Talk:Spanish phrasebook

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See also: Talk:Spanish phrasebook/Archive

Forking and disambiguating this phrasebook into European and Latin American Spanish?[edit]

Has there been any thought to do this, or any preexisting policy I should know about before plunging forward and copying the page into two with a disambiguation message at the top? Maximilianklein (talk) 15:35, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

I would definitely support that move, if you're willing to do all that hard work ;) --Peter Talk 18:39, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
It grates a bit (can you imagine "British English" and "American English" phrasebooks in de.wikivoyage?), but the differences in pronunciation may be confusing. The problem is that I'm not sure which version I learned in school, so I don't know if I'd be able to contribute. LtPowers (talk) 18:44, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
We do have a page that shows some of the differences between British and American English. I guess there could be something like that, I don't know. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 16:31, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
A Castilian phrasebook already existed, and it was decided to merge it back into the main phrasebook in November 2017. I don't think it would be productive to revisit this barely a year later, but others may disagree.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:06, 29 December 2018 (UTC)

1,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000[edit]

I just want to point out the Spanish billón and English billion are false friends, and so are the Spanish trillón and English trillion. In official usage, Spanish follows the long scale regardless of country. See this page from Real Academia Española, the main authority on the Spanish language [1]. While some Spanish speakers may use billón to refer to 1,000,000,000 and trillón to refer to 1,000,000,000,000 under the influence of American English, this is officially considered to be incorrect usage in all Spanish-speaking countries, and this form will never be used in official contexts. In Spanish, 1,000,000,000 is mil millones, and 1,000,000,000,000 is un billón. Un trillón actually refers to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 in Spanish, which as you can see, is a lot bigger than the English "trillion"! - The dog2 (talk) 00:31, 27 June 2013 (UTC)


Given that there is a Castilian Spanish phrasebook , doesn't the simple title of 'Spanish' seem out of place?

Additionally there are wide grammatical and word differences between the Spanish speaking Latin American countries as well.... --Andrewssi2 (talk) 10:19, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

It certainly is confusing. I don't know why the Castilian phrasebook exists. They're the same language. We don't have separate phrasebooks for regional differences. Powers (talk) 00:57, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
That is the difficult issue with languages in that people like to swear blind that they are very different when in reality they are not (Think Flemish and Dutch).
We should keep in mind that if you want to learn Spanish to the level where these differences are important, then a Wikivoyage phrasebook is not the place to learn about them.
I'll put a 'merge' tag in Castilian Spanish --Andrewssi2 (talk) 01:23, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
There are very clear differences in pronunciation between Castellano and Latin American forms of Spanish. Yes, I think Castellano will be pretty widely understood around the Spanish-speaking world, especially by educated people, but will you understand the people you're speaking with if you expect "dee-ETH ee seys LYAH-mahs" and you hear "dee-ES ee seys JAH-mahs"? How about the difference between "mahn-THAH-nahs ROH-sahs DOOL-thes" and "mahn-SAH-nahs ROH-sahs DOOL-ses"? In short, I would countenance merging the different Spanish phrasebooks only if the most common pronunciations are included, with clear basic explanations of how Castellano is different from Mexican Spanish and both are different from Caribbean Spanish, etc. (some special remarks are needed for the highly Italian-influenced Argentinian Spanish, too). Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:52, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Castilian It is correct that "Castilian Spanish" is redundant but so is "Spanish Spanish", so this is probably the best title. And there are important differences in pronunciation (w:la distincion) and vocabulary (w:voseo) that a traveler would reasonably like to know. As Ikan pointed out above, there are some variations of the language which someone could reasonably find confusing especially at the level of casually learning phrases from Wikivoyage. —Justin (koavf)TCM 02:58, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to disagree. Sure there are differences in the pronunciation but this is also true of the differences between Mexican Spanish and Argentinian Spanish.
I did originally learn the basics of Castilian Spanish in high school in the UK, and that served me well both in Spain and in Colombia and Panama during that time.
If anything, I would say that the differences between some of the vocabulary used are more important to the traveler. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:34, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
The basic differences between Mexican and Argentinian Spanish also need to be explained. Which part of my remark are you disagreeing with? This is the "money quote" from my post above: "In short, I would countenance merging the different Spanish phrasebooks only if the most common pronunciations are included, with clear basic explanations of how Castellano is different from Mexican Spanish and both are different from Caribbean Spanish, etc. (some special remarks are needed for the highly Italian-influenced Argentinian Spanish, too)." What is it that you disagree with? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:54, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
At least Rioplatense (Argentinian/Uruguayan etc.) Spanish is entirely different from the one in Spain. With w:voseo, other grammatical tenses, almost Portuguese pronunciation, different vocabulary and whatnot. Someone with more detailed knowledge (Zerabat?) could perhaps write some details. If you've studied a half-year course in Basic "Spanish" Spanish and think that's enough, you're in for a somewhat nasty surprise. But hey, that's part of the travel experience. ϒpsilon (talk) 09:46, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I think the same would be true for somebody who learned the horribly inadequate supposedly "British" English they teach you in high school and than goes to Texas or tries to follow a rant by Dave Chapelle. The thing is: even "voseo" the most distinctive grammatical feature of "Latin" Spain (which is a fuzzy concept to begin with) is not the same everywhere. In some places they say "vos eres" for what a Spaniard would call "tu eres" and in some places (Nicaragua for one) they say "vos sos" I don't think we can and should go into so much detail. We might mention the most idiosyncratic uses in the "talk" section of the country articles. But the thing is: Even if you say "tu eres" people will understand you. Just like we advise people to use the "usted" (or "Sie" in German or "vous" in French or...) form unless entirely sure they can use the "tu" form, they will sound silly but they will be understood. Same goes for the good old stuff like "coger", sure you will make people laugh or at least snicker, but at the end of the day you will be understood. And I think that's the basic idea of a phrasebook, isn't it? Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:09, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
(Thanks ϒpsilon for the ping). As a native Spanish speaker, I think the guide should explain the most common use of Spanish, in the way of being understood by almost every Spanish speaker. Although a 'rioplatense Spanish speaker' use 'vos sos' and some other local words, they understand you if you say 'tú eres'. The most differences are not from written language, but spoken one. The phrasebook should notice the traveller that exists regional dialects and explain the basics, but in the destination guides should be explained the regionalism (section Talk).
Therefore, I think the Castilian Spanish phrasebook should be merged into into this phrasebook, despite the diferences. --Zerabat (talk) 13:00, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I hasten to point out that this phrasebook, despite its title, claims to cover Castilian Spanish. I mean, the first sentence even says: "Spanish (español), also known as Castilian (castellano)". Even if we did want to have separate phrasebooks for Latin American Spanish vs European Spanish, the two articles under discussion are still, explicitly, about the same dialect. Powers (talk) 16:16, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I think you are mistaken. Castellano comes from the fact that it originated in the Castile region of Spain. The word "Castellano" is used for the Spanish language even in the constitution of some Latin American countries. It has thus no connotation of only meaning a certain variety. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:22, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I was looking for this file, which spells out the word used for the language in each country
The fact that Castillian Spanish is the official language of a Latin American country doesn't prove that it's not Castillian, as opposed to some other variety of Spanish. Similarly, I think you would find that British English is official in Singapore, though locals mostly speak Singlish. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:28, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
The two words Castellano and Español are the same thing. As high an authority as the Real Academia de la Lengua says as much. Just like the (rarely used) term "American" means the same as "English". The fact that both refer to regions in Europe is (Castile and Spain, respectively) is inconsequential. Maybe there are connotations to the word Castillian Spanish in English (though I doubt it) but in Spanish there are not. It is just a matter of regional preference (and in Spain one of politics) which one is used. As a matter of fact "Español" is rejected as a term by some Catalan and Basque nationalists as they argue that it implies to be the language of all of Spain, whereas "Castellano" implies to be just another regional language that is at best a primus inter pares among the languages spoken in Spain. It's not that a constitution says some standard is a national language that is not the standard actually spoken there (like "English" in Belize) but it is the constitution reflecting the local preference for one among two equal terms that describe exactly the same thing. The Spanish constitution says "Castellano", whereas the majority of non Basque-nationalist and non Catalan-nationalist Spaniards say "Español". Most countries in Latin America have a slight preference for either term, as reflected on the map above and in their constitution. As there are no spelling differences (and likely never will be as Spanish is spelled almost phonetically), the difference between "European" and "American" Spanish becomes next to meaningless once you write it down. Even some of the grammatical differences have been declared "sub-standard" forms of the "dialects" of American Spanish and are thus hardly ever found in writing. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:16, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I think that phrasebooks are at least as much for speaking and understanding spoken language as they are for reading and writing. I'd really like to get more confirmation of your claim that "Castellano" is absolutely synonymous with "Espanol". Your example of "the American language" is not encouraging, as it specifically refers to American English, as distinct from other forms of English (and, particularly, British English). That's why there are dictionaries of American English, as distinct from the Oxford English Dictionary. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:04, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
A phrasebook has to take the spoken language into account (probably it has to take it into account even more than anything else) but a constitution does not have to do that. If you look at this link I think it becomes clear that the highest official authority for all things related to the Spanish language considers the two words of equal meaning while expressing a slight preference for Español. As the real academia de la lengua is based in Spain, there is really no basis in saying that "Castellano" applies only or predominately for Spanish Spanish. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:19, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Look at the paragraph below the one you link to:
There are many other Academies (grouped under the Association of Spanish Language Academies) that may or may not have an official normative recognition but nevertheless cooperate in the creation of the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas (a compendium of corrected typical mistakes and doubts). The dictionary, whose production was agreed upon by the 22 different Spanish Language Academies, says:
Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:32, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Well that only says that the distinct dialect of the Castile region (as opposed to that of - say - Andalusia or Extremadura) should obviously be called Castellano. The above point still stands. Still just calling the language "Spanish" and dividing it into a "European" and an "American" variety with sub-varieties if necessary should be a workable compromise for our purposes. I am still quite convinced that somebody who pronounces stuff with the "faux pronunciation" given here will have a notable accent regardless and th vs. s are his/her minor concerns when trying to be understood. And for the understanding part: Many people in rural Nicaragua swallow the s, many people in Argentina try to speak a continuation of the Italian language through Spanish words and both take getting used to. Facts like these are best talked about in the country pages, don't you think? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:02, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
They should be talked about in the "Talk" sections of country pages but also, in their broad outlines at least, in the phrasebook. We're trying to serve the traveller, right? Helping him/her understand people is very useful, isn't it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:44, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes we are. But listing an idiosyncratic use common in Argentina is not going to help somebody who wants to go to Mexico. And Spanish is a language with more diversity than can be conveniently subsumed under one or two "standard varieties". My point is: While the most major things can and should be listed, not every turn of phrase or odd pronunciation of some place needs to be part of an overall phrasebook. As with everything here as well: dosis facit venenum Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:03, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
It is obvious that the Spanish language has plenty of dialects (inside Spain and around the world) and the current Spanish phrasebook is not accurate for every country in Latin America. If fidelity is so important then maybe we need a Colombian Spanish phrasebook (and even in that one country the dialect varies widely).
My question was simply do we NEED two different Spanish phrasebooks and I am still inclined to say no. We need one phrase book that is easy to understand and accessible to non-Spanish speakers when traveling.
If Wikivoyage wants to maintain two separate phrasebooks then I'm not going to fight it. I would stress however that the titles will be confusing because if I travel to Spain then of course I will use the Spanish phrasebook because I probably know people speak Spanish in Spain. Andrewssi2 (talk) 03:31, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
ttcf If the traveler comes first and variant phrasebooks can be useful for travelers, I don't understand the rationale for deletion or merging. Making the standard Spanish one excessively long with alternate pronunciations and vocab is not helpful, nor is deleting a plausibly useful phrasebook. I don't even understand the argument in favor of it: this isn't print, so electrons come cheaply and when users do print our guides, they don't print the entire site at once but the things that are useful to them. That actually makes it a good idea to have separate phrasebooks for users going to specific regions and don't need to know about (e.g.) Rioplatinate Spanish in Mexico. Honestly, it seems obvious to me that there is a reasonable utility in having more fine-grained phrasebooks--just imagine if an American went to the UK and didn't know about the slang and differences in common terminology. He wouldn't be completely adrift but it would definitely be useful to know. Now imagine that you are an anglo-American who doesn't know Spanish: it would be so much more useful to have that particular knowledge of the variety of Spanish that you will encounter in (e.g.) Spain. —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:30, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
ttcf can be argued either way on this one, so waving it around doesn't work as a trump card.
As stated above, I believe one phrasebook would be easier for travellers generally, but if there must be two then we should look at some better titles. The Status quo is confusing IMO Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:58, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
One phrasebook is OK if it explains pronunciation sufficiently so that a traveler to any Spanish-speaking country will be reasonably able to use it to be capable of understanding people in common service jobs (cashiers, waitstaff, etc., not just university-educated people or tourism office personnel who speak English). Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:34, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
The difference between the "standard varieties" is not as big as to make being understood impossible (one's heavy accent will be a bigger problem in that) and for elderly people in rural areas (the people most likely to speak with heavy dialectal influence), all bets are off either way. Slang should be mentioned if one can reasonably expect to come into contact with it, but it should be done at the country level; just as we do with England#Talk or Argentina#Talk. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:36, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
We seem to have a philosophical difference. Enforcing "standard varieties" is not even what dictionary editors normally do, nowadays (they tend to be descriptive, rather than prescriptive), but for us to do that in phrasebooks, which are supposed to be of practical use to people in everyday situations, is bizarre (though standard usage should always be mentioned). Pronunciation differences that are typical of a large number of native Spanish-speakers need to be laid out in a phrasebook for it to serve the traveler well. And why do you keep coming back to the traveler being understood, rather than the traveler being able to understand others, which is equally important? Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:47, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
The fact is that right now our two phrasebooks for the Spanish language treat it as if there were two standard varieties with the biggest variety between them being the s/z distinction or lack thereof. This is obviously not the case in the reality on the ground. And in my personal experience, understanding people tends to be greatly aided by people (upon hearing your accent) speaking slower and tuning down some features of the local dialect. In general if you can make yourself understood, you will understand most of the people that want to be understood. And if you think about it, some dialects (Cockney for once) seem to be "designed" to be unintelligible even to native speakers of closely related dialects. In fact that is probably how rhyming slang got started. But I do think that people who normally speak Cockney are capable of tuning it down a little to make themselves understood. My point is this: All the nuances there possibly are will be buried under a huge load of Anglo-accent (theee-oo-dud is not the same as ciudad in either "standard variety" or any of the dialects, but you will probably be understood) and while the differences in slang and dialects are huge, particularly if there is a social connotation to it as well ("urban" slang for example) we cannot adequately represent that by any number of phrasebooks. ¡ché boludo! ¡pura vida maé! ¡va de viaje! ¡andale! Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:09, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Why would we want to make sure we don't offer a phrasebook that most closely matches the country the traveller is visiting? I would be very happy to see at least four or five different nuanced phrasebooks that best approximate the local pronunciation and delve deeper into the local vocabulary (there are significant difference in even basic things like vegetable names and food items). What possible advantage could there be to forcing it all into a single generalization if we can offer the traveller a phrasebook closely suited to the region they are travelling to? To me, it just sounds like arguing against greatness in favor of "good enough". If these two are not good enough where they stand, we should work on expanding them to greatness, not retracting them into a single "good enough" generalization that will never be perfectly suited to anyone's destination. Texugo (talk) 12:15, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Stupid question: Where does this (or in fact any) phrasebook mention the name of a single vegetable? Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:22, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
The "Eating" section, but it is nowhere near extensive enough. Look at Malay phrasebook#Eating by comparison. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:27, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
It seems like there would be an awful lot of duplication if we had separate phrasebooks for Puerto Rican Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Spanish in Spain, Columbian Spanish, American Spanish, etc. It just seems out of scope. I wouldn't expect a foreign language travel guide to have separate American and British English phrasebooks either. Powers (talk) 13:25, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Slang, etc. Even though we have a phrasebook for Australia, which speaks English? I don't see how it's out of scope to provide information that could reasonably assist a traveler. —Justin (koavf)TCM 13:40, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

