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https://www.duolingo.com/dexterinthedark

porque and por qué ambiguity

I am struggling to come to terms with these since they are pronounced the same in speech and thus will lead to massive ambiguities. it is putting me off continuing with this language. isn't there any way around this? how do native speakers get by? it's weird to think that a pair of sentences like "she asked why you left early" and "she asked because you left early" are going to lead to huge misunderstandings. that's a serious design flaw.

3 years ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
_pinkodoug_
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Beyond contextual cues, the two are not pronounced the same. The stresses are different for each. Porque vs. Por qué. You just need to let your ear get used to the difference.

Check out native pronunciations at Forvo.com for porque vs por qué and really focus on hearing the distinction.

cGlua29kb3Vn

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Indeed. I find them very different. Like INvalid, meaning a sick person, and inVALid, meaning no good. Once you get used to listening for the stressed syllable, they are night and day. But at first they sound just alike and it's hard to know at first if you're being asked a question or given an explanation.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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"Will lead to massive ambiguities"? Has it caused you issues yet?

All languages have lots of ambiguities. The English "to, too, two" is a good example. You know it from context. Specifically in the case of those two sentences, I think it would be obvious from the tone of voice of the speaker. And misunderstandings happen a lot in spoken language, it's normal, and then they're normally clarified and then laughed about.

It seems strange to me that you refer to it as a "design flaw". No one sat down and determined that was how people were going to speak, it evolved naturally. People point out many similar issues that they have when they learn English, but as native speakers we don't even notice because it's just how we communicate.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ElimGarak

I was taught that whenever a person is asking a question, they tend to use a slightly higher tone at the end than they would usually speak it at to differentiate it from a non-question statement. They are pronounced the same way, but they aren't necessarily spoken the same way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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In addition to what ElimGarak said, it's really no different from homophones in English. Unless one is a ticker-tape synesthete and can see the words in their head as they are spoken, you automatically figure out the meaning based on context. It's just something you have to develop an ear for.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rocko2012
rocko2012
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I've not run into any issue with it. In the real world usage ""she asked because you left early" would have likely been preceded by something like "why did she ask?" And regardless if they answer with "because" or "why" it will still register the same meaning in your brain in the context of the original question.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
tnel1
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Wow! Now that is a streak! :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tnel1
tnel1
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With that logic most people would give up on English. I mean, "steak" or "stake"? "read" or "reed"? "which" or "witch"? Ay, ay, ay! Check out this list of over 400 homophones in English: http://www.singularis.ltd.uk/bifroest/misc/homophones-list.html

So, don't give up! It will eventually seem very, very easy to you I promise! :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clemente-Pablo

Dexter, you sound like your "inthedark." I suggest you find a native speaker of Spanish, one who can understand some English would be best. Ask this person to use porque in a sentence and to use ¿...por que...? also in a sentence. When the words are used in a sentence they are distinctly different in sound. One porque is always going to be translated as our english word: because, while the other ¿por qué? will tranlate as: why? With this in mind, porque is the answer to ¿por qué? The question is always split in two short words, por and que. The anwer porque is always one word, never split. I still have some trouble with pronouncing the correct one at times; but I can always tell the difference in each when I hear them. It may not take very much practice with the listening of these two words til you have them down. I think you maybe stuck when you look at them and as a gringo like me does. When you are thinking in english the sounds are going to be exactly the same but gringotized. A native speaker who has grown up hearing and speaking Spanish will never have any problem with these two words. I would hope you wouldn't let this minor element of Spanish make you give up on what can be a real fun experience when you get going with it. Plus, the relationships with another culture like the culture of the hispanic people is awesome... Just think of the music alone, wow, Shakira, Thalia, Rick Martin, Enrique Iglesias... and a million more. Take good care.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kastreitor
Kastreitor
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"Por qué" in the question, interrogative phrases. = why

"Porque" in the answers = because.

"Porqué" means "the reason, the cause".. Example: "Él me explicó el porqué" (He exlained to me the reason).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/---PianoCat---

Thank you for clarifying! This really helps.

10 months ago