We had coffee with regular readers Chris and Linda today, and Linda suggested I should write a post explaining how to pronounce some of the more difficult place names in Lanzarote.

I started to do it, but it’s quite hard, so I decided to record an audio file for you. It’s only five minutes long, so just click the audio player below and you’ll hear how to pronounce places like Órzola, Haría, La Geria and Punta Mujeres.

For those who want more, there are some basic rules with Spanish, and if you remember them, you’ll usually be able to work out pronunciations:

  • Normally the emphasis or “push” is on the penultimate syllable, or the last but one. So, for example, with the word Carmen, the push is on “Car.” With a four syllable word like Arrecife, the push is on “ci.”
  • But that changes when there is an accent. So let’s take Órzola as an example. You’d expect the push to be on “zo” as it’s the penultimate syllable. But see that accent on the “o?” That tells you to push there.
  • In Spanish every syllable is pronounced, so we don’t have redundant letters that do nothing. In English, for example, there’s often an “e” that does nothing, in words like Mike or Bike. In Spanish you would say “Mikay” or Bikay.” That’s why Arrecife is pronounced “arr-ray-si-fay” and Teguise is “teg-ease-say.”
  • Here in The Canaries, we don’t use the lisp the way they do on the mainland, where the Z and S and often pronounced with a “th.” For example, In Madrid, they would say “thinco” for Cinco and “Grathias” for Gracias. Here we use the “s” sound.

I hope this helps!



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