Spanish alphabet and pronunciation
As you can see, Spanish alphabet is almost the same as English and most sounds are also the same. However, there are nuances with some letters that are marked by *:
- LL (double L) and Y are pronounced as Y in Y
- Y is pronounced like English Y in [YEAR]. But only in the single-letter word Y – and, consisting from itself is pronounced as EE in [meet].
- G: before a/o/u is pronounced G as in G Before i/e it is pronounced as H in [hat].
- J is pronounced as H in [hat]. Also, J can be used instead of G when in process of conjugation one must place a/o/u after softened G. For example:
Escoger – to choose, pronounced as [eskoher]
Yo escojo – I choose, pronounced as [eskoho]
- Ñ is soft N. Pronounced as NY in [canyon].
- H doesn’t have a sound. This letter is called “Ache”. For example, the word Hablar – to speak is pronounced as [ablar], and the word Hijo – son is pronounced as [eeho].
- C before a/o/u sounds like C in [club], but before i/e sounds like CE in [ceiling], as well as in English.
- Z has different sounds in Spain and Latin America. In Spain Z sounds like TH in [theater], and in Latil America sounds like S in [soon]. Also, Z is used instead of C before e/i when in process of conjugation one must place a/o/u after. For example:
Yo hice – I did
Él hizo – He did
- U is pronounced as U in [rule] or OO in [zoom]
- U in QU, CU, GU doesn’t have a sound. It is used after G, C to keep the sound hard from softening letters i/e. For example, in the word Guitarra U is used to keep sound G, because without U this word would sound as “hitarra”.
- Ü is pronounced as usual OO in ZOO Used in QÜ, CÜ, GÜ when there must be the sound U instead of a diphthong. Example: Vergüenza – shame
- Qu – equivalent of C except before a/o/u. Used instead of C when in process of conjugation one must place i/e after C. Example:
Yo toco la guitarra – I play guitar, pronounced [toko]
Yo toqué la guitarra – I played guitar, pronounced [toké]
- R – is pronounced as R in English, but with a slight lingual flap.
- RR – is pronounced as strong rolled R.
- K, W – equivalents of C, V, they are used only in loan words.
- Ch equals English CH as in CH
- B and V don’t have a difference in pronunciation. Spanish speakers pronounce these sounds either as B or as V depending on local accent, or as a sound between both of these letters.
Stressed syllables in Spanish language
If a word ends on a vowel and on the consonants N, S – the accent is on the penultimate syllable, e.g. ESTABAN, if a word ends on a consonant apart from N, S – the accent is on the last syllable, e.g. NACIONAL.
If the accent doesn’t fit these rules – there must be an accent mark above, e.g. ESTÁ.
Also, the accent mark is written in some words to distinguish their meaning: SÍ – yes, SI – if, QUÉ – what, QUE – than, that, ÉL – he, EL – definite article, and others.
Read these words now and build sentences with them after the next lesson:
|Gracias – thanks [grásias]|
Hola – hello [óla]
Humano – human [umáno]
Mañana – morning/tomorrow [manyána]
Amor – love [amór]
Practicar – to practice [practicár]
Carretera – road [carretéra]
Español – Spanish [espaniól]
Lluvia – rain [yúvia]
Difícil – difficult [difícil]
Carretera – road [carretéra]
Hamster – hamster [ámster]
Incredible – increíble [increíbleh]
Plaza – square [plátha (Spain)/ plása (LA)]
Amarillo – yellow [amaríyo]
|Zapatos – shoes [thapátos (Spain)/sapatos (LA)]|
Joven – young [hóven]
Llamar – to call [yamár]
Rechazar – to reject [rechathár (Spain), Rechasár (LA)]
Ser – to be [ser]
Estar – to be [estár]
Dibujar – to draw [dibuhár]
Empezar – to start/begin [empethár (Spain), empesár (LA)]
Hijo – son [éeho]
Hija – daughter [éeha]
Lápiz – pencil [lápith (Spain)/ lapis(LA)]
Quierer – to want [querér]
Vergüenza – shame [verguéntha (Spain)/[verguénsa (LA)]