The Australian slang travel topic is an outline btw... Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:06, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

It is false comparison to talk about American/British/Australian, so let's drop that angle. The differences in Spanish (and Portuguese) are considerably wider. Also I'm not arguing for a separate guide for every country, but I'd say it would be worthwhile to have 3-4 of regional version. Incidentally, Portuguese could use a third (African) phrasebook. Texugo (talk) 15:46, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
So what about Portuñol than? Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:54, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
What about it? That's just the result of a native Spanish speaker speaking Portuguese poorly, or a native Portuguese speaker speaking Spanish poorly, not an actual language someone would need a phrase book for. Texugo (talk) 17:12, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
It is reportedly (I've never been there) employed as a means of communication along the Uruguay/Brazil "peace border" fairly regularly and may or may not be on its way to becoming "a real language". If we are seriously considering going into the minutiae of various Spanish dialects, isn't this of more use to the voyager? After all, supposedly both speakers of Portuguese and Spanish will (with a certain amount of effort) understand it and you will understand them more or less (just the same way you understand people if one of our phrasebooks is all you go by) Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:44, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Not really. The fact they "speak portuñol" typically just means they mix enough of language B with their native language A in order to make themselves understood the best they can, so what you hear there is non-standardized, non-systematic, and the way it is constructed and pronounced is individualized and dependent on the speaker's native language, skill, and learning process. There is nothing on which we could legitimately base a standardized phrasebook. Texugo (talk) 21:21, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
I was surprised to hear we had a phrasebook for Australian English, and relieved to find out it was just a travel topic on slang. I admit I have no first-hand knowledge, but surely European and new World dialects of Spanish are mutually intelligible? Powers (talk) 18:29, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
They are. Especially in the written form. And we have already discussed at length how difficult it is to truly represent spoken language if we don't want to or can't make use of the international phonetic alphabet (see talk:German phrasebook). Furthermore the differences that do exist tend to be toned down in contact with visitors... Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:36, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
I would submit that the IP alphabet is a lot less useful than links to native speakers speaking words and phrases, but that should probably be discussed in a different thread. But to repeat: I'm OK with a single Spanish phrasebook, providing that all common pronunciations (and variation in vocabulary) are covered in that single phrasebook in a clear way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:01, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
That's kind of a tricky issue. The one variation in pronunciation that everybody can agree on to actually exist is the distinction / lack of it between "casa" and "caza". However, some rural and poor areas in Andalucia realize both with a "th" sound... On the other hand "swallowing of the s" is clearly associated with marginalized groups (rural, poor) and not considered "standard" or "prestigious". While we can - and should - mention stuff like that in the appropriate country or even region travel guide, cluttering a phrasebook with it is going to cause more confusion than anything. Or would you like to see an in depth-discussion of the various pronunciations of the sentence "tune in y'all this is Corpus Christi Radio on KWML" in regards to the speaker being from Texas, the rest of the South or not from the US at all? If I understand the purpose of those phrasebooks correctly, they are supposed to give a crude way of coping in some of the most essential situations, not discuss which slang word is common in which hamlet in Argentina. There naturally have to be generalizations and at times even things that are not 100% factually accurate "across the board"... Or am I mistaken? Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:24, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Swallowing the "s" is so common among Caribbeans that it needs to be mentioned, but I'm not suggesting it has to be reflected in all pseudo-pronunciations. But I think our standard should be whether a visitor is likely to be confronted with a variety of a language. In the Malay phrasebook, I usually haven't tried to explain Kelantanese Malay, because while it's mutually unintelligible for some speakers of standard Malay, the people a visitor is likely to encounter in Kelantan will be able to understand and speak standard Malay. But in Patani, a very similar dialect is generally used, so if someone wanted to make a phrasebook for Kelantanese/Patani Malay, that would be useful to some visitors. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:43, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

This is getting a rather long discussion and quite frankly I don't even entirely know what it is about... Other than the general direction of this phrasebook and Castillan Spanish phrasebook.... Anyhoo... Reflecting all dialects of a policentric language with almost half a billion speakers and many local idiosyncrasies is almost impossible. However, there is no good way to break it down into any number of "standard varieties" without ignoring a big part of the "reality on the ground". I think on those basic issues we are pretty much in agreement, aren't we? Now as to how to proceed from there, I have no clue... Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:59, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Yup, I am at that point as well :) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:44, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, at the moment, given that this phrasebook does try to cover regional dialectical differences, there doesn't seem to be any reason for Castilian Spanish phrasebook to exist. Powers (talk) 23:29, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I'd agree with that, but no idea how to move past the impasse above. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:31, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Well, I think it's fine for there to be only one phrasebook if it does cover dialectical differences effectively, but you all should try to convince User:Texugo. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:06, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Todo (estaba) bien caro[edit]

A pal from Nayarit, Mexico complained of rip-off Disneyland prices with this juicy phrase: "La metieron doblada" !! —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Pronouncing e like "ay" or "ey"[edit]

I know the pseudo phonetic thingies have always had to deal with the problem that English lacks a clear relationship between spelling and pronunciation, but Spanish e is one of the most straightforward sounds there is. Indeed all Spanish vowels are. There are only five (a e i o u) and all diphthongs can be considered merely two Spanish vowels after another. Replacing "e" (which is a sound English has) with "ey" is not only wrong, it is also one of the best ways to sound like an American, which is not always helpful in Latin America. Hobbitschuster (talk) 04:51, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Pronunciation of vowels[edit]

Turbo8000 (who I would guess, from his work in ES-Wikiviajes, is probably a South American native speaker) recently made these pronunciation changes, which were reverted by LtPowers. As a native US English speaker whose Spanish tends to be Mexican, I see at least two problems with our current pronunciations: (1) In Spanish all simple vowels (non-diphthongs) are pure, but in English they are not, and for the most part we (English-speakers) are unaware of that. To demonstrate this, try to say a long O, and pay attention to what your mouth does. At the end, it changes shape, and you have turned the pure O into a diphthong O-U. Similarly, when we say "pay", we think we are uttering a pure vowel, but it really has a brief EE at the end. And that is wrong in Spanish! (2) In most cases, English EH is a better approximation to the Spanish vowel e than even a pure-vowel version of "pay" would be. Yes, there are differences, e.g., between the e in peso (which is stressed but often prounounced like e in "pet", notwithstanding our advice to pronounce only unstressed e that way) and that in José, and that should be addressed, but as a first approximation, Turbo8000's changes are a great improvement, IMO. I am not an expert, and this is all off the top of my head: I would suggest that in further discussion we make reference to the huge volume of scholarly work on Spanish pronunciation and use IPA symbols to make our points. Peter Chastain (talk) 05:48, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

