To a much greater degree than in English, Spanish words of more than one syllable are pronounced with a definite stress on one particular syllable, and what syllable of a word is stressed can affect its meaning. Native Spanish speakers would never confuse hable (stress on first syllable) with hablé (stress on second syllable).

Students of Spanish, however, may have to consciously train themselves to listen for the stressed syllable. Listen to the following sentences and see if you can perceive the added emphasis on the stressed vowels, which are shown in blue. Remember that combinations of a strong vowel and a weak vowel form one syllable.

When you hear Spanish, in class or elsewhere, try to listen for stress and see if you can pick out stressed syllables.

Try the quiz before moving on to the next lesson.