I assure you received’t break a sweat whereas studying the Spanish alphabet.
If you happen to’re studying this, which means you’ve not less than a passing mastery of some of the foul spelling programs ever conceived—that of the English language, with unusual and nonsensical spellings like “by,” “knee” and “indict.”
So after studying English, studying and writing in Spanish goes to be a relative breeze.
Spanish is written with the identical 26 Latin letters as we use within the English alphabet, plus Ñ for a complete of 27 letters.
After you learn this put up, you’ll be capable of determine and pronounce every of the 27 Spanish letters, and also you’ll be given detailed directions on the right way to say them, with examples and notes for every letter.
The 27 Letters of the Spanish Alphabet
The Spanish alphabet, often known as el alfabeto or el abecedario in Spanish, solely has one letter that the English alphabet doesn’t comprise: That’s the ñ, which is pronounced just like the Y within the English phrase “canyon.”
There are additionally some Spanish letters that carry out double obligation by way of pronunciation. The G, for instance, can sound just like the G in “gate” or the H in “well being.” There are additionally regional variations. The Z can sound just like the TH in “theta” or the S in “sierra” relying on the place it’s being spoken.
The “official” names for the letters under are from the Royal Spanish Academy, which is trying to standardize the letter names throughout all Spanish-speaking areas for the sake of communicative simplicity. When there are different names that you just’ll ceaselessly hear, these are given right here as nicely.
Be aware that each one Spanish letters are female.
|Letter||Pronunciation of identify||IPA pronunciation||Sound in English|
|Cc||c||/okay/ and /θ/ or /s/ relying on area||Scat, chunk, thump or Sarah|
|Gg||g||/g/ and /x/||Girl or hello|
|Hh||h||Silent (besides after c)||Silent or chunk|
|Jj||j||/h/ or /x/||Hot|
|Ll||l||/l/ and as a double-l /ʎ/ or /ʝ/||Love, you|
|Rr||r||/ɾ/ and /r/||[None]|
|Ww||w||/gw/ and /b/||Whiskey or bay|
|Xx||x||/ks/, /x/ and /s/||Taxi, hot or say|
|Yy||y||[j] or /i/ as a vowel and [j] or [ʝ] as a consonant, relying on the area||Hey or equal|
|Zz||z||/θ/ or /s/ relying on the area||Theta or sit|
Notes on Letters in Spanish
As in any language, there are some particular conditions through which letters change sounds or have a couple of possibility, so that you’ll need to learn these detailed notes about every of the Spanish letters.
This again open vowel is the primary vowel in a Spanish phrase you most likely already know: amigo (friend).
Name: (officially) be, (commonly) be alta, (less frequently) be larga or be grande
At the beginning of a word, or after L, M or N, this letter sounds pretty much the same in Spanish as in English (like the B in “boy”), but a little less plosive (softer). In other situations, it may sound a little bit closer to the English V, but not much.
The Spanish B is pronounced exactly the same as the Spanish V—although occasionally some people, even native speakers, will claim otherwise. Linguists will tell you this doesn’t make any difference in actual speech patterns, however.
Just think of the Spanish B and the V as two letters for the same sound. This conflation should give you some clue as to why native Spanish speakers have a terrible time understanding and pronouncing the English V as in “Victor.”
Before I or E, it’s pronounced like the TH in the English “thing” in central and northern Spain. Elsewhere, it’s pronounced like the S in “Sarah” before these vowels. This distinction is called ceceo and also exists with the letter Z.
Before H, as in English, it becomes like the CH in “chunk.” Previously, this CH was itself considered a separate letter and indices and libraries were even organized as such. These are now considered two separate letters that simply combine to make this sound.
Anywhere else, the letter is pronounced pretty much like the English letter K (but less plosive, or softer), like the C in “scat.”
At the beginning of a word or after L, M, or N, this sounds like the English D in “dog.”
However, in other situations, it sounds like the TH in “this.” As you’re learning Spanish, you’ll particularly notice this second pronunciation in past participles ending in -ado and -ido such as hablado (spoken).
To get a sense of both D pronunciations at work, try listening closely to dedo (finger), which sounds like “DAY-thow.”
This is a bit like the AY in the English “day,” but purer. It’s just one short vowel sound.
Also note that it’s always pronounced, unlike the English E that is silent that sits at the end of many words. Thus, the best thing that Mexicans have ever done to chocolate and to chicken, and to the world, is called mole and is pronounced MO-lay.
This is the same as the English F. Consider it a total freebie.
Before I and E, it’s pronounced like our English H—the aspirated sound that starts the word “Harry.”
Otherwise, though, it sounds like the English G sound in “gag.” Thus we have gente (people) but also gato (cat).
An exception exists that is similar to English’s use of the umlaut—actually called diéresis in Spanish. If you see a G followed by a Ü and then an I or an E, you should pronounce the English G as in “gag” followed by the vowels, so you end up with something like GWEE or GWAY for güi and güe, respectively, like in the word agüera (omen).
Except when following a C, this letter is always silent. Always!
This seems very easy, but English speakers have a tendency to pronounce an aspirated H sound anyhow as they’re learning Spanish. Consider yourself warned.
This vowel is like the EE in “beep.”
