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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