It is an accent mark. It means that when you pronounce the word you accent that syllable, and it is here because under normal rules you'd stress the "ar" in azucar, but you need to stress the "u" pronounce it correctly = azUcar, not azucAR. You are going to accents on words, so get used used to it! ;)
Wait... ok so I understand the function of the accent symbol designating what syllable to stress; that's pretty straightforward and easy to grasp.
under normal rules you'd stress the "ar" in azucar
However, I thought the general rule was that the penultimate syllable is what, by default, gets stressed when speaking a word that is without an accent mark (manZANa, narANja, pesCAdo, canGREjo, etc..)
And that you use the accent mark to show which syllable to stress when a word is pronounced with a stressed syllable other than the penultimate... such as the stress on the last syllable in liMON (limón).
so why exactly does this need the accent since the zu in azúcar is the 2nd to last syllable and therefore would, I thought, naturally receive the stress?
Thanks in advance for any clearing up you might provide :)
Penultimate syllable is stressed in words ending in a vowel or in the consonants 'n' or 's'. For words ending in other consonants (such as 'r'), the accent falls on the final syllable. So 'azucar' needs an accent to differentiate it.
Tú comes azúcar, and you'll regret it. http://authoritynutrition.com/10-disturbing-reasons-why-sugar-is-bad/
Sometimes. Just put some on a spoon, and let it set in your mouth in a few minutes. I got that from my gramma Marjorie many years back!