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Out of curiosity, I put the word "Braille" into Google Translate, and it said the Spanish version was... 'el braille'. But when I try to read that, the phonetics are incredibly awkward for a Spanish word. Is this the correct Spanish word for the dot-based language for the blind? If so, how is it pronounced? Bra-i-ll-e just looks like "that can't possibly be right" to me.

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There are three ways that you can pronounce it:

  • /brái.le/ (DUE María Moliner)
  • /brái.lle/ (Fundéu BBVA)
  • /brái.ye/ (Fundéu BBVA, for yeístas)

I normally use the first, but Fundéu BBVA argues that the word has been sufficiently lexicalized in Spanish that its pronunciation should match its spelling. Most videos on YouTube from all countries follow María Moliner's pronunciation, but the Fundéu BBVA's is also used in some, but not all, videos from Spain.

I've also heard /brái.li/ as another pronunciation, but it's far less common. In any case, all of these pronunciations are quite easily handled by the Spanish phonetic system.

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The word braille is in the DRAE:

braille

De L. Braille, 1809-1852, inventor francés.

  1. m. Sistema de escritura para ciegos que consiste en signos dibujados en relieve para poder leer con los dedos.

Note that as the word appears in the dictionary and has been adapted as a masculine noun, the option chosen by the asker (el braille and its pronunciation) is the right one, despite the "that can't be right" feeling, as it is read according to the rules of the Spanish language. A completely different thing is how to pronounce the name of the inventor of the language.

That said, I also have the mentioned feeling, I'd rather say braile, but...

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  • +1 Words in DRAE are always pronounced according to the Spanish language rules: güisqui, rugby – Ra_ Jun 2 '16 at 15:45
  • @Ra_ not necessarily. See for instance gay or hockey (including in the DRAE) which are pronounced universally as if written gue(i) or jóqui rather than gai or oquéi – user0721090601 Jun 2 '16 at 22:49
  • @guifa Interesting! I didn't realize that hockey isn't pronounced as it's written. In the other hand (at least in Spain) most people pronounces gay as gay. That's funny: It confuses some Spanish speakers understanding Hi gays! if somebody says Hi guys! :) – Ra_ Jun 3 '16 at 6:38
  • @guifa you're quite right, the DRAE contains terms loaned from other languages, but in those cases it warns you with a voz inglesa (or whatever country it comes from), that tells you that the word can be pronounced as in English. – Charlie Jun 3 '16 at 6:43
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Braille is the name of a (french) person, Louis Braille. As with most foreign words, you could use the original (french) pronuntiation /brall/ or make it as if it were a native spanish word /bráiye/. What can looks akward to you makes me laugh: is it more appropriate the english pronuntiation /bréil/?

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    OK, this is a sage answer, but you must include /brái.le/ pronunciation, which is heavily used (in fact it is the only one that we use here in Chile). – Rodrigo Jun 2 '15 at 12:40
  • @Rodrigo I agree, If you want to edit my answer I'll approve it; otherwise I'll add it myself. – Blas Soriano Jun 2 '15 at 12:43
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In Latin America it is more common to pronounce it like brɑile (bat-rat-Arm-see-leg-bed) [Put the stress intonation on the A of arm] You can write the word brɑile in Google Translator from Spanish to English and click on the speaker button from Spanish side to hear the sound.

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In Spain I heard both /brái.le/ and /brái.lle/, with a majority of /brái.lle/ . Everybody will understand both of them.

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