What is the accent?

We explain what is the accent and the different meanings that this term has. In addition, some basic rules of accentuation.

  1. What is the accent?

The accent, within a word, is a syllable that we pronounce more strongly or intensely. All words have an accent.

The accent, moreover, can refer to the way people speak in a given region , even if they speak the same language. Such is the case of the Spaniards and the River Plate, whose way of speaking is different in pronunciation, intonation and conjugation of verbs.

The syllable of a word that is pronounced with more intensity is the stressed syllable. It is important to mention that the accent may be written or not, depending on the accentuation rules .

When the accent is written (what is called spelling accent), it is marked by a small oblique line on the vowel , this is called tilde. When the accent is not written it is called a prosodic accent.

There are certain words that are written the same but mean different, and that need the tilde to establish or clarify their meaning, this accent is known as diacritical. A clear example is the difference between the (article) and him (personal pronoun).

In computer programs it is sometimes necessary to resort to certain special character codes to place the tilde on the vowels, since there are languages ​​that do not have this graphic mark. The best known way, for example, is in the Windows operating system , by pressing the Alt key plus a decimal number on the numeric keypad. So, if you don’t have the tilde option on the keyboard, you can press Alt plus 160 to get an a with tilde.

In Spanish the accentuation is very important and it is necessary to know the rules, since the absence of a tilde or the presence of it when it does not correspond is a spelling error.

  1. Some basic accentuation rules

  • The words esdrújulas always carry tilde.
  • Acute words carry tilde when they end in consonants n, so vowel.
  • The serious or plain words bear tilde when they do NOT end in consonants n, so vocal.
  • Monosyllables never carry tilde unless it is a diacritical accent.

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