Sounds and Pronunciation

Vowels (Vocales)

Asturian has 5 vowels: a, e, i, o and u.

The vowels e and o, however, are reduced in unstressed position to [i] and [u].

Note that the masculine forms for singular of both the nouns and the adjectives are written with -u, cf.:

Ast. verbu versus Sp. verbo,
Ast. gatu versus Sp. gato etc.
The letter y, pronounced [j] as the y in the English yet, is red [i] in two cases:
  1. In the atonic form -y him of the personal pronoun for 3 p. sg. of accusative (= Sp. le):

  2. Ast. Díxo-y que sí  versus  Sp. Le dijo que sí.
    Ast. Merqué-y daqué  versus  Sp. Le compré algo.
    Note that this pronoun is preceded always by dash.
  3. In the copulative conjunction y and (= Sp. y):

  4. Xabel y Sandra, el fíu y la fía.
The letter i represents the sound [j] in the final diphthongs and triphthongs (in Spanish is written y), as in:
Ast. la llei versus  Sp. la ley,
Ast. yo toi versus  Sp. yo estoy,
Ast. hai xente versus  Sp. hay gente.
Consonants (Consonantes)

Asturian has 19 consonants.

The corresponding letters are pronounced as in Spanish with the following exceptions:

  1. the soft c (i.e. c before e or i) is pronounced [s];
  2. the letter z is pronounced [s];
  3. the letter g is read always [g];
  4. the letter x is pronoiunced as the English sh in shop (in this it is similar to Galician): roxu = Sp. rojo;
  5. the digraph ll is pronounced as the English ch: llobu = Sp. lobo;
  6. in Eastern Asturia and León the initial f- before vowel is replaced by an aspirated h-, pronounced as the English h n home, cf. facer vs. hacer = Sp. hacer.


Asturian Descriptive Grammar
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© Zdravko Batzarov