Alphabet and Pronunciation
In this lesson you'll learn the Spanish alphabet and how to pronounce the Spanish language. Pronunciation in Spanish is straightforward and spelling is consistent, with only a few rules to remember.
At the end of this lesson are some example sentences that show how the Spanish language is pronounced.
Pronunciation of the Spanish language is fairly straightforward. Study the rules for the sounds of the letters below.
Accent marks above vowels indicate that that syllable is stressed. If there is no accent mark on a word, the second to last syllable is generally stressed, except when the word ends in d, j, l or r, in which case the last syllable is stressed.
Here are a few examples with the stressed syllable in bold: hablar, como, tienen, hotel, común, ciudad.
Alphabet and Pronunciation
|A a||(ah)||Sounds like the a in father|
|B b||(bay)||Pronounced as in English. Softer between vowels.|
|C c||(thay) Spain
(say) latin America
|When followed by a, o or u like the c in can. When followed by e or i like the th in thin in most parts of Spain, but in Latin America like the c in city.|
|D d||(day)||At the beginning of a word like the d in door. Between vowels or at the end of a word can sound more like the th in the.|
|E e||(ay)||Pronounced like ay in day. The letter e is always pronounced in Spanish.|
|F f||(ayfay)||Pronounced as in English.|
|G g||(hay)||Pronounced like in English when followed by "a", "o", or "u". Pronounced like h in help when followed by "e" or "i", but a bit stronger, especially in Spain. In the combination "gu", the "u" is silent when followed by "e" or "i".|
|H h||(ahchay)||Not pronounced.|
|I i||(ee)||Pronounced like "ee" in meet.|
|J j||(hohtah)||Pronounced like "h" in "help", but a bit stronger, especially in Spain.|
|K k||(kah)||Pronounced as in English.|
|L l||(aylay)||Single l pronounced as in English. Double l pronounced like "y" in "yes".|
|M m||(aymay)||Pronounced as in English.|
|N n||(aynay)||Pronounced as in English.|
|Ñ ñ||(aynyay)||Pronounced like "ni" in "onion".|
|O o||(oh)||Pronounced like "o" in "hope".|
|P p||(pay)||Pronounced as in English.|
|Q q||(koo)||Always in the combination "qu". Pronounced like "qu" in "quack" when followed by "a", "o", or "u". Like the "k" in "king" when followd by "i" or "e".|
|R r||(ayray)||Pronounced similar to the "r" in "rapid", but a bit stronger.|
|S s||(aysay)||Pronounced as in English.|
|T t||(tay)||Pronounced as in English.|
|U u||(oo)||Pronounced like "oo" in "moon". Silent in the combinations que (kay) and qui(key).|
|V v||(bay)||Pronounced same as Spanish "b".|
|W w||(bay dohblay)||Only in words of foreign origin. Usually pronounced like "b".|
|X x||(aykees)||Pronounced like "x" in "example". In a few words like spanish "j".|
|Y y||(ee greeaygah)||Pronounced as in English.|
|Z z||(thaytah) Spain
(saytah) latin America
|In most parts of Spain like the "th" in "thin". In Latin America like the "c" in "city".|
Here are a few examples of Spanish pronunciation. In these examples the accented syllable is marked with bold text. Remember that "h" is silent in Spanish. "g" and "j" are pronounced like a strong "h". This tends to be pronounced a bit stronger in Spain than other Spanish speaking countries.
|Buenos dias.||Bwaynohss deeahss||Good day.|
|Me llamo Carlos.||May yahmoh Carlos||My name is Carlos.|
|Los niños juegan.||Los ninyohss hwaygan||The children play|
|Los zapatos son demasiado pequeños.||
Los thahpatos sohn daymahsiahdo paykaynyos (Spain)
Los sahpatos sohn daymahsiahdo paykaynyos (The Americas)
|The shoes are too small.|
|Voy a la tienda.||Boy ah lah teeayndah||I'm going to the store.|