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Teaching Spanish pronunciation
Teaching Spanish pronunciation

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2 Fricatives (fricativas)

Both the number of fricative phonemes as well as their actual realisation vary across the dialects of Spanish. Unlike English, Spanish has only one voiced fricative /ʝ/ as in yo (I), mayo (May). According to some phonologists, it is an approximant rather than a fricative. Peninsular Spanish (except for some Southern dialects) has four voiceless fricative phonemes; /f θ s x/ as in fuego (fire), zapato (shoe), sopa (soup) and jabón (soap). In the rest of the varieties of Spanish /θ/ and /s/ are merged into a single phoneme /s/. While the realisation of Spanish /f/ does not pose a problem for English-speaking students, the other voiceless fricatives can be challenging.