Lesson 3 // Stress and Syllables
In this lesson, we’ll learn where the syllables form in Catalan words as well as look at stress, or “accent”, and which syllables get extra emphasis.
In Catalan, the vowels determine how many syllables a word will have. A word like temps has one syllable, as do words like sel, cor, and bo. One vowel, one syllable. Monosyllabic words (words with one syllable) have no specific stress, and the stress can change based on their position in a sentence or emphasis.
Dipthongs, or vowel pairs, count as one syllable in Catalan. For example, the word aire (ai-re) has two syllables despite having three vowels. The dipthongs in Catalan are: ai, ei, oi, ui, au, eu, iu, ou, uu. In order to split apart a dipthong and create another syllable, we use what’s called a diaresis, which are two dots placed on top of the second vowel to separate it. It is also the symbol that’s used in qü and gü to separate the u (in fact, ua, üe, üi and uo after q and g are also considered dipthongs [aigua (ai-gua)]). When the word has two syllables, an accent mark, called a tilde, is used. For example, look at the noun pairs veí (ve-i) and veïna (ve-i-na).
Here are how we split words into syllables in Catalan:
Now let’s look at stress.