Rarely, will you hear the I called by its corresponding old name i latina (the Latin I), to contrast it from Y, which has been frequently called i griega (the Greek Y).
J can vary regionally from the aspirated H sound like in the English “help,” to an H sound with a lot of hacking in the middle, which English doesn’t have, unless you count a Scotsman saying the last consonant in loch.
Traditionally, the J was confused with the I for fairly a while within the Latin alphabet, and was merely a flowery approach to write the identical sound. In Spanish, it could actually sound the identical as a G that’s adopted by an I or an E.
That is solely utilized in loanwords and international phrases, and the sound is similar because the English Okay however much less aspirated, like within the English phrase “ability.”
L is pronounced kind of like “Larry” however the level of contact of the tongue is barely increased in direction of the roof of the mouth.
When there’s a double L, the sound adjustments and turns into just like the Y in “yesterday.” Nonetheless, in Argentina and Uruguay it will get a little bit of the gorgeous ZSH, or /ʒ/, sound, just like the S in “pleasure.”
That is pronounced the identical as in English.
That is additionally pronounced the identical as in English.
That is the one letter in Spanish that doesn’t exist within the English alphabet, and there’s even a separate key for it on Spanish keyboards.
Even if you happen to haven’t studied Spanish in any respect, you’ve most likely seen it and perhaps also have a sense of the way it’s pronounced: like the beginning of the second syllable within the English “canyon.”
Frequent examples in Spanish embody niño (child) and baño (bath).
This is pronounced like the English O in but a bit shorter, not made into a diphthong. Those who are purists for pronunciation might compare how Spanish speakers say the word no (no) to our English version, and try to hit the Spanish version. But if not, don’t sweat it—you’ll obviously be understood just fine either way.
This is similar to the English P as in “perfection,” but less plosive (or less expelled air).
As is usually the case in English, the Spanish Q is always followed by the letter U and either E or I after (QUE and QUI are the only possible combinations for this letter), and its sound is a less-aspirated K.
The Spanish R is similar to the English R, but more in the front of the mouth, with a single trill. If you see a double RR (named erre), it gets a bit more trill.
This video has an absolutely lovely demonstration of achieving this trill, along with drawings of where your tongue should go:
When you think you’re getting close, try comparing the single R to the double RR sounds by listening to the words pero (but) and perro (dog) at those links. Can you hear it, and make the distinction yourself?
This is pronounced just like in English.
This is just a bit lighter and less plosive than the English T, but otherwise the same.
This vowel is similar to the OO in the English “food,” but a bit shorter.
Name: (officially) uve; (commonly) ve, ve baja; (less frequently) ve corta, ve pequeña
This is pronounced the same as the Spanish B, so see above for how to use it. To distinguish it from the B, you should spell it by using the most common uve or ve baja.
Name: (officially) uve doble; (sometimes) ve doble or doble ve
This letter is not used in true Spanish words but rather in loanwords from languages like English or German. For example, the word whisky. It may also be spelled whiskey (as in English), wiski, and, in the hilarious and rather wishful recommendation of the official RAE dictionary: güisqui.
The commonest pronunciation for that is /ks/, as within the phrase taxi—the identical in Spanish and English.
Be aware, nonetheless, the distinction of Mexico, through which the X maintains the same sound to the Spanish J—it’s pronounced me-HEE-ko.
Identify: (formally) ye, (generally) i griega
This letter is mostly referred to as i griega (the Greek I), reflecting its authentic use in Spanish for loanwords from Greek. It’s now formally often known as ye in order to slot in with the names of different Spanish consonants.
As a consonant, it’s pronounced the identical as a double LL. One instance is the quite common ya (translates as “already,” among other things). As a vowel, the Spanish Y sounds like the I, and is usually part of a diphthong, as in hay (there is, there are) and soy (I am).
This is pronounced similarly to the first numbered pronunciation for C, meaning that it can change from an S to a lisped TH if you’re in central or northern Spain.
To do this, FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, news reports and inspiring talks—and turns them into engaging language learning lessons with interactive, bilingual subtitles.
Because the videos feature native Spanish speakers from around the world, you’ll hear authentic pronunciation of each letter and sound in context. You can then practice your pronunciation with personalized quizzes, where you can either speak or type the answers.
What Makes the Spanish Alphabet Simple?
In distinction to English, Spanish doesn’t have such a haphazard relationship between how phrases are spelled and the way they’re pronounced. Aside from a couple of exceptions, pronunciation could be very common in Spanish.
Due to this, it’s a lot simpler to be taught the Spanish alphabet than the English one! In elementary colleges, Spanish-speaking kids are deliberately given the duty of spelling phrases that they’ll by no means, ever have heard earlier than with a view to check their talents to use Spanish’s practically good spelling system, and it really works.
If you happen to’ve gotten this far, you’re now an entire grasp of the Spanish alphabet—most likely extra so than any of us will ever be for the English alphabet.
True language nerds with a very good degree of Spanish can learn extra in regards to the Royal Spanish Academy’s plans for the alphabet here. However my advice is to only benefit from the language’s comparatively carefree spelling system.
Spanish goes to throw lots of loopy curveballs at you within the studying course of, however the alphabet isn’t considered one of them.