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)]