Or do they always pronounce the full word from which the initials are derived?

I recently tried to get a recording of this acronym from Forvo. Initially, "P.D." wasn't in its database, so I requested it and went to check on it today, but discovered that the speaker who did the recording says "posdata" instead of "pe de." Do native speakers ever just pronounce the initials of "P.D." when referring to it?

Cuando se refiere a las siglas "P.D." para la palabra "posdata", ¿los hablantes nativos de español alguna vez simplemente pronuncian las iniciales?

O, ¿siempre pronuncian la palabra completa de la cual se derivaron las siglas?

Recientemente, traté de conseguir una grabación de esta palabra visitando el sitio web de Forvo. Inicialmente, "P.D." no estaba en su base de datos, así que la solicité y fui a ver si alguien había hecho una grabación de estas siglas, pero descubrí que el orador que hizo la grabación dice "posdata" en lugar de "pe de". ¿Pronuncian los hablantes nativos de español simplemente las iniciales de "P.D." cuando se refieren a esta parte de una carta?

  • 1
    I haven't heard enough people say this to be able to write an answer, but I can say that all I've ever heard is posdata, never the acronym. // There's a nice word for acronym: siglas. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 2:54
  • @aparente001 You're right. In fact, since "P.D." doesn't create a word that can be pronounced, I should have used "siglas" and not "acrónimo." Nobody reading this should simply take my word for it, however, and this article here does a nice job of explaining this: Acrónimo y sigla. Thanks for causing me to rethink my usage (in both English and Spanish!). I'll make the changes accordingly.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 3:03
  • In Spanish Abbrevations are always pronounces as the whole word , while "siglas" and acronyms are pronounced whether they can be read or not
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 14:10

4 Answers 4


RAE Stipulates that abbreviations should be read as the whole word they represent

  1. Lectura. La lectura de una abreviatura debe restablecer todas las letras eliminadas en su escritura, esto es, debe leerse la palabra completa que la abreviatura representa.

7. Pronunciation. The pronunciation of an abbreviation must reestablish all the letters that were eliminated from its spelling, that is, the word must be read as the whole word the abbreviation represents.

An "abbreviation" is only read out loud letter by letter when the Siglas or Acronyms are unpronounceable, as explained in the RAE (this article also explains the difference between sigla and acronym)

a) Hay siglas que se leen tal como se escriben, las cuales reciben también el nombre de acrónimos

Hay siglas cuya forma impronunciable obliga a leerlas con deletreo: FBI

Hay siglas que se leen combinando ambos métodos: CD-ROM

a) There are siglas that are pronunciated the way they are written, which receive the name Acronym

There are Siglas impossible to pronounce and have to be spelled out: FBI

There are siglas that use the combination of the two methods: CD-ROM

Now, the main difference between an abbreviation and Siglas or Acronyms is that Abbreviations are always finished with a period "." while the others are not. making P.D. the abbreviation for the two latin words "post" and "data".





Es difícil dar una respuesta objetivamente cierta a una pregunta del tipo "¿Alguna vez alguien hace...?", puesto que para ello habría que preguntarle a todo el mundo, lo cual es inviable.

En mi experiencia personal, cuando se lee una carta (y siempre que la persona sepa lo que significa "P.D."1), siempre se dice "posdata".
Es lo que tiene más sentido, puesto que lo normal si estás leyendo una carta en voz alta es que se la estés leyendo a otra(s) persona(s), y en tal caso podría resultar confuso leer "P.D." como tales siglas, pues podrían referirse a cualquier cosa: ¿Presidente Delegado? ¿Police Department? ¿Por Dios? Leyendo directamente "posdata" se deja claro el punto de la carta en el que nos encontramos y se da también cierto contexto sobre lo que se va a leer.

En la web también se pueden encontrar ejemplos del uso de "posdata" cuando se lee una carta; te pongo un par. Enlazo directamente a los puntos en donde se puede escuchar la palabra:

1 Por descontado, si la persona que lee la carta desconoce que "P.D." en ese punto significa "posdata", lo normal es que lea las siglas como letras individuales.

  • 1
    This is one of those times when I wish I could award two green check marks. While your answer was very, very good, I'm going to award the green check mark to Mike for three reasons: 1) his answer is more accessible to those who may not know Spanish all that well, 2) he cites reputable sources, and 3) he has far fewer reputation points than you (I like to give those with fewer reputation points a boost when I can). That said, your answer was very, very good, and I think it definitely adds to the value of this thread. ¡Mil gracias!
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 23:44
  • Please leave your answer. I just now listened to the Santa Claus letter. I have to admit that on my first listen I did not pick up on all the humor in it, but I did clearly hear the word "posdata." It is always a pleasure to come across real world examples of things I've recently learned, so thank you for including it!
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 2:04

This is not a sufficient answer to this question, but I stumbled upon something that adds corroborating evidence that native Spanish speakers do not use simply the initials when referring to "P.D." or "posdata." This is unlike English where it is very common to read "P.S." simply as "pee ess." To further illustrate this, listen to recordings at Forvo for "P.D." and "P.S.":


P.D. (pronounced as "posdata")



I haven't studied this extensively, but it appears that pronouncing just the initials that represent a longer word may be something more often seen in English than in other languages. For example:





*Arabic doesn't actually use initials to refer to postscript or even have an actual word for it. It appears that its closest equivalent is "note."

  • Good find . . . Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 3:18

There is an easy way to tell this in Spanish: if you use dots after each initial, it means that it is an abbreviation (abreviatura) and you must pronounce the words in full; if you don't, it is an initialism (siglas) and you pronounce it either as a word (if possible) or letter by letter.

So P. D. (in Spanish you should always leave a blank after the period, even for abbreviations) must be pronounced posdata, same as EE. UU. is pronounced Estados Unidos. On the other hand, ONU is pronounced onu and OCDE is pronounced o ce de e. A possible exception is UE, which is usually expanded to Unión Europea.

There was a famous case in Spain in 2002, when a TV journalist read the name of Comisiones Obreras, a trade union, usually abbreviated as CC. OO., as ce ce o o. There is even a Wikipedia article for that.

  • 1
    Immensely helpful, Gorpik. I will keep this in mind going forward. Mil gracias.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 1:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.