Other Occasions for Accents
The written accent has three other uses that have nothing to do with the pronunciation of a word. There is always a written accent on interrogative words to differentiate them from their conjunction form. For example, listen to Track 8.
(What is Javier doing?)
(Javier is doing the homework that he has.)
(Where is your mother?)
(Mom is in the store where there is a sale.)
Exclamations are also accented in Spanish, just like interrogative words. Listen to Track 9.
The written accent is also used to distinguish homonyms, words that are spelled and pronounced the same but which have different meanings. Listen to Track 10 to hear a few common homonyms in Spanish.
Practice: The Written Accent
Look at the following list of words and decide whether each should be stressed according to Rule #1 or Rule #2. Then pronounce each word and decide if its stressed syllable is the one indicated by the appropriate rule. If not, add a written accent. After you've finished, listen to Track 11 to check your pronunciation. When you are done, check your answers in Appendix D.
mama miercoles arbol vivir revista periodico simpatica Mexico estudian Rodriguez
Practice: Accent or No Accent?
Listen to Track 12 as you read the following paragraph along with the narrator. Then add as many of the missing written accents as you can find. If you are unsure whether a word needs a written accent or not, follow these easy steps:
Underline the word.
Review Rules #1 and #2.
Listen again to determine whether or not the word is pronounced according to its rule or needs a written accent.
Listen as many times as necessary to complete your editing task. Then check your work in Appendix D.