I think Spanish is like German in being a phonetically-spelled language, so quite arguably, the best we can do is describe all the sounds clearly and then just give the phrasebook, indicating where the stress falls and not using pseudo-pronunciations, but I know such a proposal will not be accepted by a consensus.
In the long run, links to native speakers pronouncing sounds are really optimal, but we never resolved a discussion we were having about that, and so nothing was done. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:14, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. Also, this specific issue appears to have come up repeatedly including twice just now Hobbitschuster (talk) 06:32, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
There are two issues on the table: (1) How to show pronunciation (with audio links, a list of pronunciations of each letter of the alphabet, pseudopronunciation of every word, etc.). We should discuss this, but I don't think we will resolve it soon. (2) Whether to fix the pseudopronunciations we have right now. I think Turbo8000's changes are a step in the right direction and would like to restore them, but I won't do that until we have consensus here, and especially until LtPowers has had a chance to explain his/her objections. Peter Chastain (talk) 07:42, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
It's not obvious to me that the changes were so helpful to English speakers. For example, if I see a syllable with a consonant and then the letter "e", I read it as rhyming with "be", which is obviously wrong for Spanish. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you can resolve this. If we assume that this article is limited to Spanish spoken in Latin America ( and Spain is separate in Castilian_Spanish_phrasebook ) then the dialects from Mexico to Argentina vary so much, even sometimes significantly within one country. Andrewssi2 (talk) 09:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Hello. I changed the "e" sounds because it's not like the "ay" in "pay", it is like an "eh", I don't know why we should make consensus to that stupid wrong things, I am a native Spanish speaker who knows the sounds, and that's why I fixed the "e". Turbo8000 (talk) 13:16, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Turbo8000, thanks for jumping in. The short answer to your question is, "Because consensus is the Wikimedia way." You know Spanish better than I, or probably anyone else in this discussion, so I can understand your frustration, but we need you to listen to other arguments and to trust our ability to learn from yours. And in this case, the issue is not just Spanish expertise, but an understanding of what an anglophone hears in her head when she reads a written pronunciation. I agree with your original changes (from "-AY" to "-EH"), but am frankly perplexed by your latest batch, most notably with changing "BAH-nyoh" to "BAH-ñoh", since the latter uses a letter that not all anglophones know, it not being in our alphabet. (In Catalunya, they've dealt with that issue by keeping it out of their language, too, but I digress.) And the regional variations in the pronunciation of B and V definitely need further discussion. Peter Chastain (talk) 16:02, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Given that "ny" is my go to way of replacing ñ when writing on a keyboard that doesn't have it, I strongly advise we keep it in the pseudo phonetization. As for the pronunciation of e... ay is unambiguously wrong, whereas eh e or the likes might be confusing for some. I think confusing is better than wrong. Interestingly the Spanish pseudo phonetization of English I have come across does a similarly poor job as the reverse... I think there is a case to be made in favor of altogether ditching pseudo phonetization in phonetically-spelled languages that use the Latin alphabet and are overall similar to standard average European Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:29, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Agreed on all. But as long as we have pseudo-pronunciations, I think "eh" is probably the best solution. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:00, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Ikan Kekek. Turbo8000 (talk) 19:23, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Guys, guys, guys. We've been through this before. Please, read (or re-read) #E is not pronounced like ay in hay.

Now, I'll admit my Spanish expertise is limited to three years in high school, taught by native English speakers, but I was taught that "e" gets the English long 'A' sound -- that is, it's pronounced like our letter "A". PAY-dro, PWAY-day, mee-AYR-koh-lays. I've allowed the "EH" alternative as the two are very close when spoken quickly and I'm perfectly willing to consider that my instruction may have been an approximation at best.

But Turbo8000's edits are completely wrong. He changed "SEE-nay" to "SEE-ne", which (as I said in my edit comment) "is not how our pseudo-pronunciations work". If "SEE-neh" is closer to the way actual hispanophones pronounce it, then that would be one thing, but "SEE-ne" is undefined in our pseudo-pronunciation scheme and thus profoundly unhelpful to the traveler. That is why I reverted the edits, and I strongly object to Turbo8000 reinstating them unilaterally. Non-native English speakers need to be very cautious about editing anything having to do with pseudo-pronunciations on the English Wikivoyage because they are very strongly tied to a native's instinctive reading of English words. In such a context, reinstating a reverted edit without discussion is completely unacceptable. I request that Turbo8000's edits be re-removed immediately so that we have a valid phrasebook to consider for further correct edits via discussion and consensus.

-- Powers (talk) 19:49, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict) First of all, "ay" is a diphthong, whereas the Spanish e isn't. Furthermore, "Spanish e" is a sound English has. Given that Spanish does not differentiate between "long" and "short" vowels the way German or English do, it could be argued that all Spanish vowels also exist in English. Now, we could compare this to a guide for English written by a German putting in "s" instead of "th" (although that comparison is flawed insofar as German lacks the sound[s] English expresses as "th") - which would be unambiguously wrong and immediately show up as a thick accent to everybody hearing said person. Confusing "ey" and "e" is in fact one of the first things I do when trying to immitate an American accent speaking Spanish (don't ask me why I do that). The other is the confusion between "ou" (as expressed in Spanish logic) as opposed to "o". An American would say "nou eintiendou" instead of "no entiendo" and given that Spanish pronunciation is very straightforward and can be picked up within a few hours of dedicated study (really not much more than the average flight to Latin America), I doubt what the (not at all intuitive) pseudo-phonetizations can do to help people avoid the most common signs of a broad (sometimes next to incomprehensible accent). And finally, not all our readers are native speakers of English and given that many other language versions lack phrasebooks (either entirely or in this quality and quantity), we cannot make phrasebooks for English speakers only. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:00, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, edit warring is unacceptable, and it can be grounds for blocking a user's editing privileges. And using "e" by itself is definitely unhelpful, as I mentioned above. However, you do not need to request a reversion of Turbo8000's edits - just revert them again - and User:Turbo8000, you need to never edit war again, or it might become necessary to block your editing privileges. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:56, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Let me add to my above comments that edit warring never is the way to go and Turbo8000 seriously needs to reconsider his/her attitude if they want to stay/become a productive member of the Wikivoyage community. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:01, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
First: Yes, phrasebook on en.voy are for English speakers only. It's complicated enough to deal with one set of pseudo-pronunciations; we're not going to create others for speakers of Mandarin, Hindi, Tamil, Swahili, French, German, Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, etc. Other language versions need to create their own phrasebooks. I hope I've made my point.
Second, I don't know how you say "has" in English, but I assure you, the vowel I use as a New Yorker in pronouncing that word does not exist in Spanish.
Third, your points about the difference between "ou" and Spanish "o" are dead-on. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:07, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
No, the word "has" does not indeed contain the "Spanish e". I might have been unclear there. You can however use the vowel in "pet" and most Spanish speakers I know of would either not hear a difference to their e or pronounce it the same. And I don't wanted to say that our pseudo-phonetizations need to follow the logic of Tamil or Swahili (which are btw two languages WV does not exist in 'at all) but rather that they should be decipherable (and not entirely misleading) to a second language English speaker of reasonable proficiency who speaks any other language as a mother tongue. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:13, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Hobbitschuster, let me correct, it's "his" attitude, I am a man.

Ikan Kekek, it's obvious that the sound like the german ä or the azeri ə does not exist in Spanish. Turbo8000 (talk) 20:16, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't know if it's obvious that Spanish doesn't have a sound like German ä (=German e), but that's not relevant. As for being concerned about English learners understanding pseudo-pronunciations, I think that's a step too far. It's almost insuperably difficult to provide pseudo-pronunciations that work for all native English speakers; trying to guess how a native German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Hebrew speaker might misread them and then trying to change them to be unambiguous to all is in my opinion a fool's errand. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:27, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
You are probably right with regards to the "fool's errand". If only someone had invented a way to graphically represent sounds in an unambiguous manner. Some kind of "International Phonetic Alphabet" or something of the sorts... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:03, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, IPA would be awesome to use :) Just that it isn't accessible for most people. I can't help thinking with the ambiguities of what people 'think' Spanish should sound like you will never get 100% on the pronunciations in this article. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:11, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
To cite a stupid "forced meme" commercial that has become something of an internet sensation: ¿Por qué no los dos? - Why not both? IPA and whatever the thing we currently do is called Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:23, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Yes, I agree in putting IPA too. I've put see-ne by error, but it should be see-neh. Turbo8000 (talk) 21:53, 17 January 2016 (UTC) ːThe problem was with Jueves (we-BEHS), when "ju" is not "w", it is "hoo-EH-vehs". I changed all to "eh" as we agree in consensus. Turbo8000 (talk) 22:21, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Can other people comment whether consensus has been achieved or not? (as far as I can tell the discussion went elsewhere). I have protected the article until this is cleared up. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:25, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
There is currently no consensus for anything except further discussion. And as for "Jueves" I would argue that while "h" is not a correct representation of the sound of Spanish "j", it is close enough (English does not have the "Spanish j" sound) and will be understood by Spanish speakers, because Spanish in turn lacks the sound of "English h" Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:41, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Let's talk about the Spanish "v" a little. I don't have advanced Spanish skills at all, but I've noticed that the sound is somewhere between English-language "b" and "v", but in the pronunciation of both people speaking Spanish (not Gallego) in Galicia and the Latin-Americans I've heard pronouncing the sound, it's been closer to "b". Is it closer to "v" in Peru? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Most Nicaraguans cannot hear any difference between Spanish "v" and Spanish "b". As evidenced by the fact that it is frequently confused in writing. I don't know for sure about other dialects, though. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:00, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I also think for the purposes of this guide, 'h' and 'j' are pretty much interchangeable. The same is true of 'b' and 'v'. Of course purists will hate that, but if your pronunciation has to be at 100% fidelity with a native speaker before learning a language then there is no point in even trying.
I also feel that pronunciation specifics of Peru should be addressed on Peru, and not argued on the standard guide here. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:58, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
If it helps, then look at the guide's entry on ll . This is a sound that varies massively around the Spanish world and accommodated here with not too much drama. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:02, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Wait, "jueves" is "we-BEHS"? Are you saying it rhymes with English "duress"? "HWAY-vays" is how I learned it.
'b' and 'v' are crazy. I was taught to kind of split the difference between the two English sounds. It looks so weird to see the pronunciations with a clear 'b'. Surely "viente" and "boca" don't start with exactly the same sound?
-- Powers (talk) 02:13, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
With respect to 'b' and 'v', I was also taught that it was 'somewhere in the middle'. In any case, what are we trying to achieve here? A definitive guide to pronouncing the Spanish language (apparently ignoring all the differences throughout the Spanish world) or providing a simple and useful guide that will help the traveler? Andrewssi2 (talk) 02:48, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Why would it be obvious that "b" and "v" don't have the same sound? Do "l" and "ll" have the same sound in English? They're different letters with different sounds in Spanish. Assumptions like this are impediments to learning a language. I believe they do sound the same, but as Andrew says, maybe in some dialects of Spanish, they don't. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:52, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
No, "jue" is not same as "weh". "Weh" is usually meant for "hue". You learned very bad, and "ay" is not "e". "Eh" is most like "e". Turbo8000 (talk) 20:17, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Turbo8000 - Statements such as "You learned very bad" are patronizing and unhelpful. Please treat other contributors with respect. Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:46, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Turbo also changed my "veinte" (twenty) to "vientre" (belly) without explanation. I've about had it. I'm afraid I can't make any sense his post, either, though I assume that's an innocent language barrier issue. Powers (talk) 22:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
It is veinte, not viente. Turbo8000 (talk) 16:32, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Since Power's spelt it "veinte" it seems that you are mistaken. Andrewssi2 (talk) 20:59, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

(indent reset) actually, Turbo edited Power's contribution. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

I think we should revert edits that change the content of other people's comments Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Such edits are on my opinion utterly rude and unacceptable. Ibaman (talk) 23:51, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, that's embarrassing. I retract my criticism; it was a typo on my part and it was just corrected to the wrong word. Powers (talk) 18:33, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

Was any conclusion reached above? Andrewssi2 (talk) 19:49, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

