A is a sequence of three making up one syllable. Some examples in would be: a – pre – ciáis, co – piéis, buey. For a triphthong to exist, two closed vowels (“i” or “u”) and, between them, an (“a”, “e”, or “o”): anunciáis, guau, miau, confiéis.

Sequences of + open vowel + are not triphthongs when one of the closed vowels is . Instead, there is a hiatus followed by a when the first closed vowel is tonic: vivíais (vi – ví – ais); or a diphthong followed by a hiatus, when the second closed vowel is tonic: limpiaúñas (lim – pia – ú – ñas).

A sequence of atonic closed vowel + open vowel + atonic closed vowel can be pronounced, in certain cases, as one syllable, a triphthong, and in others as two distinct syllables, with a hiatus followed by a diphthong, or vice versa.

Thus, the sequence “iei” is pronounced as a triphthong in the word “cambiéis [kam-biéis] and as a hiatus + diphthong in “confiéis” [kon-fi-éis], at least in Spain and the Latin American countries in which the tendency to remove hiatuses is not as strong. However, for purposes of graphic accenting, any sequence made up of an open vowel between two closed atonic vowels will always be considered as a triphthong, regardless of its actual articulation in one or two syllables.


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