I was watching a television show* the other day during which the presenter made a habit of pronouncing the final 'r' of many infinitives with the 'sh' sound -- thus 'poner' became 'ponesh', and so on. I can't remember any more at the moment, but it was 'ir' and 'ar' verbs as well -- I think 'sentir' became 'sentish' -- it was not every verb, perhaps 50%

It sounded similar to my ears to the manner in which Argentinean Spanish converts 'll' and 'y' to 'sh' -- but here it was clearly the end of infinitives only (the presenter didn't convert 'll' and 'y' to 'sh')

Where is this common? I asked some Spanish-speaking friends but they didn't know.

(* it was a VME Cocina show…)

  • 1
    Many andean dialects, particularly those influenced by Quechua, pronounce Spanish hard r (such as in “perro” or in infinitives) as a retroflex fricative, which might sound similar to English /sh/. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 2:06
  • "it was clearly the end of infinitives only" Wasn't it at every 'r'?
    – leonbloy
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 14:16
  • No, I actually watched her again today (I wish I could catch her name). "Ponesh", not "Poner". I listened, the other r's were normal. And it wasn't an Argentinean accent either, because 'll' and 'y' were 'normal' as well -- there's another show (quite fun, with Donato de Santis) where the Argentinean accent is quite clear, and this isn't that.
    – Cerulean
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 20:54
  • Be aware that in Argentina (where I live) there are several accents. In particular, in some northern-western provinces the doble 'rr' is pronounced differently (and they don't have the 'yeismo' from Buenos Aires), see eg: youtube.com/watch?v=skdNGhqD5SU This does not apply to your question, though, it seems.
    – leonbloy
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 17:54

4 Answers 4


Estuve revisando videos de Paulina Abascal y Catalina Vélez, conductoras de programas de VME cocina. Catalina es colombiana, de Pereira, y no presenta ninguna irregularidad en la pronunciación de sus infinitivos.

Paulina sí. Ella es mexicana, del DF (la capital), y tiene un acento marcado que podemos escucharla en este Video. Se nota la pronuncación afectada en algunas /r/ finales de los infinitivos (y, efectivamente, no lo presenta en otras erres), sobre todo cuando pronuncia el infinitivo al final de oración. Para mí el sonido no es exactamente una /sh/ inglesa (fricativa postalveolar sibilante sorda) sino más bien una fricativa retroflexa ligeramente vibrante y sonora. También algunas /s/ a final de oración presentan una ligera palatización.

No me parece una pronunciación habitual en México, no sé si sea común en algunos lugares de Ciudad de México o si se trata de una pronunciación particular.

PD. Como lo decía en los comentarios la fricativa retroflexa es común en acentos andinos, sobre todo en zonas de influencia de quechua, tales como el altiplano peruano, la sierra ecuatoriana y el sur de Colombia. Pero esta pronunciación es común en todas las /rr/, no sólo en infinitivos al final de oración.

in English (update)

I was watching some videos for Paulina Abascal and Catalina Vélez, female presenters of VME Cocina. Catalina is Colombian, from Pereira, and does not have any irregularity in the pronunciation of infinitives.

Paulina does. She is Mexican, from Mexico City, and she has a marked Mexican accent we can hear in This Video. You can notice the affected pronunciation of some final /r/ in the infinitives (and, as asked, not in other positions of r), mainly when the infinitive falls at the end of a sentence. For me the sound is not quite an English /sh/ (voiceless sibilant post-alveolar fricative) but rather a semi-voiced semi-vibrant retroflex fricative. Also some /s/ at the end of sentences has some palatalization.

I don't recall this as normal pronunciation in Mexico. I don't know if it is common in certain places in Mexico City or if it is a particular pronunciation.

P.S. As I told in the comments, the retroflex fricative is common in Andean accents, mainly on those with Quechua influence as in the Peruvian high-lands, the Ecuadorian sierra and southern Colombia. But this pronunciation affects every /rr/ and not only sentence final infinitives.

  • Thanks! This could be it indeed. It was a female chef -- this could be she, although I think Paulina does 'Pasteleria MX'? Perhaps she was subbing on 'Nuevos Sabores de Mexico'...In any case, yes, indeed, it is just this thing, except here Paulina seems to not do it every verb (poner remains poker, but 'lugar' becomes 'lugash') -- if I catch the exact program again (they repeat) I'll try hard to catch the chef's name. -- So, I wonder, is this a DF accent, or....?
    – Cerulean
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 20:35

The countries which uses sounds that are alike to the one you are informing are Argentina and some parts of Spain. Those who claim to speak in the purest Spanish form actually.

  • But would this be where 'll' and 'y' do NOT have the typical Argentinean variant, but only the ending 'r' transformed into an 'sh' sound?
    – Cerulean
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 20:54
  • I don't know whether it happens in Argentina, but I don't think it happens in any part of Spain at all...
    – MikO
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 11:11
  • I never heard such thing in 30 years in normal conversations in Argentina, only something similar but not changing 'r in a parody of a snob social class tone.
    – user1629
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 11:45

Viendo el programa de cocina que mencionas online, aparentemente está hecho en los Estados Unidos y el cocinero dice mucho "concha" en vez de "cáscara" como se dice siempre en Argentina. En España tampoco se habla con el acento de ese cocinero (si es que al que te refieres se llama Hamlet). Sospecho que es de origen centro-americano (México, Nicaragua) o cerca del Caribe (Venezuela). Aunque el cocinero que vi en ese programa online no le escuché reemplazar la "r". Más bien pronunciaba "j" en vez de "s" algunas veces, como suelen pronunciar en Venezuela.

  • Hamlet García es venezolano, aunque con un acento bastante neutro que me costó trabajo identificar de una. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 23:37

Costa Rica has a habit of adding what sounds like a "sh" to the end "r" of infinitive verbs forms.

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