I doubt it. Though the old proposals of audio files and/or IPA were raised. Personally I think there can't be any (okay much) harm in having the IPA in addition to any other solution... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:22, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
I see one problem with that. If we use IPA, don't we need to have — or, preferably, link to — an article that explains IPA? That would require a consensus to link to a non-travel-related article. It wouldn't have to be a Wikipedia article, by the way, but should be whichever one seems to explain it in the easiest, most understandable way. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:28, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
While I see the benefit for our readers in linking to something like that, I do remember that for instance my English textbook just provided the IPA for every word in the vocab part without ever explaining them. In essence having it does no harm to those that don't already know it. But it of course also does no benefit to those that don't understand it and it is not entirely self evident what which symbol means. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:50, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
IPA would only cover one dialect. If a Spanish speaker from somewhere in Latin America appeared on the page and INSISTED they knew how to pronounce Spanish better than anyone else (an unlikely scenario, but could happen...) then it would cause more problems.
I would keep going back to the point that we want to help the traveler say basic words and phrases that are understood by local people, not achieve fluency. We don't have to be phonetically incorrect, but let us remember why we have a phrasebook in the first place.
We can make an exception perhaps and link to all the relevant Wikipedia articles on this subject? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:54, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict)While it is true that people of all walks of live, even rich people from big cities, often pronounce Spanish words highly distinct from the way they are "supposed to" be said, even those people are aware of something I would call "general American Spanish" and "general European Spanish". Those two in turn are mostly differentiated by the pronunciation of z/s and ce/ci/se/si as either distinct or the same. And may I remind you we at least at some point had separate phrasebooks for those two separate varieties. I think teaching people about every variety of those broad standards (which much like "general American" are most likely the mother tongue of exactly zero people on earth) does not serve any purpose in a travel guide. Spanish Wikivoyage can of course go into much more detail on the differences between Hondruan and Nicaraguan Spanish, just like we do in our English language varieties. But to show you a similar example, our German guide mostly focuses on standard German as defined by the Duden and even ignores (most) common Austrian and Swiss forms that are so much standard that a newscaster in the public TV stations would say them. Even the spelling variants (Swiss Standard German lacks the "ß" replacing it with "ss" instead) are generally ignored for the sake of readability. I see no reason why such a thing is impossible for Spanish. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:02, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Are you saying that you could define a common Spanish pronunciation for the whole of Latin America? (and excluding Castilian Spanish from Spain) If you can then awesome :) Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:21, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
If you ignore Argentinian pronunciation (which is basically Italian with Spanish words anyway) and "swallowed s" or other phenomenons than yes. You would also have to say that "ll" and "y" are basically the same sound (I know they aren't in some dialects, but most of Latin America does not care) than yes, you can get a "neutral" dialect, that everybody would recognize as Latin American Spanish and would understand, despite the fact that nobody actually speaks like that. Incidentally it would also be rather close to Mexican Spanish sans slang (which would make it not Mexican Spanish at all, ¡orale!) Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:41, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
So I wanted to avoid discrepancies between dialects, but 'll' is spoken mostly as a an english 'J' in Colombia and other places. Additionally the strength of the 'J' varies a great deal even inside the country.
If you want to identify the Hanover German equivalent of Latin American Spanish then I'm good with that. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:57, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Why Wikipedia in particular, not some other sites? Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:58, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
Sure, whatever works best. Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:21, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

Spanish a[edit]

Sorry to open this whole can of worms (or rather bag of wasps), but the vowel "a" in Spanish is not pronounced like in "bat" imho. If anything it sounds more like a in "father" or "answer"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:24, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Father, not answer as I pronounce that word, but yeah, also not bat. There is no "a" as in "answer" vowel in Spanish, as far as I'm concerned. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:26, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm getting concerned about the high volume of pronunciation changes in this article. Improvements are obviously always welcome, but given the great diversity of pronunciation of the Spanish language throughout the world, I'm rather wary of someone just coming in and 'stamping' their view. This is doubly compounded with a native Spanish speaker (as seems to be the case here) is making their own assumptions about how native English speakers are supposed to hear these pronunciations.
Should we ask for all pronunciation changes to be discussed on this talk page first? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:02, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Muy buenas noches a todas y todos :-)

I made the "bat" edit, and understand all your concerns. I made the edit on the basis of my own accent (southern England). Since the Spanish A sounds nothing like "father" as I know it to be pronounced (think "farther" with the R non-rhotic, and you can see why I might think why "Mardrid", "grarcias and "zarpartos" are incorrect prononciations, and of course they are). The problem is that we native English speakers pronounce the "a" in "father" differently from one another. Likewise, the American pronunciation of "bat" sounds nothing like the Spanish A, whereas the English pronunciation of "bat" is, I feel, a good approximation. But clearly neither solution is satisfactory, we need a compromise that works for all forms of English‡, so I am supportive of Andrewssi2's proposal to discuss pronunciation changes before they are made.

‡ Is this even possible to achieve with written text without using IPA, which let's face it, many travellers won't understand? Might it not be better to once again consider soundfiles for all pronunciations? A recording (preferably of a native speaker) is able to unambiguously give a pronunciation as it is in the language, rather than an English approximation written by an English speaker in Hampshire, Hong Kong or Houston and based on that English-speaker's own biases due to on his particular accent. And it would save so many debates of this nature. Best, --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:30, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

I find sound files to be largely useless, unless they're very professionally recorded, and all use the same speaker. Even then, there's no telling what accent that particular speaker has. Not only that, but how useful is a recording in a real-world phrasebook situation anyway? Remember what a phrasebook is: it's a document that a traveler can pull out in the moment when she needs to know how to say something in a foreign language. She's walking down the street and needs to find a police officer, or wants to pay her bill in a restaurant. She opens up the phrasebook to the correct page and reads out the correct phrase. The easiest way to facilitate that is with a phonetic transcription based on the traveler's own native language. How would that work with audio recordings? Would she have to look up each word individually and string them together into a sentence? Powers (talk) 23:49, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
And by the way, the recent spate of edits from June 15 are largely horrific, and I have no idea how to revert them without losing the few good edits interspersed within. The article has been left rife with errors due to wide-ranging changes that were done incompletely. The article is in a bizarre half-state and I don't think it's something we should be presenting to the user. Powers (talk) 23:54, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
No Powers. My recent edits aren't horrific, the problem is that your Spanish is very rudimentary/bad. We nevermind pronounce "e" like an English "ay", nevermind a "c" like an English "th", and we don't say "Dirección única", instead we use "Un solo sentido" -- for example. I am native Spanish speaker, if pronunciation is wrong for an English speaker, then change it as better as you can. For the problem with the vocal "a" (mentioned by ThunderingTyphoons!) then we should put "ah" which always will sound like an Spanish "a". Regards, NeoMaps (talk) 12:37, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
While it is a stretch to say that any Spanish dialect pronounces "e" like "ay", there is a rather notable dialect (Spanish-Spanish) that does absolutely pronounce C before E and I as "th"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:40, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I really don't like the idea of dumping "usted" and going for tuteísmo. AND I must say I'm feeling that NeoMaps really sounds and writes like Turbo8000. Just for the record. Ibaman (talk) 12:49, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

If Neomaps is indeed Turbo, he or she should think long and hard what got them banned in the first place. If they aren't, it might still be a good idea to look at the behavior that got people angry at Turbo and/or ask how to ensure more goodwill towards him/her. At any rate, I agree that usted is better, because being too formal only ever has the downside of sounding quirky stuffy or old fashioned, whereas being too informal can result in anything from a court case about "insulting people" to offended people and brawls... Usually it won't, but the risk for saying "tu" when you shouldn't is much higher than the risk for saying "usted" when you shouldn't... Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:54, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Taking a look at all the edits the past few days, I'd say the result is less satfisfactory than before.
Would it be a good idea to revert back to this version : and start again? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:12, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
Advising people to always use familiar forms is very bad, so if it's too difficult to disentangle the good edits from the bad, a global reversion would be indicated. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:18, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Powers, sorry it's taken a couple of days to get back to you. All of the problems you've proposed are very easily overcome. We first of all use the same speaker throughout a phrasebook, and note somewhere prominent in the phrasebook where the speaker's accent comes from. In most cases, the accent won't matter hugely as the person using the phrasebook is not going to suddenly to be speaking like a Madrileño after using our Spanish phrasebook; they're still (almost certainly) a beginner after all.

"Remember what a phrasebook is: it's a document that a traveler can pull out in the moment when she needs to know how to say something in a foreign language." Yes, but WV isn't a book! Since we have the benefit of being electronic, and online to boot, why not exploit that, play to our strengths? Much easier that the traveller in your scenario pulls out her phone or tablet and listens to a native speaker say the phrase (not just the alphabet, I'm talking about using audio for the actual words and phrases contained in the phrasebook), or maybe even plays it to the police officer or waiter.

And that's without reiterating the main advantage of having audio: that there's no room for interpretation or error based on how a pronunciation is spelt, because the pronunciation is there, embedded in the phrasebook itself and can be listened to at the touch of a button.

Regarding the proposal for a large revert, I don't know why we have a separate phrasebook for Castilian Spanish, but since we do, some of the recent edits that have removed Castilian 'lispy' pronunciations have been worthwhile, in my opinion. The informal 'tú' forms and whatever other issues there are with the phrasebook (my Spanish is middling, so I don't really see any other specific problems) can surely be sorted out without needing to do a full revert back to the 16th May. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 15:44, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

I agree with you on audio files.
As for the separate phrasebook for Castilian Spanish, there is a long thread above called "Title" that we might want to revive and try harder to resolve. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:34, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
Oh gosh, so there is! I'll take a look. Gracias, --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 20:09, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
How exactly do you propose to procure professional pronunciations by the same speaker for every phrase (and variation on a phrase!) in this phrasebook? Notice that several of the entries are partial sentences or single words that are designed to be combined with other fill-in-the-blank phrases as needed, and I don't see any practical way to do that with audio.
The problems may not be as bad as I thought. I saw a few in quick succession and assumed the rest of the file was the same. But without going through the entire phrasebook line-by-line, it's hard to say how many others there might be. Here are a couple:
  • "; ia : like 'ee-yah': piano (pee-AH-noh)" — The pronunciation example now directly contradicts the explanation of the diphthong.
  • "; PULL : Jala (TEE-reh/HAH-leh)" — The first translation was removed without removing the corresponding pronunciation.
I kind of agree that including all of the "th"/"s" variations in here is cumbersome, but I'm still not convinced on the need for a separate phrasebook for both dialects. They're mutually intelligible, aren't they?
I'm going to start a new section for pronunciation of Spanish "e".
-- Powers (talk) 20:09, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes, sure, the "th"/"s" variations are mutually intelligible, but if you don't use the right pronunciation in Spain, they will surely correct you. At least, that's been my (admittedly limited) experience. So it's really best to know which accent you need where and try your best to use it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:14, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
In my experience (though I have been to Spain a very short time, I have met some Spaniards) they will not correct you, but might get some jabs in at turns of phrase or pronunciation quirks they think of as odd. And with some slang they might genuinely not know what you are saying and ask you to clarify. Though it is probably different whether you clearly speak Spanish (albeit another variety) or have very halting Spanish and a thick accent (which will more likely result in getting corrected). Apart from some things that you would have to construct in order to occur, the difference between "z" and "s" can always be made out from context and won't change the meaning of the sentence. Or could you imagine a sentence where both "house" (casa) and "hunt" (caza) could conceivably fit in in the same space? To flip this on its head: would you correct someone speaking a dialect of English which lacks some distinguishing feature your does? (e.g. pronouncing "due" and "do" the same way). Would that be affected by the overall proficiency of said speaker? By the way some dialects in Andalucía (generally a poor region of Spain and sometimes seen as a backwater) also lack the distinction between "z" and "s" and some speakers there lisp every z/s. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:26, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
I agree. If I spoke fluent Spanish with a clear Latin American accent, I probably wouldn't be "corrected" in Spain. And "due" and "do" are pronounced the same way here in New York. I don't correct other pronunciations of English unless I don't understand them, so no, I wouldn't think of "correcting" someone who speaks with a different native speaker accent. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:10, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Spanish "e" (again)[edit]

Here is a Commons audio file for the Spanish word "qué".

