Title says it all... In English, repeated letters are occasionally used in informal writing to echo the emphasis of parts of spoken words (dwelling on certain consonants or vowels), for example:

Heyyyyyyy! That's quite the huuuuuuge apartment you've got here!

Does this work the same way in Spanish? Particularly with an eñe? ("jalapeññññño!!!" or "¡Ay, seññññññora! )

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Please use comments on this post only to suggest improvements to this post or to ask for clarification. – wimi Mar 23 at 22:00

Yes, you can repeat the letters you need if you want to reflect in the text that way of speech, or even for comedic or onomatopoeic effects. This is particularly used with vowels, but also with some consonants:

[...] le hacen reverencias a la Iris que es lo que a ella le gusta porque le da risa, y que le echen de ese humito oloroso, y hasta que le bailen haciéndole aaaaasssssííííí, aaaaasssssííííí con los brazos, genuflexiones con sus rodillas que crujen [...]

José Donoso, "El obsceno pájaro de la noche", 1970 (Chile)

Se oye un tambor donde no están sonánnnnndose los mocos, traza palotes en la escuela del viento, es un tambor...

Miguel Ángel Asturias, "El Señor Presidente", 1933-1946 (Guatemala)

Vino, pues, el tonto Almecina, y Pío Cid, que no sabía nada de él, le sentó en una silla a su lado, y le preguntó que cómo se llamaba.
—Me lla... lla... llamo Allll... me... me... mecina.

Ángel Ganivet, "Los trabajos del infatigable creador Pío Cid", 1898 (Spain)

Note this last example in particular, how an elonged L denotes the effort the speaker does before uttering the next syllable.

For some other consonants it would be more difficult to pronounce it in a sustained way, but nonetheless I could find an example with the ñ:

—¡Apaaara! ¡Apaaara, desgrasiao! —le gritaba el tartanero, Luis el Claca, que no eran Carnavales, no se daba de cuenta y seguía rebenquiando sin írsele ni venírsele...
—¡Bandío... pxeñ rrr... uu ñññ.
—La suya —gritaba de abajo Monagas, con tal pasta que la del turrón al lado es la bomba anémica.

Francisco Guerra Navarro, "Los cuentos famosos de Pepe Monagas", 1941-a1961 (Spain)

That sounds like the writer tried to reflect an unrecognizable uttering in this case. But nonetheless you are free to repeat the ñ indeed to reflect an emphasys on the pronunciation of that letter.

  • You cannot repeat eñe. That makes zero linguistic sense. Come on. And all those nns in sonannnndose are actually at the end of a syllable where the a is actually heard as drawn out. Not the n. – Lambie Mar 22 at 15:59
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    @Lambie Nasals, liquids, sibilants and trills can all be extended indefinitely. You can hold an N indefinitely. – user0721090601 Mar 23 at 6:59
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    @Lambie you can indeed hold some consonants, so much so that in Japanese the N has it own syllable, the name of Japan in Japanese is written NI-HO-N, with the last N in its own syllable as it can be pronounced independently. And in Spanish the onomatopoeia to indicate you want someone to be quiet is written "shh" or even "ssshhh", noting that you can hold that "s" or "sh" sound. I'm not saying that a long Ñ would make much sense, but I indeed pronounce different when I say "jalapeeeño", "jalapeñoooo" and "jalapeñññño" (pronouncing "jalapeñoooo" makes me think I'm from Zaragoza). – Charlie Mar 23 at 7:17
  • Que yo sepa, la H es muda en español......It doesn't matter what I say, the "gang" will support you. It's not worth my time to pursue this further, especially with Japanese. Try Italian, there are tons of double consonants, which qualifies as "prolongation". – Lambie Mar 23 at 14:23
  • Charlie, I suggest you ask a professor. No consonant can be held without making a vowel sound after it. You may write sssshhh for the Spanish but in Spanish the h is not sounded and this ssh is not a consonant. It is una s "susurrada". Ssh is not even a word, which is what the question asked about. All I see around here is bad faith. Sure, trill away at the r in perro, and meaning disappears from the word context. – Lambie Apr 6 at 21:28

Think about your question for just one minute.


Any word in Spanish can be stressed on a syllable, and, if you are emphasizing something beyond a superlative, as in grandíssimo, only the vowel sounds can be drawn out.


Posible utlización:

Pregunta: ¿ Por qué gritas ?

Respuesta: ¡ Porque no quiero jalapeñooooooos en mi bocadillo !

So, the answer to your question is no. The eñe cannot be prolonged in jalapeño or even realized without what comes after it.

In spoken everyday Spanish, it is not customary to prolong consonants.

If you take a word like: la nena and you write: la nnnnnnena and prolong the n, you are actually realizing the sound neeeeena.

  • You may be technically correct in that lenghtening consonants is not that sensical, orthography-wise (when I pronounce “jalapeñññññño”), my mouth involuntarily emits an epenthetical “i” sound), but then again, written words are abstractions of spoken words, so I find it acceptable. – fitojb Mar 22 at 17:40
  • @fitojb We say: doesn't make much sense. Vowel prolongation is just that. Epenthesis is about adding one or more sounds to a word. Here, one is repeating the sound: oooooo. – Lambie Mar 22 at 17:57

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