care never to divide a diphthong.
The vowels of the diphthong should be so pronounced that they fuse into one utterance.
In the mixed diphthongs, the stress falls on the strong vowel:
causa, pausa, seis, siete, bien, cuatro, nuevo, bueno.
Combination of Vowels not Forming Diphthongs in Spanish
Two strong vowels do not form a diphthong, but remain 2 distinct syllables:
The "ae" vowels, do not form a diphthong, as they are strong vowels together.
Similarly, a strong vowel and an accented weak vowel standing together form separate syllables:
baúl (trunk), país (country)
If the first of 2 weak vowels coming together is accented, two syllables are formed:
Fluido (Flu-i-do) (fluid)
Yes, the Spanish language has them too!
A triphthong consists of a stressed strong vowel standing between two weak vowels and forms a single syllable:
menospreciais (iai) (you undervalue)
menosprecieis (iei) (you may undervalue)
continuais (uai) (you continue)
continueis (uie) (you may continue).
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