I hear "kay", not "keh". Or maybe something halfway in between, like English "ay" without the slight "y" sound on the end. Wikipedia calls it w:Mid front unrounded vowel. Listen to the audio file there. I don't hear that as "eh".

So what am I missing here?

-- Powers (talk) 20:09, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

The vowel sound in the word "que" to me sounds very much like the vowel sound in the word "pet" in English and nothing like the vowel sound in e.g. "may" which to me is a diphthong comprised of something I (for lack of a better term) would call an "e" (in Spanish or German logic) combined with an "i" (in - again - Spanish or German logic). And yes the fact that "ei" does not represent this sound in German is not lost to me. It does however in Spanish, and mixing up "peine" and "pene" can be kind of embarrassing. Or so I've heard. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:17, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
English, likely Spanish, have very different accents. Maybe in Powers accent, the English "ay" can sound like a Spanish "e", but in standard English, it doesn't. 21:44, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
Neomaps/Turbo8000 : That is actually the point. Your own personal belief in what 'standard Spanish' and 'standard English' is not correct for anyone but yourself. That is why this talk page exists. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:56, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
User:Hobbitschuster: I honestly struggle to hear English "ay" as a diphthong, but I recognize that linguists do. Perhaps a medial "a" is a better example, as in "crate" or "table". I'm not suggesting "peine" and "pene" should be pronounced the same; I pronounce the Spanish "ei" diphthong differently from the English "ey". I also find myself sometimes pronouncing unaccented Spanish "e" differently from accented Spanish "e" (e.g., "pequeños" I would render in pseudo-phonetics as "peh-KAY-nyos"). Where am I going wrong? Powers (talk) 20:47, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
"A" in "crate" and "table" is also a diphthong of "eh+ee". If you pay really close attention when you say these words, I think you'll find that you make a very brief "y" sound just at the end of the vowel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:04, 22 June 2016 (UTC)


Can we just revert to the version before all this non-helpful editing began? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:25, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

If there's nothing good to salvage from the edits that were made, then go ahead and revert. But please wait at least a day in case anyone else objects. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:38, 19 June 2016 (UTC)
I'll go ahead in another 12 hours hours if nobody raises any concern. Andrewssi2 (talk) 21:31, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
I believe one of my contributions was worthwhile, which I have already saved to my sandbox in anticipation of your revert (go there if you want to examine it, as it's really too long to put here).
Other than that, there were some helpful edits in Turbo's work (I don't agree with there being a separate phrasebook for Castilian Spanish, but while there is one, we really should keep Castilian out of this guide, it only confuses matters, and adds to clutter), but not enough to justify the amount of time it would take to sort the wheat from the chaff. I say go ahead and revert, if nothing else it may discourage Turbo from coming back. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:54, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
It is more than possible that some of Turbo8000 edits were helpful. Even people with an incorrect sense of infallibility can still be correct some of the time :) --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:10, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
In the end, it may not matter if some of his edits were helpful. We should probably revert them anyway since he was evading his block. Powers (talk) 20:48, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
Reset to May 16th 2016 with changes by User:ThunderingTyphoons! taken from User:ThunderingTyphoons!/sandbox#Spanish_phrasebook_salvage Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:48, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protect status[edit]

I implemented semi-protect in order to stop Turbo8000's continued vandalism. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 22:49, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Audio files[edit]

Let's start a new section, as the audio files discussion is really a separate issue from the pronunciation discussion.

Powers, we have seven native Spanish-speaking editors right here on Wikivoyage English, and Wikiviajes en español has a small armada of them. Hopefully at least one of our fellow voyagers will be up for being the voice of the phrasebook.

Not being a sound technician, I don't know right now how exactly we could get a "professional" recording done, though I'd have thought any half-decent microphone could record a sound quality that was good enough. If that's truly not a practical solution, we could just copy whatever Commons does to record their audio files, for instance that audio file of qué you found is excellent quality. And about that file: doesn't the fact you were able to listen to it, and knew instantly how qué should be pronounced, tell you something good about audio files, and how useful they could be in our phrasebooks? Now imagine you didn't have to waste time scrabbling around on Commons, hoping they had a file for the word you needed, because you knew there was a great talking phrasebook on Wikivoyage? Pretty neat, right?

As to your other point, it had certainly struck me as a pitfall that many of our entries are fragmented. But then I thought about it for a bit, and the solution is straightforward. Each fragment end (i.e. the bit that is just "...[Spanish word].") would have a recording of the full sentence as it should be spoken. So for example in the fragment "(How do I get to) ...the airport?", the audio wouldn't just say "al aeropuerto?", it would give the whole question "¿Cómo puedo llegar al aeropuerto?"

Sorry, but I really don't see the downsides of this one. Yes, it will require effort to set up. No, it's not as easy as sticking with status quo and changing a few pseudo-pronunciation spellings. But once it's up and running, it will be incredibly easy to use, it will tell our readers exactly how to pronounce every basic travel word and phrase in Spanish (not via the App store for $4.99, but free and instantly accessible like all education should be in the 21st century), it will help to make this phrasebook look and sound even more professional, and it will allow Wikivoyage and specifically our phrasebooks to stand out from the crowd as something different and modern.

Thoughts? (sorry it's so long, I really don't know how to be concise!) --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 23:09, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

I absolutely support this. I don't see a down side. We can keep the pseudo-pronunciations, but listening to stuff is very useful while on trains, etc. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:18, 20 June 2016 (UTC)
The effort required to create -- and maintain -- the pronunciations isn't a downside?
I find the "qué" audio file to be rather poor quality. It has a very percussive low-frequency thump on the speaker's initial attack. I would guess the speaker was too close to the microphone, though I'm also not an audio engineer. And it doesn't even serve to resolve the question of how to pronounce the word; I still can't tell if the vowel is "eh" or "ay" or something in between. Powers (talk) 20:52, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
Alright, sure, there are challenges involved in creating and maintaining the audio files, just as there are with creating and maintaining anything else on this site. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:03, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
You don't need to know if it's "ay" or "eh", because it's not either - it's "é". "Ay" and "eh" are only needed as pseudo-English visual representations of the Spanish vowel sound (because we don't have "é" in our language); with audio, they're redundant. The quality, in my opinion, is more than satisfactory to understands what's being said, and to to how to pronounce the word "qué". --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:54, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
I always though the vowel sound in the word "pet" is exactly the same as the sound in the word "que" and while Spanish does have stress "long" and "short" vowels are not distinguished in any way and many native speakers don't even hear a difference. Am I getting something wrong there? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:31, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
"Am I getting something wrong there?" Almost certainly not. Your Spanish is better than mine, for a start. The way I (and other English people) pronounce "pet", the E doesn't sound like "qué", but I imagine in addition to preferring American spellings, you also like their accents? I can see the way they (or some of them) pronounce "pet" being fairly similar to qué. But the fact such big differences exist is, again, why it's clear to me pseudo-pronunciations aren't good enough, and why we need audio. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:33, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
No phrasebook is going to teach someone to speak foreign phrases without any trace of accent. The question is which pseudo-phoeniticization produces the closest results? Powers (talk) 00:28, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
I listened to cassette tapes before and during my first visit to China and my only visit so far to Hungary, and that enabled me to be able to communicate at a survival level in China and pronounce some phrases in Hungarian well enough that people sometimes thought I really spoke Hungarian well (and then found out quickly that I couldn't). Those cassette tapes came with phrasebooks but were as useful as or more useful than the phrasebooks themselves. (In the case of the Mandarin one, they were really indispensable to understanding the tones and combinations of tones, and therefore, to being understood, and in the case of the Hungarian one, they were my only chance at learning the difference between vowels with single and double accents - again, crucial for communication.) We are now in the Internet age. The obvious current-day equivalent to cassette tapes of useful words and phrases as an adjuncts to phrasebooks is files that can be used online. I don't understand why you object to them. Would you rather produce cassette tapes? Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:49, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
I, too, am at a loss to why sound files in general have proven and are proving so controversial here. Almost very piece of online language-learning / translation software (e.g. Memrise, Duolingo, Google Translate, Spanish Dict, Oxford and Larousse Dictionaries) use audio files extensively to convey the correct pronunciation of words and sentences. Why wouldn't our phrasebooks, even at the very basic level of the languages they teach, follow suit? In the twenty-first century, it is expected that websites and apps use multimedia to improve accessibility and ease of use and to be engaging to more people, just as it is expected that anything offering any sort of education (and our phrasebook are educational, even though only very specifically for travellers learning holiday phrases) should cater to a variety of learning styles: visual, auditory, mnemonic, kinesthetic. The latter would be very hard to achieve on Wikivoyage, the former three are comfortably within our grasp. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:23, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
It's a lot of work for an uncertain benefit, and no one has proposed a practical way forward on them, or taken the time to demonstrate feasibility. For example, when the phrasebook changes, how quickly can you requisition a replacement sound file from the same speaker? Would you wait until you had the entire phrasebook recorded before putting links in? I would also be concerned if maintenance of the audio files resulted in neglect or removal of the written pronunciations. I just want us to think about some of these issues before we go plunging in half-cocked and end up with a mess. Powers (talk) 18:51, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Some of the details such as those you mentioned are definitely lacking at the moment, and I have not taken the time to demonstrate feasiblity because we have only been talking about this for the past week or so! Rest assured, in time we can discuss and hopefully work through all the finer details and kinks, but there's no point doing that until there is a mandate of conditional support from the community. So can I ask, Powers, whether you would be open to the inclusion of audio files if your concerns are adequately addressed, or whether you're totally against the whole thing in principle?
I understand that it's a lot of work that you're perhaps not willing to do, but can I counter that by saying I am very much willing to put in the effort, as long as I have support and active help from other Wikivoyagers. We can all find our own projects we are passionate about to work on on Wikivoyage, no sweat if you'd rather spend time on something else :-)
So the next step is to raise the topic for discussion on the general phrasebooks page or at the pub, and find out what other editors think. I'll let you, User:Ikan Kekek and User:Hobbitschuster know when I do, so you can all continue to have your say.
Goodnight from a poisoned, broken and rapidly disintegrating UK (always close on a positive!) --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:35, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
In principle, if it's done completely and professionally, I don't have categorical opposition to it. But I am concerned it could stunt development on text phrasebooks and raise reader expectations that we have audio files for every language. Powers (talk) 23:05, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Not every article is a Star or even a Guide. That doesn't mean that it's bad for some articles to be Stars and Guides. Similarly, while a good sound component would be desirable for every phrasebook, I don't see how "raising expectations" is a bad thing, as it would simply hold up excellence in print and sound files as the goal. As for professionalism - well, how many of our guides are on a professional level? A lot of us are amateurs, so we do what we can. I think the standard for whether something is acceptable is whether it's at least better than nothing, not that everything has to be on a professional level. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:00, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

"n" as in "anchor"?[edit]

Not in my dialect! "Ang-ker"! Why do we need anything other than "n" in "nice"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:42, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

That would make it sound remarkably similar to German "Anker"... And yes, "n" as in "nice" is probably... Nice ;-) Hobbitschuster (talk) 08:37, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
I will delete "n" in "anchor". Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:54, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Wait, I won't delete yet: Is "ancla" pronounced "AHNG-klah" (without the "h" sounds)? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:56, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Any help with this? Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:21, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Explaining "se"[edit]

I don't like this "explanation": "a reflexive pronoun; difficult to explain here". I think we should attempt to explain it. Tell me if I've got this right: It means the pronoun "one" (as in "Se habla español", meaning "One speaks Spanish" but really "Spanish is spoken here") and the pronoun for oneself, itself, himself and yourself (formal). Did I leave out anything? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:58, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

