Similar but not equal. Homonymous words.
In Spanish, as in English, there is the homonymous words. These are words with similarity of sound or write, but with different meaning.
To differentiate both types of homonymous, in Spanish will make the following definitions:
Homographs words: are those which are written identically but which, according to the context of use, have different meanings.
Homophones: they are those who sound identically but are written differently, and have different meaning.
In the case of these latter, in Spanish is acute and increases the amount, due to several special circumstances:
- Except when it is preceded by the letter “c”, the letter “h” in Spanish is silent or phonetically transparent.
- The letters “b” and “v”, although not should, are pronounced virtually equal in all the countries that speak Spanish.
- The letter “y”, when precedes vowels, sounds the same as the digraph “LL”.
- With rare exceptions, most Spanish speakers, pronounce “z” like “s” letters and, in the cases that precedes the vowel “e” or “i”, the letter “c”.
- There is a fourth case is much less frequent, but that should be mentioned for the purpose of learning the language. It is the use of the letter “k”, which when it precedes vowels sounds the same to:
- the letter “c” preceding the “a”, “o” and “u”.
- the combination “qu” preceding the “e” and the “i”.
As the reader must guess, these circumstances not only hinder the learning of a new language, but also constitute a “headache” for many native speakers, which tend to have lots of spelling mistakes when writing, for confusing ones with others throughout his life.
How to learn these homonymous words?
Though very dispersed, there are rules that allow “to find the correct word” in many cases. In others, simply there are that adjust is to the context of the phrase or sentence, as in the English.
In the case of the Homographs, let’s look at the example of the English word “pole”.
pole: to support the power line
pole: for practicing the high jump pole vault
pole: a young tree of right trunk and no branches at the base
pole: for to skiing
pole: for to fish
Another examples would be: “bank”, “crane”, “bow”, “bat”, “fine” and many others.
But that experience only can be acquired “living” with the language. For now, we only mention a few examples of notable and often used in Spanish:
|Homonymous Words – Homographs
|Word||Meaning 1||Meaning 2|
|vino||wine||3rd person sing. verb to come (comes)|
|arco||segment of a circumference||weapon that shoot the arrow|
|justa||person that does actions with justice||medieval tournament|
|pienso||1st person sing. verb to think (think)||dry concentrated food for animals|
|aro||ring||1st person sing. verb to plow (plow)|
|banco||place to save money||furniture used for seating|
|rio||1st person sing. verb to laugh (laugh)||river|
In the case of the homophonous, can give as an example the following words in English: “new” and “knew”, “here” and “hear” and “two” and “too.
In Spanish, we can take the following examples:
|Homonymous words – Homophones
|Word 1||Meaning 1||Word 2||Meaning 2|
|botar||to throw||votar||to vote|
|herrar||put the horseshoe||errar||err|
|cocer||to boil||coser||to sew|
|hojear||leaf through||ojear||to glimpse|
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