Posted by: janecronin | May 27, 2012

Spanish pronunciation – the double LL

As you may know, when the letter L is doubled in Spanish it makes completely different sound, akin to the “y” sound in English.  In actual fact the Spanish sound has slightly more “friction” in it than the English open “y” sound, as though the air is slightly forced out through a narrowed mouth.  The LL combination used to be considered as a separate letter of the alphabet before the advent of computers. As it created a technological challenge to have two letters that act as though they are one letter, LL as a separate item in the alphabet has been suppressed, although its use remains exactly the same.   If you have a dictionary that was printed more than about ten years ago, it will still list LL as a separate section, whilst in more recent dictionaries it has been subsumed into the L listings.   Here are a few common words that illustrate the “ll” sound for us:  “calle” (street), “llave” (key), “lluvia” (rain), “tortilla” (potato omelette), “millón” (million).

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