Spanish Alphabet

Spanish Alphabet

The first thing you need to know to learn Spanish (or any other language) is the Spanish alphabet. How you pronounce or form the words are very important to know if you want to have a good start.

Following is the Spanish Alphabet. It has notes on the right side which I would recommend to use them only as a guidance. It helps how to pronounce the letters, but it does’t have to be only like that, some students listen and take their own notes of how it sounds. Therefore, feel free to ask your tutor and write your own notes.

Practice Spanish Alphabet pronunciation while you read the Spanish Alphabet bellow… Click on each letter to hear the pronunciation

Recommendation: Repeat until the black letter and study, then continue repeating until the other black letter and study, and so on.

LETTER /

Click on letter to hear SOUND

PRONUNCIATION

PERTINENT INFORMATION


a ah Always produces the a sound in father
b bay
c say K sound before a,o,u; s sound before e,i
ch chay Considered one letter
d day
e Ay(long a) Always produces the long a sound
f Áy-fay
g hay G sound (as in “go”) before a,o,u; h sound before e,i
h áh-chay
i ee(long e) Always produces the long e sound
j hota Always produces the long h sound
k Kah Not used in true Spanish words
l áy-lay
ll áy-yay; Áy-jay Y in Latin America, j in Spain
m áy-may
n áy-nay
ñ áy-yay produces the ny sound (as in “canyon”)
o oh Always produces the long o sound
p pay
q coo
r áy-ray The r you don’t trill
rr áyrrrr-rrrrray The r you do trill. The name of the word also can be “doble r”
s áy-say
t tay
u ooh Always produces the long u sound
v bay Pronounced identically to b (as in “baby”)
w Dóblay-bay Not used (oe produces the w soun)
x áy-kees
y Ee gree-áy-gah E Griega is the name of the letter
z Sáy-tah Pronounced identically to s (as in”sin”)

The Spanish Alphabet used to be very similar to the English Alphabet except that the Spanish one has 30 letters and the English has 26.  Back in 1995, the Spanish (from Spain) alphabet was revised to eliminate the compound letters.  Nevertheless, many dictionaries still adhere to the traditional letters. As recent as 2010, RAE (Real Academia Española) has definitely decided to eliminate the ch, ll, rr , keeping the ñ as an additional letter. Therefore, the actual Spanish Alphabet has 27 letters: all the letters from the English alphabet plus the ñ.

Some Latin American countries have not decided to follow Spain’s lead in this matter. Additionally, these traditional letters are still used when spelling aloud. Therefore it is important to know the original standard Spanish alphabet.

I recommend to continue to the traditional way in order to understand better the pronunciation of the letters. However, is important to know the lastest releases.

The Spanish alphabet used to have all the letters of the English alphabet except for ch, ll, rr and ñ. The ch, ll, rr and ñ are traditionally individual letters. In many dictionaries the Ch still follows C, the same follows for L and LL, n and ñ, as well as r and rr when they occur in the middle of words, the word is spelled rr and r is spelled when it begins a word.

Difficult Consonants

(according to my experience with students)

Click on every Word to hear the pronunciation

ñ : caño, paño

r:  rata, reloj, caro

rr (duble r and between vocals): It is stronger than r, is like the sound of caro or carretera

j:  reloj, jamon

The most difficult ones are r and rr (double r). I have noticed that all the students  have had problem with these consonants. This is why we start every class to pronounce at least it once, since takes a time to develop the sound.


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