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Pronouncing the alphabet in Spanish

Pronouncing the alphabet in Spanish

Learning how to read and write Spanish can only get you so far, because if you don’t know how to pronounce your pero from your perro, you may get into many sticky situations! The good news is that Spanish is a phonetic language, which means that you can look at almost any word and immediately know how to pronounce it.

This blog post will go over how to pronounce the alphabet in Spanish:


Letter


Approximate pronunciation


Example


Pronunciation of example

a Like ‘a’ in father gato gah-to
b a) When the ‘b’ is between vowels, pronounce like the English ‘b’ but softer bebiba beh-bee-dah
b)  When ‘b’ is not in between vowels, pronounce like the English ‘b bueno bweh-noh
c Like 'k' in kite cabra kah-bra
ce / ci Like ‘s’ in say centro sehn-troh
d Like the English ‘d’ dar dah-r
e Like the ‘e’ in net esta eh-stah
f Like the English 'f' feliz feh-lis
g Like ‘g’ in get ninguno neen-goo-noh
ge / gi Like 'k' in lock urgente oor-kh-ehn-teh
h Silent ¡hola! ola
i Like ‘ee’ in feet s-ee
j Like ‘ch’ in Scottish loch bajo bah-khoh
k Only found in foreign words. Pronounce like the English ‘k’ karate kah-ratay
l Like the ‘l’ in call tal ta-ll
m Like the English ‘m’ mamá mah-mah
n Like the English ‘n’ nada nah-da
o Like the ‘o’ in no dos doh-s
p Like the 'p' in English pero peh-ro
q Like 'k' in kick que keh
r Roll your tongue especially when the ‘r’ is at the beginning of the word río ree-oh
s a) like ‘s’ in same sus s-oos
b)When the ‘s’ is before ‘b/d/g/l/m/n’ pronounce like ‘z’ mismo meez-moh
t Like the English ‘t’ but make your tongue touch the back of your frontteeth teh
u a) Like 'oo' in food uno oo-noh
  b) Silent after 'g' and 'q' que keh
v Pronounced like ‘beh’ envase en-ba-seh
w Only found in foreign words. Pronounce like the English ‘w’ whisky whisky
x a) Like the "ks" in the word "talks" examen eks-amin
b) The second is pronounced like the English letter "h" and used for certain proper nouns México Meh-hico
y a) Depending upon the region, ‘y’ can sound like the English ‘y’ or the English ‘j’ ya yah
b) When alone, pronounced like ‘ee y ee
z Like ‘s’ in same brazo brah-soh


 

Letters and sounds specific to the Spanish alphabet

 


Letter


Approximate pronunciation


Example


Pronunciation of example

ll Like the ‘y’ in yellow lleno yeh-noh
ñ          Like the ‘n’ in onion niño nin-nyoh
rr Really roll your tongue! Pronounce like ‘airrr-ay’ arriba ah-rree-bah
ü          Like ‘we’ in well antigüedad ahn-tee-gweh-dahd


 

Pronunciation of Spanish spoken in Spain

 


Letter


Approximate pronunciation


Example


Pronunciation of example

ce/ci      Like ‘th’ in thin centro then-troh
d Like the English ‘d’ apart from when the ‘d’ is in between vowels or at the end of the word. Then pronounce like ‘th’ in thin, but softer                        usted oos-teth
z Like ‘th’ in thin brazo brah-thoh


 

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