How to pronounce "mujer" properly?
Hi, I'm quite new to speaking Spanish (one day, actually). The "j" is pronounced like a soft "h" right?
Thanks for any help!
If you are familiar with IPA phonetic transcriptions (such as here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_phonology), the pronunciation is /muxeɾ/ (with a tapped r) or /muxer/ (with a trilled r), which can vary depending whether the word is followed by a vowel or not.
As for the /x/ (the sound of the j), this is the sound of ch in Scottish loch or German Buch, although many Spanish speakers pronounce this sound with little force, making it sound much like /h/, the English h. Nonetheless, this sound is produced with the back of your tongue near your soft palate, not in your throat, as /h/ is.
Edit: One further note, because some other comments describe the second syllable as "hair". The sound of e (and indeed all single vowels) in Spanish is a pure monophthong (single sound), not a slightly closing diphthong like we have many of in English. That is, the e sound is /e/, not /eɪ/, which is the vowel in hair.
Pure vowel sounds are uncommon, though, in English.
And, a diphthongal glide, which you seem to be describing, is so common, in English, that it is hard to ignore. (But, in teaching others to pronounce Spanish, we continue to phoneticize it that way! It's ALL WE GOT!)
So, we break it down that way!
"Mu - hair" (where the HAIR is emphasized).
We Americans readily admit that "it is a good starting point". And, we leave it at that. (Don't try to teach us "pure vowel sounds": that will just not fly!)
CAVEAT: As one learns the Spanish vowel sounds, though, he/she begins to understand the natural differences in those sounds, in toto. (This is Latin, not Spanish.)
I, for one, don't pronounce it that way!
My pronunciation of Spanish words that begin with "j" is like saying "haram" and "halal", in Arabic. (Anyway, that is what I have been told by an Arabic-speaking acquaintance of mine: she says that I pronounce the "h" very well, in those two words. And, I tell her it is because I learned that sound when studying Spanish!)
P.S.: "jalapeños" (con tilde)
Since this post is about Spanish, could you move it to the Spanish forum? More of the people who are interested in Spanish will see it there, and it will help keep this forum easy to navigate for those who aren't currently studying Spanish.
Don't delete it and create a new one, just click edit, and change the topic from Duolingo to Spanish. Here's a guide on how to move a post: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16609773.
Youtube user ButterflySpanish, https://www.youtube.com/user/ButterflySpanishola/videos have a lot of really good videos
Here is her Spanish alphabet video: https://youtu.be/hsLYD1Jyf3A