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Linkage and Contraction of Words in Spanish

What is linkage and contraction?

I've divided this section of the site into 3 different areas: One for linkage, exploring the concept of "breath groups", another for contractions, and the last one briefly dealing with punctuation.

Linkage of Spanish words

Spoken Spanish links words, with the result that 2 or more words may sound like one word.

These linked words are termed "breath groups", which are groups of words pronounced between pauses.

A short sentence may be spoken as one breath group.

A long sentence may be divided into several breath groups.

A Pause should never be made within the breath group because the breath group expresses a complete thought.

Being familiar with linkage will enable you to understand spoken Spanish.

To link words within a breath group, carry the last consonant of a word over to the following word, when it begins with a vowel, a diphthong, or an h (the Spanish H is silent).

This effect of the spoken language accords perfectly with the specification of syllables and stresses in Spanish:

El Hombre e-lom-bre
Los Hombres lo-som-bres
Es el hombre e-se-lom-bre
Por eso po-re-so
los Estados Unidos lo-ses-ta-do-su-ni-dos
el aire e-lai-re
Buenos Aires bue-no-sai-res
Vamos a comer va-mo-sa-co-mer

Contractions in Spanish

While in written Spanish there are only 2 contractions: del and al, which are contractions of de + el, and a + el, in the spoken language there are many.

These contractions require special attention if we ware to understand spoken Spanish:

¿Dónde están? = ¿Dón-des-tán?

However, contractions in Spanish do not occur when the following vowel is stressed:

es de él = es-de-él

Punctuation in Spanish

Although there is a lot to say about punctuation in Spanish, I want to add a brief not here.

Spanish punctuation is much the same as English, but inverted question and exclamation marks are used.

The inverted mark is placed at the beginning of the actual question or exclamation, which is not always at the beginning of the sentence. E.g.:

¿Cómo esta usted?
¡Que hermosa mujer!
Usted es de Nueva York, ¿No es cierto?

For now, this is all about linkage and contraction in Spanish.

Let me know if there is anything else you want to know about this topic by sending me a question using this link.

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