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The general rule for Spanish pronunciation is that, barring an accent, words that end with vowels have stresses placed on the second-to-last syllable. However, with adverbs, there seem to be exceptions.

Take frecuentemente. It ends with a vowel, so it appears that the stress should go on MEN. But many dictionaries have spoken examples demonstrating that the stress is on CUEN. I could accept this if it had an accent, but it does not.enter image description here

You can find this in many other adverbs.enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

And none of these have accents. It is worth noting that Google's machine recording pronounces extremadamente as ex-tre-ma-da-MEN-te (likely because it has been programmed with the rule mentioned above), but Google's human voiceover for the word pronounces it as ex-tre-MA-da-men-te.

Are -mente adverbs exceptions to the pronunciation rules in casual/modern-day speech, or are the voiceovers for these dictionaries pronouncing the words incorrectly?

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  • Please do not post images. Some people cannot see them and they are not searchable.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 16:57

1 Answer 1

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In the words ending with -mente, everything before -mente is pronounced the same way as in the original word. For example:

  • FreCUENte => freCUENte-mente
  • SUAve => SUAve-mente
  • Ágil => Ágil-mente

But also the accent in MENte is retained so words ending with -mente are pronounced with two accents:

  • FreCUENteMENte
  • SUAveMENte
  • ÁgilMENte
  • cilMENte

In the site you are citing, although the written form is not complete, you can hear the feature of the double accent in the human voiceovers. The very few synthesized voiceovers I could hear are wrong.

The rules for the tilde are simple: if the original word has tilde, the composed word will retain it. If the original word doesn't have tilde, the composed word won't have it either.

So we could say that words ending with -mente are pronounced and written as if we had two words but omitting the space (in the written form.)

Here are some of the comments of the RAE about the words ending with -mente

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  • I think you mean acute accent where you are saying tilde. "~" is a tilde, and an acute accent on e would be "é"
    – Peter M
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 19:46
  • @Peter M, outside Spanish, I believe you're right. However, in Spanish we don't use other than the one other languages call the acute accent you're referring to and we only call it tilde or acento ortográfico/diacrítico. The name of the symbol ~ is also tilde but in modern Spanish the letter ñ (eñe) is not orthographically a n with tilde but a different letter so in Spanish when we refer to las reglas del uso de la tilde we always mean .
    – Krauss
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 22:25
  • 1
    Well, you did answer in English instead of Spanish :D
    – Peter M
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 23:38

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