Seems to cover it. Maybe you should add that some verbs are reflexive in Spanish but not English and vice versa. Hobbitschuster (talk) 08:36, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
That should be part of a "grammar" section, if it should be specifically mentioned at all. I don't think it should be mentioned in the "accents" section. By the way, I notice that there is the beginnings of a grammar section, but it's not so labeled. It's in the last 2 paragraphs of the introduction. I think it should be explicitly labeled "Grammar", and examples of word order should be added because they're basic. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:48, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
I am generally with agreement that reflexives are going to be difficult to explain, and are not of much importance at a level as basic as a phrasebook. But the "explanation" as it stands is pathetic, so either we remove it altogether, or we make a potentially longwinded attempt at explaining it. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:28, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Which explanation do you mean? The edits I made to the "Accents" section before they were for better or worse undone or the 2 existing paragraphs on grammar in the introduction? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:02, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant the explanation that was there originally ("a reflexive pronoun; difficult to explain here"). And I really think User:LtPowers should have looked over or contributed to this discussion before reverting your edits. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:24, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Explaining it as "one" really falls short, as the use it sees the most is indeed as a reflexive pronoun. Does English not have those? Or do we think our average reader won't know what a reflexive pronoun is? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:21, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
We do have reflexive pronouns. I gave the list that to my knowledge corresponds to "se", but it was reverted. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:34, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
We do have reflexive pronouns (e.g. "She couldn't stop herself from giggling") but I am not confident that the majority of our readers will understand the term "reflexive pronoun" without an explanation. Even when talking about infinitives or verb conjugation to non-linguists (who are otherwise intelligent and successful in their own academic fields) I more often than not am met with blank looks and a question of "What's an infinitive?", and that's in English, never mind a foreign language! These are people who are perfectly competent users of the English language, and who also encounter these aspects of grammar every day of their lives, but that doesn't mean they know the grammatical terminology or the rules which govern them.
So in order to democratise our phrasebooks, we're either going to have to ignore these more complicated aspects of grammar altogether, or commit to explaining them in as simple and jargon-free way as possible.
Furthermore, just because both English and Spanish have reflexive pronouns, doesn't mean they're used in the same way. They are far more common in Spanish (e.g. comerse, the English equivalent "eat oneself" having an altogether different meaning!), and they are used in ways that English doesn't, for example to avoid using the passive voice: back to Ikan's example "Se habla español" (reflexive verb hablarse used actively) = "Spanish is spoken here" (ordinary verb to speak used passively). And then of course there may be other ways the languages differ. Hobbitschuster, your English is perfect, and you seem more or less fluent in Spanish, do you have a clear idea of the major grammar differences between the two? And can we separate these issues based on those which are necessary for travellers to understand and those which are not (probably the majority will be in the second camp). ¡La discusión se complica! --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 14:04, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

Pronouns It is too difficult to explain here. A pedestrian phrase like "no se le olvide tu camisa" (don't forget your shirt) has two types of pronouns--se and le--and the distinction and purpose of them is too complicated to explain here. Additionally, there is grammatical gender and lo. —Justin (koavf)TCM 14:08, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

I thought my reasoning was clear enough from my edit summary. This is not a guide to grammar, and especially a simple illustration of how accents change the meaning of words should not be expounding upon the myriad uses of each term. That's not at all what that section is for. I would rather remove the "se"/"sé" examples entirely rather than break up the compact formatting to list a whole bunch of possible translations and usage notes. Powers (talk) 18:50, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your compliment regarding my English. If I had to judge myself, I'd say that my sentences tend to be too long and come out stilted sometimes (no doubt owed to German speaking patterns). As for Spanish, yes I do speak it. I have spent a year in Nicaragua and have a handful Spanish speaking friends, family members and friends of the family, so to speak. Given that I taught English there (or rather tried to), I am also aware of some of the Grammatical differences and how hard it is to teach a language when people don't know what an object and a subject actually are ("I like" vs. "me gusta" becomes hard to explain if that knowledge isn't there). Perhaps the thing about Spanish grammar that is most striking to an English speaker are the verbs. Unlike English, the subject can be "hidden" "inside" the verb (as it often happens in Latin as well). For example "it rains" can reasonably translated to "llueve" (though most people would probably use "esta lloviendo") - this makes it hard to explain Spanish speakers what exactly "it" is, even though the "lo" mention above most often means "it". So while in English sentences look like "Subject" (always, even if pronoun) Verb that looks like infinitive (though it isn't) Object, in Spanish they can look like: "Verb" (conjugated to "include" the "Subject") Object. Furthermore Spanish is a bit more flexible with word order in the sentence though nowhere near as much as German or Latin (which have more case markers to reduce ambiguity). Another thing that casual observers may come across is the fact that adjectives come after the noun they describe with almost no exception. So a green house would be una casa verde in Spanish. Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:44, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Powers, I think it's fine to just remove the "se"/"sé" pair, as you're right: This is just a list of illustrative examples. I agree on the point that while English has reflexive pronouns, many people don't know the term "reflexive". I think the way to begin an explanation would be with an example that is comparable in the two languages. For example, "lavarse" makes perfect sense as "to wash oneself", even if we don't usually say "I'll wash myself, and then I can get dressed and go meet you." I think that word order is an obvious thing to explain. I'll leave it to the rest of you, whose Spanish is much better than mine, to make decisions about how much to explain about the use of reflexive verbs and other non-analogous verb forms and phrases in the "Grammar" section. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:12, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
I think we should either include all the meanings of "se" or remove the "se"/"sé" pair. I'd propose to restore the other meanings of "se", but without the usage note that used to be in the listing. In other words, I would translate "se" as "one [pronoun], oneself, itself, himself, yourself (formal)". As has been pointed out above, equating "se" only with "one" is misleading. Also, what happened to "dé" as "I give"? So how about this for "dé"? "I give [subjunctive], he/she/it gives [subjunctive]"? If people really want to know what "subjunctive" is, they can look it up; it's important in Spanish but probably more of an intermediate than an elementary topic, so whether to explain some of its uses or not is a question I leave to you all. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:15, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
If I may, why do you think it is necessary to list all possible meanings of a word in this section? Powers (talk) 19:41, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Maybe we don't need all possible meanings but translating "se" only with "one" is a bit like translating "too" only with "demasiado"... Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:15, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Powers, I think all those meanings of "se" are often used. It would be different if some were extremely rare. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:02, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Sure, but my point is that this isn't a vocabulary section. The definitions offered are to illustrate that the words have different meanings based on the diacritic. Powers (talk) 00:19, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
I take your point but don't agree that that means it really makes sense to single out one meaning over other comparably common ones. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:42, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

What are the specific objections to adding IPA symbols in addition to what we currently have?[edit]

Maybe we should start with one phrasebook and as this currently draws some eyeballs why not this one. Let's just add IPA symbols and see where that takes us. If we reach consensus that this is not what we want, we can get rid of it again. For the time being the IPA would be alongside the pseudo-english pseudo-phonetics. If we later decide upon something else we can do that. What would be the harm in that? Hobbitschuster (talk) 08:39, 24 June 2016 (UTC)

I agree that there's no harm in including IPA symbols alongside pseudo-pronunciations. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:48, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
If we have contributors that know the IPA symbols (and Spanish) well enough to get it right, then please go ahead. ϒpsilon (talk) 09:05, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
My objection is that the majority of travellers (including most of our own editing team, it seems!) don't understand IPA or even know what it is. I'm a languages student at university, so I know some IPA symbols because I have devoted time to learning them, but my knowledge is still very patchy. So the point is, why should we expect our average reader to know how to read IPA? It just seems like we'll be adding a lot of extra information that is too specialist for most people.
Despite that, I am in favour a trial addition of IPA to one phrasebook, just to see how it looks and how well it's received. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:40, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
Agreed Let's include IPA in a table above that gives some approximations and then in the guide itself. It won't hurt. —Justin (koavf)TCM 14:09, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
It's been a quarter year since this discussion and some small scale trial introduction has taken place. What do you think? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:16, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
Where has the small-scale trial taken place? Powers (talk) 19:54, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
On this very article. For example here: "ch like 'ch' in "touch": muchacho (boy) [tʃ]" Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:12, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I wasn't sure what to look for. Isn't IPA usually delimited with slashes, not brackets? I'm not sure about the contextless placement at the end of the line, either; seems like we should show somehow that it's an international symbol for the sound being discussed. Powers (talk) 20:48, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
In my English textbook way back when it was always [IPA symbols] but I am open to other suggestions. Wikipedia does it the same way, though they usually link to some page about IPA symbols. And as for the placement; I am open for suggestions. It appears that this addition has mostly just been overlooked, which indicates there has not been much harm done, but might indicate a lack of benefit as well. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:00, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
w:Help:IPA#Brackets explains the difference between the slashes and square brackets, though it mainly addresses full words. For individual sounds, it doesn't look like it would matter, but the convention appears to be brackets in that case. Fair enough. I guess what I would like to see is something like Template:IATA, where the perhaps unfamiliar symbol is preceded by an explanation of what the reader is seeing. And I think it might be better at the beginning of the explanation. Powers (talk) 13:48, 14 October 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I don't really disagree with any of your points. But as can be seen by other discussions on this talk page, such a change might be controversial. If you want to write a template, you have my support, but I won't be able to write the template myself as I lack the coding knowledge. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:15, 14 October 2016 (UTC)


The explanation of 'y's consonant sound seems misplaced under "Vowels". Can we just refer readers to the consonant section? Powers (talk) 20:29, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

I think it is a "half vowel" in that use. Does that make sense? Kind of like "j" in German that originated from a spelling variant of Latin "i" and only later acquired a (somewhat) separate sound. Only with "yeismo" (the Argentinian tendency to say "ʒo me ʒamo") does "y" produce a true consonant sound... Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:59, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm not a linguist (obviously) but a brief review of Wikipedia shows no indication that the initial 'y' is anything but a consonant. (In fact, w:Spanish morphology doesn't recognize 'y' as a vowel at all, though that may be because it's focused on sounds and not letters.) And we do list it under "consonants" here. Powers (talk) 19:40, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
One doesn't have to be a linguist or even speak Spanish well to remember a word that demonstrates "y" as a vowel: The word y, meaning "and"! QED, no? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:01, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
But it's not pronounced /j/, it's pronounced /i:/. That's unambiguously a vowel sound and not the sound under discussion here. Powers (talk) 00:40, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
OK, I misunderstood then. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:29, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
Yeismo is one thing and "sheismo" is another thing. 21:43, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Spanish phrasebook: Edits on WV/sv[edit]

Swept in from the pub

User NeoMaps did some edits on the Spanish phrasebook on WV/sv I reverted it, like we did on German Wikivoyage. I was told you guys have some problems with the User as well. But I am not sure what to do on Swedish Wikivoyage. He reverted it. But I can not need one more edit war. I am admin on WV/sv (maybe the only left). But would like to hear your opinion. Is one of you guys more familiar with Spanish language. Are his edits over there acceptable? What can I do? -- DerFussi 15:19, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

DerFussi - I would advise you to indefinitely ban the user as has already been done here and on es:. The consensus is that NeoMaps is a sockpuppet of Turbo8000, a user who was globally locked some time ago as one of many sockpuppets of a very prolific crosswiki vandal. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 16:41, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
OK, done. Thanks. -- DerFussi 20:10, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
New actions of NeoMaps (BAICAN WWW)? Just saw these edits -- DerFussi 16:27, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Did we ever get to a consensus on the whole "ey" thing?[edit]

I think we should make it pretty clear that Spanish "e" only ever sounds like "ay" in "pay" when it is immediately followed by "i". After all, saying "pene" when you want to say "peine" can be a bit embarrassing. Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:59, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

