Spanish lesson #1
Pronunciation of Spanish words
Pronunciation of Spanish is very consistent (apart from a handful of loanwords) and fairly easy for native English speakers.
First the vowels.
Aa Ee Ii Oo Uu
A makes the same sound as the first ‘o’ in ‘octagon’ and the ‘a’ in ‘Iran’. It’s often shown as ‘ah’.
E is pronounced as a long ‘a’ such as the ‘a’ in ‘a’ or ‘scrape’.
I is pronounced as a long ‘e’ such as in ‘scream’ or ‘weave’.
O is pronounced as a long ‘o’ such as in ‘oak’ or ‘over’.
U is pronounced like a long ‘u’ or a double o such as in ‘vacuum’ or ‘soon’.
The Spanish language has four letters that are not present in English. Ll (called ‘elle’) which is pronounced the same as ‘y’. Rr (erre) which is the rolled r sound. Ch (che) which is pronounced as in chicken. And finally ñ (eñe) which is pronounced like an ‘n’ and a ‘y’ shoved together.
Now, ‘y’ and ‘ll’ are generally pronounced as in the English word ‘yellow’ they are also sometimes pronounced as in the ‘j’ in ‘jam’. Generally they are pronounced as a y however and most speakers use that pronunciation. In some parts of South America it’s pronounced as ‘sh’. In some isolated communities ‘ll’ is pronounced like the English letters ‘li’ however. (Thanks to for that last part)
W is very rare in Spanish and exists only in a few loanwords
V and B have similar pronunciations in Spanish and some speakers pronounce both like v or both like b. (ie, I have heard ‘vamos’ pronounced as ‘bamos’ and ‘bebida’ as ‘vevida’)
J is pronounced as in an English ‘h’. (Jalapeño is halapeño)
H is not pronounced.
G is pronounced like an English hard g or an h. C can also be pronounced hard or soft. Trust me, you’ll know when. Two c’s in a row are pronounced like ‘ks’ in English.
Q is pronounced like a ‘k’ in English and is always followed by an unpronounced ‘u’. (Lloriqueó is llorikeo)
S and z are pronounced as in an English ‘s’. However, in Spain there is a common pronunciation called the ‘Castilian lisp’ where they are pronounced more like a ‘th’.
Stress! If a word ends in a vowel or the letter ‘n’ or ‘s’ the stress will be on the second to last syllable. (The word ‘estas’ is pronounced as Estas)
If the last letter is any other consonant, it will be on the last syllable.(Azul)
If the word has an accent mark, that denotes where the stress is placed. (estás is estAs)
The Spanish alphabet goes as follows
A (ah) B (be) C (se) Ch (che) D (de) E (e) F (efe) G (ge (soft g)) H (ahcha) I (i) J (jota) K (kah) L (ele) Ll (elle) M (eme) N (ene) Ñ (eñe) O (o) P (pe) Q (qu) R (ere) Rr (erre) S (ese) T (te) U (u) V (ve) W (can be called ‘doble-v’, ‘doble-u’ or ‘doble-uve’) X (ekis) Y (i griega) Z (ceta)
Here’s a little song for the alphabet
This might be the last one for a while because I’m a mess