Here’s a little bit of linguistics for you, and don’t get lost in the details. Just follow along…
A phoneme is a unit in the sound system of a language (like a letter but the sound that the symbol gives, not the symbol itself), and these units are pronounced a number of ways depending on the allophone, which are the different ways a phoneme is pronounced.
/Phonemes are written like this between slashes./
[Allophones are written like this between brackets.]
In English a few examples are as follows: /p/ = [p,b] and /t/ [t,d]. A common example in Spanish is the /s/ (fricativa alveolar sorda, for those who care) which has two allophones [s,z]. Something curious about Spanish has just to do with this!
In most Spanish dialects, the the verb to marry, casar, is pronounced the exact same as the verb to hunt, cazar. A yahoo forum said the following when asked what the difference was between these two verbs:
- Que primero te caza la vieja y luego te tienes que casar. (First the old lady hunts you and then you have to marry her.)
He sounds pretty cynical doesn’t he? Another skeptic would say the following:
- Cazar: Es cuando matan a los animales. (When they kill animals.)
- Casar: Es cuando los animales se matan solos. (When the animals kill each other alone.)
- *See blog where this quote came from here.
However you see hunting or marriage, it’s pretty comical that they are pronounced the same. Some say it’s the thrill of the hunt – the hunt leading to marriage, where others see it al revés.