No, we never resolved it; see #Spanish "e" (again) above. And I still agree with you and definitely don't think "ay" as in "pay" is used for "e" or "è" in Spanish, but rather for "ei" or "ey". Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:45, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Ikan Kekek. Sterlabot (talk) 22:09, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
Who were the disagreeing voices above? Could they involve themselves in this conversation so we can get a consensus of some sort? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:25, 28 November 2016 (UTC)
As near as I can tell from reading Wikipedia, the Spanish 'e' is somewhere between English long 'a' and an unstressed 'eh'. "yo no seh" for "Yo no sé", or "MEH-sa" for "mesa" just seem wrong to me. Powers (talk) 21:24, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
Well, the word "mesa" really does sound more like "mess-ah" than like "may-suh". Making the "e" as in "pet" sound into an "ay" as in "pay" sound is really one of the most common and most easy to avoid pitfalls of English native speakers speaking Spanish. But I fear we are to some degree talking past each other, with me saying something and you understanding something else or the other way round or both... Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:09, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. It's particularly striking to hear people with British accents saying such words in Spanish. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:18, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
I have never heard anyone pronounce an elementary Spanish word like "qué" as anything other than rhyming with the English "say" or "day". Rhyming it with "meh" does not sound right at all, and that's not what I was taught. And the idea that the Spanish pronunciation of "mesa" is different from the English is baffling. Powers (talk) 16:15, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't know what is the problem you have. In Spanish, there is only one 'e'. There is no long or short vowel distinction, just tone (I don't know if this is the right word in linguistics): 'e' is lower and 'é' is higher. 'e' is not 'ey'. In mesa, I think it is like meh-sah. The 's' is not large, but this could be different in Spanish of Spain or Latin American Spanish. 'que' and 'qué' are different: 'que' is like 'keh' and 'qué' is like 'keh↑' (note the ascending intonation). --Zerabat (talk) 18:57, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
While "tone" is indeed a linguistic concept, I would not consider it relevant here, instead the word you might be looking for is "stress". Regarding long and short vowels, just an anecdote; My mother (who is very curious about all aspects of language) once had the chance to ask a native speaker whether her own Spanish name was to be pronounced with a "short e" (as in the German word "kennen") or "long e" (as in the German word "Dehnung") - she did not even hear a difference between the two sounds. In fact, she could not reproduce the two sounds as distinct either. The two sounds are truly and clearly the same in Spanish and as "e" as in "pet" is clearly a sound English has and Spanish speakers will understand, it is imho safe to advise pronouncing the Spanish e like that, especially when unstressed (putting stress on a "short" vowel is a bit difficult to produce for speakers of some languages) Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:06, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
Has anyone other than Powers argued that Spanish uses a sound like "ay" in "day" for Spanish "e" or "é"? If not, I hate to override one person's strongly-held feelings, but consensus doesn't require unanimity, and if this is the case, we should go forward with the change. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:31, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
Definitively 'e' doesn't sound like "ay". "ay" sound in day is written like 'ei' in Spanish. --Zerabat (talk) 23:21, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
I can't either come to think of any instance where 'e' in itself should be pronounced 'ay' in Spanish. ϒpsilon (talk) 07:08, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
Anyone else want to comment? When one person disagrees, how many people agreeing constitute a consensus? Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:59, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm hardly the only one who's heard that Spanish 'e' is pronounced roughly the same as English long 'a'. First of all, it's exactly what I was taught in school. But second of all there's previous discussion, such as #E is is is! pronounced like 'ay' in 'hay', where other editors agree. Do you really rhyme "qué" with "meh"? Powers (talk) 01:05, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
I would much rather rhyme "qué" with "meh" than with "may". Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:33, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm very surprised. Perhaps this could be resolved with recourse to authoritative sources, or clear recordings? Powers (talk) 19:31, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Forvo's collection of sound files: Doesn't rhyme with "may" in any of the recordings. And the speakers are from a range of different countries. --RJFF (talk) 20:34, 15 December 2016 (UTC)
Any of them? I'd say all but maybe one of them do rhyme with "may". It's clipped, but it's clearly a long 'a' sound. Powers (talk) 00:31, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Maybe the first one. None of the others has any "y" sound. I think you may pronounce the vowel in "may" differently from the great majority of English speakers. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:57, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Do you pronounce it "ma-ee" or something? The 'y' is essentially silent. Powers (talk) 19:17, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

(Outdent reset)I thought there is only one pronunciation of the "ay" in "may" and that's pretty close (I'd say identical) to what in Spanish comes out as "ei" as in "peinar". Maybe we could clear up this whole confusion by presenting audio of the e-ei minimal pair in Spanish? It does not seem that every English speaker is even aware that "may" contains a diphthong. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:41, 16 December 2016 (UTC)

Powers, if you pronounce "may" like "meh" without the "h" sound, that would strengthen my case that your pronunciation of the vowel in "may" is unusual for native English speakers. Otherwise, I would agree with Hobbitschuster on a lack of awareness that the English-language "ay" sound is a diphthong in most dialects of English, because without even a really quick "y" or "ee" sound, no "ay" sound is produced, but perhaps the second sound you're adding at the end of your vowel is so quick that you are unaware of it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:44, 16 December 2016 (UTC)
Why don't we refer to the forvo pronunciations of 'may' to make sure we are talking about the same sound? It is always hard to unambiguously describe a sound, unless we use exact phonetic terminology like "close-mid front unrounded vowel, followed by a near-close near-front unrounded vowel", which again would be unhelpful to most discussants who are phonetic laymen. --RJFF (talk) 11:28, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
Likely, many native speakers of English tend to think of the "A sound" as a single sound, because it can be represented with a single letter (namely, "A"). But phonetically, it is in fact a combination of two sounds. They are quite close to each other, yet slightly distinct. The second is produced a bit further back in the mouth and the mouth is a bit further closed (or less wide open). Try to pronounce an "A" very clearly and slowly and observe the movement of the mouth: The jaw closes a bit and the tongue moves a bit further back. If non-native speakers (or Scots...) just pronounce the English letter "A", you can in many cases already tell that they have an accent, because they actually pronounce it with a single sound instead of the diphthong. --RJFF (talk) 11:50, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
Every single one of those Forvo pronounciations is a diphthong. Powers, is your pronunciation markedly different from all of those? Mine is probably closest to bjhinton's. -- Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:57, 17 December 2016 (UTC)
No, it's similar to most of those. The Spanish vowel is certainly clipped compared to the English (it lacks the second part of the diphthong, in linguistic parlance) but the initial sound is the same to me. It's not the 'e' of 'pet'. And it certainly doesn't have the aspiration implied by the 'h' in 'meh'. Powers (talk) 02:22, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
A tempest in a teapot here, like most disputes regarding pseudo-phoneticization. "Ay" is fine. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:01, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
No it isn't. Come on, haven't you heard Brits trying to speak Spanish like that? "Kayy??" Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:03, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
I don't think anyone would call it a cardinal sin for an overseas tourist without much knowledge of Spanish to slightly mispronounce a word, so long as s/he can make him/herself understood. In fact, our own policy is very explicit on this point: "...exact pronunciation of words isn't really all that important for travel phrasebooks. It's more important that most travellers can make themselves understood... Getting things 'close enough'... is more important than getting [one's] accent perfect." "Ay" is clearly the closest of all the possible inexact ways we could render it in our pseudo-phonetic scheme. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 03:22, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I couldn't disagree with you more in this case: I do consider it a cardinal sin to deliberately teach people to speak Spanish like Gringos or, worse in terms of caricaturishness for foreigners mangling Spanish pronunciation, English people. "Eh" without the "h" consonant is clearly closer to Spanish pronunciation than the English "ay" in "may". Just listen to the Forvo examples RJFF linked above. I would strenuously assert that teaching people to say "Kayy" like a caricature of a Brit mispronouncing Spanish ill serves the traveler. And you have the honor of (correct me if I'm wrong) being the only person who's ever posted on this talk page to back up Powers' point of view and probably destroy the possibility of a consensus, thereby seemingly enshrining minority rule on this phrasebook. (OK, I see that Powers pointed to a place on this page where there was some old WT user who agreed with this, but that's hardly relevant to trying to achieve a current consensus.) If you two get to doublehandedly set what the rest of us consider an unhelpful policy on this, that's unfortunate, to say the least. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:48, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
"Deliberately teach[ing] people to speak Spanish like Gringos" is a mischaracterization. Many of us on this thread seem to be holding out for something that just plain doesn't exist. There's no Goldilocks phonetic analogue of the Spanish "e" that we can say is its exact equivalent in English. And that includes "eh", which sounds equally if not more wrong in Spanish as "ayyyy" does. (Yes, I listened to the audio.) All we can do is either continue to deal in approximations or else switch to IPA, which I don't think anyone wants to do.
Furthermore, I realize now that I'm adding my two cents to a dispute that has been brewing for a while now, but frankly I'd rather muddy the waters a little bit if it helps steer our readers to more accurate information than stand idly by for the sake of not making waves. Consensus is hard, and coming to one can be frustrating - I get that. But I'm a little stung by the accusation here that Powers and I are somehow in cahoots. My objective is to help improve this phrasebook, nothing more.
-- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:04, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply a conspiracy; rather, I'm saying that for quite some time, a single person's disagreement has prevented action (progress, in the minds of those who disagree with him), and we now have a minority rule by a non-consensus of two people. I think it makes a mockery of the entire concept of consensus to allow a clear minority to prevent change just because they disagree with it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:14, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
First of all, it's been established already that consensus is not unanimity, so if Powers and I are really a "clear minority" then there should be nothing barring the changes the majority feel need to be made. Secondly, even if one or two people really did have the power to prevent change, do you really think that should preclude minority opinion-holders from sharing their thoughts? -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 04:37, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
No, I have no problem whatsoever with everyone expressing their opinion. The problem I have is that we have spent so much time trying to fruitlessly convince one holdout, instead of taking action, and now there are two people with what the rest of us consider an erroneous opinion. Maybe I'm just crabby tonight, but this is bugging me. Shall we total up the opinions? Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:40, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
If that's the case, why on Earth didn't you just plunge forward? If Powers was really the only holdout, then you had a consensus all along. You probably still have one now, in fact. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 15:02, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
There's a reluctance to override strongly-stated opposition, even if it's only from one person. And despite the frustration I express in this thread, I think it's not wrong to respect and try to accommodate the objections of a longstanding, good-faith editor. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:06, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
Good heavens, Ikan, "speak Spanish like Gringos"? This phrasebook is intended for gringos! With all of the limitations of pseudo-phoneticization, we cannot and should not try to be exact in our representation of foreign sounds. No one is suggesting we tell readers to hang onto the "ay" sound like the Fonz. We should just explain that the Spanish 'e' is somewhere between 'ay' and 'eh' (varying slightly depending on stress and position in the word), but more clipped, then use one or the other as appropriate in our pseudo-phoneticizations. Powers (talk) 20:26, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
The fact that this guide is for English-speakers doesn't mean we want to teach people to speak other languages like caricatures (in this case, caricatures of English people or Gringos butchering Spanish pronunciation). Anyway, where's your evidence that Spanish "e" isn't closer to "eh" than "ay"? User:RJFF posted a link to 7 pronunciations of "que", in which only 1 out of 7 was anywhere close to "ay". But somehow, you don't agree, calling the Spanish pronunciation "clipped", rather than focusing on the diphthong in Anglo-American pronunciations of "may". It's not clipped; it lacks the "y" or "ee" sound of the Anglo-American "ay" diphthong. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:39, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
"in which only 1 out of 7 was anywhere close to 'ay'". No, only 1 out of 7 was anywhere close to 'eh'. The other six sound like a clipped "ay". Powers (talk) 18:40, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Your ears don't hear the same things I do. Does anyone else agree with you? If there's no "y" or "ee" sound, it's no kind of analog to standard British or American pronunciation of "ay". Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:50, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Another argument[edit]

For what it's worth, these two Youtube videos by the same author(s) about Mexican slang both have pseudo-phonetizations about their respective topic. Notice how they transcribe "Spanish e"... I know, not a strong argument, but an argument nonetheless. Hobbitschuster (talk) 02:56, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

Shampoo does sometimes get spelled champú[edit]

At least in the parts of the Spanish-speaking world that I am familiar with. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:24, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure I've seen that spelling in the U.S. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:25, 28 November 2016 (UTC)
Should we add it to the article? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:07, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
See this at panhispanic dictionary of doubts: © ''Champú: Graphic adaptation of the English voice "shampoo"... and this: [2]. Therefore, is admisible to use either shampoo and champú, but the "recommended" form due to be adapted to spanish phonology is champú. --Zerabat (talk) 19:23, 30 November 2016 (UTC)
Both links are the same... you probably pasted the same one twice. --Bigpeteb (talk) 19:51, 1 December 2016 (UTC)
This is the first link: --Zerabat (talk) 23:45, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
That's the word I was taught by every Spanish teacher I've ever had. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 00:43, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Spanish "e" as English "ay" or "eh" without the "h" consonant?[edit]

I guess we should vote on this. Powers and User:AndreCarrotflower are in favor of "ay".

