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Why is "J" pronounced as an "H" in Spanish?


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English and Spanish languages are very closely related. Many of their words are spelled similar and although less, many words also sound very similar when spoken. But why is "J" spoken so differently? Is it because a "J" is a relatively knew addition to the alphabet, added to English after the two languages deviated? I read somewhere it is so knew Shakespeare didn't use it.

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Well, that's how their alphabet sounds like.  It should not be compared to English because English has their own alphabet as well.  In general, J is really pronounced like an H or sometimes it's even a silent J and you just pronounce the next letter as if it's the first. 

Spanish in general is less complicated compared to other European languages, but you need to pay attention to those letters which are supposed to be silent letters. 

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I find it interesting that some of their words make them sound like they have a lisp. I used to have a couple of Spanish friends who even struggled with some English words because of this, the "lisp" carried over to their English. I think this is the one area I'd struggle with If I were to learn Spanish!

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I agree with most of the posters here that it is just the way their alphabet is set up! I don't think they were going off the English language alphabet as much as well hence they have the silent 'J'!

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I would have to say that this is so because each language have their different alphabet and with having different alphabet comes different rules. Just as English has letters that are silent and so on is the same with these other languages.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Different languages have different rules and syntax and that's just how Spanish is.  It's really not good to be comparing between languages as that's makes learning even more complicated.  There is no such thing as a more superior language that other languages should pattern from.  Yes, English is considered the universal language, but it remains to be that other languages have their own rules that is independent of the English language.

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I never knew that Spanish was closely related to English. I think it's just the way the language evolved, as with most languages. They have a system in place and whatever new words come will just be adapted into the new system in a way that still sounds most consistent and familiar. Many different languages also interchange certain letters like how L is made into R when translated into Japanese.

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Huh?!  The ''H'' in Spanish is silent most of the time, like for example ''Huevo''!  I don't see why you think the ''J'' sounds just like the ''H''.  I'm talking about Latin American Spanish, maybe the ''H'' sounds different in castillian Spanish. 

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Wait, English and Spanish are closely related? They're from two completely different language families though right? Romance and Germanic? I mean, English pretty much cannibalized a lot of languages to fill up their roster -- which is probably why English has SO MANY FRICKING RULES that hardly make sense or totally doesn't (contranyms!!) -- but I don't think they're similar at all.

As for why J is pronounced as H, I have to agree with the others that it's simply their alphabet. It's like asking, "Why is A pronounced as A?" that kind of thing. Different alphabets are created to indicate the sounds that a language has the capacity to pronounce. It just so happened that with Spanish, they designated J as the H sound and H as an unvoiced alphabet.

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