Where does the spoken stress lie in the word "significa", as in "qué significa"? I always hear it stressed on the second "i", but wouldn't that imply that it should be written "signífica", which it doesn't appear to be?


The stress goes to the second-to-last syllable, and hence does not need the diacritical acute mark (´). Significa is a regular verb form of the verb significar. Stress in all infinitives goes in the last syllable, and moves to the second-to-last one in present-indicative-third person singular for regular verbs.

The pronunciation *signífica is a mistake, and may obey an assimilation with the adjective magnífico(a). Also note that the corresponding verb form in Italian sounds very similar and is in fact stressed in the third-to-last syllable (IPA: [si.'ɲi.fi.ca]).


It's significa. The stress is bolded.

The stress can't be in the first two syllables, otherwise we'd have sígnifica or signífica, which have accent mark.


You're right, I think - it should be "seeg-nee-FEE-kuh"; as usual, the stress is on the penultimate syllable.

Creo que tienes razon - es deberia ser "seeg-nee-FEE-kuh"; como casi todo el tiempo, ...

  • 4
    Your phonetic transcription could use some work. I understand what you mean, and it might make sense to an English speaker, but the Spanish translation of your answer doesn't make sense (because if you try to pronounce "seeg-nee-FEE-kuh" in Spanish, you get something completely different than your intended word). To avoid ambiguity, you could use the IPA, if you choose ([ˌsiɡ.niˈfi.ka]) in both translations. Or you could just use the Spanish spelling, and bold/underline/mark the stressed syllable.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 10 '16 at 20:44
  • Good point, but the poster did do so in English. As for IPA, yes, I'm about ready for one - preferably an Anderson Valley. Jun 10 '16 at 20:48

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