User:Hobbitschuster, User:Zerabat, User:Ypsilon and I would seem to be in favor of "eh" without the "h" sound, but even if so, 4-2 is not a strong consensus, so let's have votes below.

Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:01, 18 December 2016 (UTC)

First of all, voting is not a substitute for consensus. Second of all, this vote sets up a false dichotomy. The current state uses 'ay' or 'eh' as appropriate for the best approximation, not one or the other exclusively. Powers (talk) 20:28, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
Voting is a way to show what degree of consensus there is or is not, so that we can see whether there is a reasonable basis for acting or not. As for "false dichotomy", you think there is one, but I don't think those voting otherwise agree with you. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:39, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
I am not entirely sure there is "an h sound" in "meh". The way I say it is much more reminiscent of "pet" but changing the p for m and eliminating the t. Maybe some people say it with the sound of a German "ch" at the end, but I find a true h sound at the end of a word something I would expect in I don't know, Arabic or something and to totally stump speakers of German or English. At the very least when you want to distinguish it from the German "ch" or the sound some English people make in certain words of disgust ("blech" would be one attempt to write one of them down) which to me is the same sound and no h sound. And yes, "eh" is much better than "ey" or "ay" as a representation for Spanish "e". Do remember what I said earlier. If you say it like "e" in "pet", Spanish-speakers will either consider your pronunciation of said sound "correct" or not consider the difference significant. If you say it like "ay" in "may", Spanish-speaking people will notice a difference, may make fun of you - just like a German speaker saying "sink" instead of "think" because "s and th are totally the same sound" would receive a similar reaction in an English speaking area. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:07, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
I know of no variant of Spanish where native speakers pronounce "e" with an extra "y". ϒpsilon (talk) 21:58, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
There is none. And there are several Spanish words that are distinguished only by being either "e" or "ei" - so the sound difference is noticed by native speakers and has phonetic value. Unlike the difference between the e in "pet" and whatever some here think the e in "que" to be other than that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:01, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
One vote for "ay". The English short E - "eh without the final h" - is, in Spanish, midway between "e" and "a". "Ay" isn't exactly equivalent to the Spanish "e", but it's no further off than "eh", and in addition isn't confusable with any other phoneme. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 21:59, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
What English sound would you use to approximate Spanish "ei" or "ey"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:08, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
Maybe "ey-ee" or "eyy". If we want to be sticklers about the pronunciation, we can provide some additional information of this type in #Pronunciation guide to supplement the pseudo-phonetic approximations in the phrasebook itself. -- AndreCarrotflower (talk) 22:24, 18 December 2016 (UTC)
Although every guide in wikivoyage is intended to be easy to print, I suggest to add a link to a sound file with the pronunciation of the vowels and consonants. Could be also described the spanish speakers will understand the elemental spanish of the tourist even though it has been a bit mispronounced, but this will "label" him/her as a american/british/put-another-english-speaking-country-here english speaker. --Zerabat (talk) 17:31, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
User:Ikan Kekek: "As for 'false dichotomy', you think there is one, but I don't think those voting otherwise agree with you." It's not a matter of opinion. I have literally specified a third option in addition to the two you put forth; in fact, it's the status quo, more or less. By assigning me, without consulting me, to a dichotomous position you've made me sound more extreme and thus easier to dismiss. That's not fair. Powers (talk) 18:39, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Seriously? The dichotomy is whether there ever is an "e" in Spanish that's usually closer to Anglo-American "ay" than Anglo-American "eh" without the "h" consonant. Nothing false about the dichotomy. You just have a different opinion about the answer. Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:52, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
But that's not the question you appear to be posing in this survey. The question posed is: "Spanish 'e' as English 'ay' or 'eh' without the 'h' consonant?", which seems to leave no room for adjusting our recommended pseudo-pronunciation based on the vowel's context. Powers (talk) 20:51, 27 December 2016 (UTC)

(indent reset)Okay, let's just clear up some things so we are (hopefully) all on the same page. Spanish knows five vowels: a e i o u. Spanish knows no distinction between long and short vowels. "ei" is a diphthong in Spanish. "e" is not. Spanish has phonetic stress. I am not sure I understand all of you correctly, but it seems what some are saying is that Spanish e sometimes sounds like "ay" in "may". Would that be when it is stressed or when it is unstressed? Because all other variants have no phonetic meaning in Spanish. Just like there is no phonetic meaning in English to the difference between aspirated "p" and non-aspirated "p" (but this distinction matters in other languages). Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:30, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

It's usually stressed or at the end of a word that it sounds most like a long 'a' to me. "Qué", "sé", "Mateo", "mesa", "dice", "catorce", maybe "éstas". Powers (talk) 20:09, 29 December 2016 (UTC)
Let's just say that Spanish-speakers perceive no difference whether e is at the beginning middle or end of a word. And saying Spanish e the same as a in "crazy" is a real common mistake, so if you think the Spanish e does not sound like "ey" in some contexts, we might want to use the representation of that sound in those cases. Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:53, 31 December 2016 (UTC)
I'm confused; did you mean to write "eh" rather than "ey"? Powers (talk) 18:11, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

"o" as in "order"?[edit]

Why is that better than as in "open"? OK, there's a subtle "w" at the end of that vowel, but order is "awrder" in the pronunciation of many Americans, I daresay. Is that really the sound you want? Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:39, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Agreed. I can imagine an English speaker saying "ahwdur" for "order" but "open" is pretty much always "oh-pun"/"oh-pen"/"oh-pin". —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:20, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, "o" as in "open" would be a more accurate guideline. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:00, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
"o" as in "order" is more accurate for some accents (including mine), because "o" as in "open" is something like [oʊ] or [əʊ] for most English speakers. But it's true that the vowel in "order" varies somewhat. How about "o" as in "roll"? —Granger (talk · contribs) 10:34, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
That would be better. The trouble with "order" is that the O sound is heavily affected by the R, even in non-rhotic accents. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:41, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
I have no problem with "o" as in "roll", if that helps in some accents. In mine, "o" as in "open" is the same, or possibly has just a hair more of an "oo" sound at the end. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:40, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
But doesn't roll also have a hint of the u there? What about floor? Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:33, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
I'd be happy with "floor". —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:13, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
"Floor" is no good in my accent, as it's "flaw-er" - 1 syllable, with the "aw" as purely a vowel sound, but nothing like the "o" in "roll". Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:23, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
No native English speaker is likely to be able to distinguish between the 'o' in "role" and the Spanish 'o' without linguistic training or experience. I certainly can't. Powers (talk) 17:16, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
They can if they have a keen ear. Does your vowel in "role" have a subtle change from "o" to "oo" right at the end, before the consonant? Then again, I might not be the best person to judge, because as a speaker of 4 languages and a smattering of others, I do have foreign language training and experience. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:14, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
The vowel sound in "role" varies by accent—some of us pronounce the word with a vowel that's closer to Spanish "o" than others. In Received Pronunciation, for instance, I think it must be close to [əʊ], whereas for me it's somewhere between [o] and [ɔ], with little or no trace of a diphthong. Here's one example of some variation—both of those recordings sound like diphthongs to me, but they're pretty different. —Granger (talk · contribs) 22:29, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
This guide is just supposed to be enough to get people by. If you say the Spanish 'o' is like the 'o' in "role" (or even the one in "order"), most English speakers will know what you're talking about. They're still going to pronounce "poder" like "podiatrist" and that's going to have to be close enough. Powers (talk) 17:52, 14 November 2017 (UTC)

Informal and formal[edit]

I think these would only make it more complicated for a new Spanish speaker. Perhaps we should just go with the formal one in the case of this phrasebook? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 13:06, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

This distinction is made in most travel phrasebooks I've read, and is also made on other Wikivoyage phrasebooks, such as French. So, no, I don't agree. Part of language-learning (and, ultimately, travel) is being exposed to unfamiliar concepts.
And both the formal and informal are useful, even for beginners. Compare a business traveller who wants to nail a few key phrases in order to please his interlocutors in a meeting that is otherwise conducted mainly in English or with a translator, with a young backpacker who wants to make friends and date locals while (s)he is travelling.
¡Feliz Navidad! --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:52, 25 December 2018 (UTC)
Verdad --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 16:00, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

Agreed that we don't want to make this a guide to learning the language (that's why we have b:Spanish and v:Spanish) but this is a distinction that is pretty basic and I could see being very useful if you make a good friend while on the road and he uses tu/vos with you. —Justin (koavf)TCM 19:40, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

True. But when you're going to order tickets for a train, bus, or make a purchase at a store, you use the formal. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 19:57, 25 December 2018 (UTC)

Infobox on voseo?[edit]

The Spanish language has a - to my knowledge - rather rare phenomenon in that some dialects have their own second person singluar pronoun with its own forms, namely vos. To give an example, "you are" can be "vos sos" in e.g. Nicaragua, "tu eres" in Spain (both those would be "informal") and "usted es" in the formal case. Of course this is not even getting into plural forms, which can be be "ustedes son" in all of Latin America for both formal and iformal and "vosotros sois" only in Spain in the informal case. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:49, 28 December 2018 (UTC)

Yes, it should be mentioned and I think we at one point had such an infobox in the article, or mentioned it in the text. ϒψιλον (talk) 18:14, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
As I've learned Spanish, in this way it's actually the same as English, just that the English equivalent isn't used much nowadays: the equivalent is "thou". And, of course, it has its own verb endings, "thou art", "thou shalt", etc. rather than "you are" and "you shall". --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:32, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
Yep, see here, and, of course, numerous Biblical texts for usage of "thou". --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:35, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
Not quite. You is the second person plural form that used to be used as an honorific when addressing a singular person. The second person singular later fell out of use. Meanwhile "vos" is a form that is distinct (lexically and grammatically) from both the second person plural and the "regular" second person singular ("tu") form. Truth be told, there are not all that many forms outside of Chile where vos and tu differ, but those tend to be common words like "ser" ("tu eres" vs. "vos sos") and virtually all diphthongizing verbs ("vos podes" vs. "tu puedes"). Vosotros, meanwhile, while we're at biblical English, is only used in the Bible outside of Spain and its islands. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:32, 28 December 2018 (UTC)
I think an infobox on vos is a good idea. We will have to strike a balance between accuracy, completeness, and readability, because the situation is pretty complicated with different verb forms used in different countries, and at least two countries (Uruguay and, according to Wikipedia, Honduras) seem to be developing a three-level politeness system with vos, tú, and usted. —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:16, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, you guys are right. I'm thinking more of "usted" and "tú", not "vos". --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 01:35, 29 December 2018 (UTC)
Definitely add an infobox, particularly for vos and vosotros, which are the outliers. Are you going to do it, Hobbitschuster? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:25, 29 December 2018 (UTC)