Alphabet

El Alphabeto

Spanish is easy to pronounce since most letters (or phonemes) have just one sound. The following list and flashcards will help you learn what each letter can sound like. A key point to remember is that Spanish letters tend to be less “breathy”.

a ah Close to “ah.” This is similar to the sound you make when the dentist tells you to open your mouth and say “ah”.
b beh The Spanish b is a bit softer than in English, and almost sounds like a “v”.
c ceh Usually sounds like k. Before e or i, it sounds like an s. (In Spain, instead of sounding like an “s”, it is like a “th”, as in “thanks”.
ch cheh Sounds like the ch in “chocolate” in English.
d deh This ones sounds somewhere in between an English “d” and “th”, as in “the”.
e eh Close to “eh.” It sounds somewhere in between the in “bet” and “cake”.
f effe This is same as f in English.
g ge Usually sounds like an English “g”, as in “goofy”. Before e or i, it sounds like a harsh h (similar to the Spanish j).
h hache Usually, this sound is silent. However, it would still be pronounced like a harsh for words that do not have a Spanish translation: HollywoodHawái, etc.
i i Similar to “ee”, as in “cheese”, but shorter. When it is before the vowels a, e, and o, it forms a y sound.
j jota Similar to the English h sound, but it varies from country to country. It can vary from region to region, sometimes sounding harsher. It never sounds like an English j.
k kah Rarely used in Spanish and generally only used in certain foreign words.
l ele Similar to the English l.
ll elle Not officially a letter anymore, but it used to be. It usually sounds like a y. In some regions it may sound like the g in genre.
m eme Similar to the English m.
n ene Similar to the English n.
ñ eñe Similar to ni in onion or ny in canyon.
o oh Similar to the English o, but shorter.
p peh Similar to the English p, but shorter.
q koo Same sound as the letter k, and always followed by the letter u.
r ere Somewhere in between an English d and r, being much more like a d. When you have rr you have to roll (trill) the rr.
s ese Similar to the English s.
t te Similar to the English t, but softer.
u u Similar to the “oo” in tool, but shorter.
v veh Almost identical to the Spanish b, but just a little softer.
w doble veh Same as the English w, but not a letter native to Spanish. (Usually, to get the w sound, you would use the letter u with another vowel after it)
x equis When between vowels and at the end of a word, it sounds like the English ks sound, although in some places, like México, it can sound like an English h. If it is at the beginning of a word, it sounds like the letter s.
y y griega Most of the time, it sounds like the English y in yes.
z zeta Usually pronounced like the English s. In many parts of Spain it can sound like the th in thanks.

 

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