Section I: Introduction

Topic 2 The Alphabet

Guide to Pronunciation

The Spanish alphabet is very similar to the English alphabet with the exception of ñ. The pronunciation of each letter is precise, and the pronunciation of the words is produced by adding the sounds of each individual letter.

 

The Vowels

A a Like in banana

E e Like in olé

I i Like in Indiana

O o Like in loco

U u Like in Urugüay

EXCEPTIONS

C c celery and cilantro

G g hello and history

H h silent

J (h) hi!

ll (y) yes

ñ (ny) canyon

qu (k) king

v (b) burro

z (s) sail

Letra Nombre Ejemplos
A a Panamá, Caracas
B be Bogotá, Bolivia
C ce (before a, o, or u like the English {k}:) Cancún, Colombia
(before e or i like the English {s}:) celery, cilantro
Ch che Chile, Machu Pichu
D de domingo, diciembre
E e Ecuador, enero
F efe febrero
G ge (before a, o, or u like the English {g}:) gato, Gustavo, Gómez

(before e or i like the English {h}:) generoso, Gibraltar

H hache Honduras, hermano (SILENT)
I i isla, invierno
J jota {h} junio, jueves
K ka kayak, kiwi
L ele lunes, Lima
Ll elle quesadilla, llave
M eme marzo, mayo
N ene noviembre, norte
Ñ eñe España, niño
O o octubre,  otoño
P pe Perú, primavera
Q cu (only in combinations of QUE or QUI) qué, quién
R ere Rosa,  república
S ese sábado, septiembre
T te tener, tú,
U u universo, universidad
V ve (like the English {b}:) viernes, verano
W doble v (only in words of foreign origin like:) Washington, William
X equis (like the English x:) México
Y ye Yo, Yolanda
Z zeta (like the English {s}:) azul, zona

Cognates and Pronunciation Practice

Practícalo

Some words in Spanish are long and might have some letters combinations that you are not familiar or are not found in the English language.

Syllables are important for knowing how the letters combine together for correct pronunciation, as well as when a word may need an orthographic accent or not.

As often as possible, create each syllable with a consonant followed by a vowel.

sá’-ba-do

ma’-no

ca’-ra

The cognates* list below, will facilitate the pronunciation in Spanish and help you identify some words you already know from their English counterparts.

*Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar meaning, spelling, and pronunciation.

 

fa-bu-lo-so de-li-ci-o-so
ma-ra-vi-llo-so ner-vi-o-so
mag-ní-fi-co es-tú-pi-do
cu-ri-o-so re-li-gi-o-so
po-pu-lar fu-ri-o-so
fan-tás-ti-co a-par-ta-men-to

Practícalo

What is the most important name in the world?

Write your first name and look for the name of each letter.

Spell your name in Spanish.

Ejemplo: ¿Como te llamas? Me llamo Anita. A-ene-i-te-a. ¿Cómo te llamas?