I started to play chess with a couple of Mexican friends. Since I don't play very well, they recommended me some videos of Spanish-speaker YouTubers to learn chess and something of Spanish at the same time. I thought the correct pronunciation of alfil was alfil, stressing the last syllable because that is the way I've always listened. But I've noticed that some people from Spain pronounce alfil, rather stressing on the first syllable. For example: 1 2 3 4.

If I didn't listen wrong, is this pronunciation of the word a common practice? Is it considered wrong? Did you ever hear that? My hypothesis is that comes from another language such as Catalan, Galician, Asturian, etc. but I couldn't find anything.

  • 2
    According to the rules governing stress usage in Spanish, the correct pronunciation is "alfil". For "alfil" to be said, there should be a written stress on "a", because it would be a word stressed on its penultimate syllable and not ending in "n", "s" or a vowel, such as "mástil", "hábil", "dócil".
    – Gustavson
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 16:13
  • @Gustavson But it seems some people pronunce it different, so I want to be sure if the fact that I listened "alfil" from two different YouTubers is something "regional" or it is a mere coincidence
    – user35179
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 16:41
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    Yes, I understood your question but don't know the answer, that's why I simply made a comment. There are some words that are mispronounced by some people, due to cultural or regional questions, and this seems to be the case.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Oct 14, 2023 at 19:47
  • Incidentally you mean hear (=oír) not listen (=escuchar)
    – mdewey
    Commented Oct 16, 2023 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


I agree with Gustavson that it's difficult to answer this question ... Just for completeness, let me add a screenshot of the RAE Community Manager addressing the same topic in Twitter

RAE saying that alfil is aguda

So according to that tweet the correct pronunciation is alfil but I've also heard alfil. Being a relatively specialised term probably how you pronounce it depends on how it was pronounced by the one that taught you how to play chess.

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