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How to pronounce the consonants y and ll?

I had one teacher that taught me to pronounce "LL" harshly, something like the English "J". Another teacher I learned from told me to pronounce it softer-- more like a "Y". Are these two regional variations in the pronunciation? If so, where is "LL" pronounced like this?


Tuve una maestra que me enseñó a pronunciar la "ll" con aspereza como la "j" inglesa. Otra maestra que tuve me enseñó a pronunciarla más suave,como una "y". ¿Son estas variaciones regionales en la pronunciación? Si es así, ¿dónde se pronuncia "LL" así?

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Sorry about the rough Spanish. Feel free to correct any mistakes you find. –  American Luke Sep 19 '12 at 14:47
    
Luke, by now I'm closing this question as the answer is covered and discussed in the question jrdioko says. If it's still not clear, you can edit your question so we can understand better why the other one doesn't answer your question, and flag it for moderator attention so we can reopen it. –  JoulSauron Sep 19 '12 at 18:12
    
I wonder why I didn't find that one when I searched for duplicates. Now that I think about it, I think I was looking for questions tagged "letters". –  American Luke Sep 19 '12 at 18:26
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marked as duplicate by jrdioko, JoulSauron Sep 19 '12 at 18:13

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2 Answers

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English

I am from Mexico too, and for us, there is no difference between the sound of the "Y" and the sound of the "LL". The sound is practically the same.

Accoding to what I just read, this is caused because of a phonological change called "yeismo" (I really dont know how to translate it to english) This change means that the people started pronouncing the "LL" as the "Y".

But not all the Spanish speakers talk like that, in this link there is a map in which the red areas indicate the regions that make a distinction between "LL" and "Y", the green areas indicate regions which dont.

Español

Yo también soy de México, y, para nosotros, no hay diferencia entre el sonido de la "Y" y de la "LL". El sonido es prácticamente el mismo.

Acabo de leer un artículo acerca de la "LL", y esto es causado por un cambio fonológico llamado "yeísmo", el cual significa que la gente comenzó a pronunciar la "LL" al igual que la "Y".

Pero no todos los hablantes de español hablan así, en este link hay un mapa el cual muestra ciertas áreas rojas que indican las regiones en las que sí se hace distinción entre la "LL" y la "Y". Las áreas verdes representan los países o regiones en los que no.

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English

To be honest, as a native Spanish speaker I barely notice a difference in the pronunciation between the English "J" and the "Y" (I have been repeating several words with both out loud).

That being said, I think that in Mexico City, where I'm from, the sound would be the harshly sound you described from the English "J". It is very possible that in different countries, or even in different regions within a country, the sound will somewhat vary.

As a personal opinion, I do not believe you should be too concerned about getting the sound exactly right between the "J" and the "Y", worst case scenario, if the person you are talking with pronounces it differently he will think that you have a foreign accent.

Regards.

Español

Para ser honesto, como mi lengua materna es el Español, no noto diferencia entre las pronunciaciones de la "J" inglesa y la "Y" (he estado repitiendo diferentes palabras con ambas letras en voz alta).

Sin embargo, creo que en la Ciudad de México, de donde soy originario, el sonido podría ser el más áspero que describiste como la "J" inglesa. Es muy posible que en distintos países, o en distintas regiones dentro de un mismo país, el sonido pueda variar un poco.

Como opinión personal, no creo que te deba preocupar mucho el tener el sonido exacto entre la "J" y la "Y", en el peor de los casos, si la persona con quien estas conversando lo pronuncia diferente va a pensar que tienes un poco de acento.

Saludos.

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Native English speaker here, but I've lived in the DF for eight years. I can still distinguish between the two sounds and, to my ears, it seems to me that most people most of the time pronounce ll closer to English y than to j, although the sound is identical to neither. –  Michael Wolf Sep 19 '12 at 17:35
    
@MichaelWolf: That's what I mean, to me both sounds in English are identical so most likely you are correct. Maybe the only way I could distinguish them would be by listening a native English speaker saying "juvia" and "yuvia" :) –  Sergio Romero Sep 19 '12 at 18:15
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