Spanish Pronunciation

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 Spanish Pronunciation Guide

Spanish pronunciation varies from country to country, but if you follow the Spanish pronunciation guide below, you will be understood. Some of the more common regional differences are noted as well, so you can understand the various dialects better when you hear them.

The Spanish "a" is pronounced like the "a" in the word "father." Example : pantalones (pants) is pronounced : pahn-tah-loh-nays

The Spanish "b" (called "be grande" to distinguish it from "ve chica" or Spanish "v," which is very similar) is similar to the English b, but generally softer. Example: bueno (good) is pronounced "bway-noh," and ambos (both) is pronounced "ahm-bohs."

The Spanish "c" has two separate sounds, hard and soft. When appearing in the combinations "ca", "co" and "cu", the hard Spanish "c" closely resembles the English "k" sound. When appearing in the combinations "ce" and "ci", the "c" is softer, like an English "s." Spaniards (in Northen Spain) pronounce this like the "th" in thin, while Latin Americans pronounce it like the "s". Example : casa (house) is pronounced "cah-sah," and cine (movie theater) is pronounced "see-nay."

The Spanish "ch" is pronounced just like the English "ch." Example: chico (boy) is pronounced "chee-koh."

The Spanish "d" is pronounced as in English, except a bit softer between vowels. Example: dar (to give) is pronounced "dahr," and dedo (finger) is pronounced "day-doh." In some regions, the "d" is pronounced almost as a "th" sound, especially between vowels.

The Spanish "e" is most often pronounced like the "a" in the word "date," Example: gente (people) is pronounced "hen-tay."

The Spanish "f" is pronounced as in English. Example: foto (photo) is pronounced "foh-toh."

The Spanish "g" has two separate sounds: a hard sound and an "h" sound. When followed by "a", "o", "u", the hard Spanish "g" is like the English "g". Example: gato (cat) is pronounced "gah-toh." When "g" comes before "e" or "i", it sounds like the "h" in the word "hell". Example: gema (gem) is pronounced "hay-mah."

The Spanish "h" is silent like the "h" in the English word "hour". Example: hola (hello) is pronounced "oh-lah."

The Spanish "i" is pronounced like the "ee" in the words "see," except the sound is shorter. Example: piel (skin) is pronounced "pee-el."

The Spanish "j" is pronounced like the "h" in the word "hot", but more rasping (from deeper in the throat). Example: jueves (Thursday) is pronounced "hway-vays."

The Spanish "k" is pronounced like an English "k". Example: kilo (kilo) is pronounced "kee-loh."

The Spanish "l" is similar to the English "l" in the word "like." Example: luna (moon) is pronounced "loo-nah."

The Spanish "ll" is pronounced like an English "y" and "j" put together. Example: silla (chair) is pronounced "see-jah," except the "j" is softer than in English (this is a tough one). Many dialects pronounce it as a "y" sound. Example: "see-yah." Still others pronounce it like the the "lli" in "million." Example: "seel-yah."

The Spanish "m" is pronounced as in English. Example: mapa (map) is pronounced "mah-pah."

The Spanish "n" is prononced as in English. Example: nota (note) is pronounced "noh-tah."

The Spanish "ñ" is pronounced like the "ny" in the word "canyon." Example: niños (children) is pronounced "nee-nyos."

The Spanish "o" is pronounced like the hard English "o", except that the sound is shorter. Example: sol (sun) is pronounced just like the english word "sole."

The Spanish "p" is pronounced as in English. Example: pollo (chicken) is pronounced "poh-joh."

The Spanish "q" which always appears in combination with the letter "u" (qu) is pronounced like the English "k". Example: queso (cheese) is pronounced "kay-soh."

The Spanish "r" has two separate sounds, niether like the English "r" sound. When it's the first letter of the word, it is trilled like an "rrr" sound. Otherwise, the "r" sounds a little like an English "d." Try it as an "r" sound, but with the tongue tapping the roof of your mouth. Example: pera (pear) is pronounced "peh-rah," but closer to a "d" sound than an "r" sound.

The Spanish "rr" is a vibrating and rolled trilling sound. The single "r" is also pronounced this way when it is the first letter of a word. The "rr" sounds like you are starting your motorcycle: rrrr...rrrrrr....rrr. Example: perro (dog) is pronounced "peh-rrroh."

The Spanish "s" is pronounced as in English. Example: solo (alone) is pronounced "soh-low."

The Spanish "t" sounds like an English "t." Example: tiempo (time) is pronounced "tee-aim-poh."

The Spanish "u" is pronounced like English "oo" in "boot" but the sound is shorter. Example: uno (one) is pronounced "ooh-noh."

The "w" is pronounced like an Eglish "v" when it occurs between vowels, and like the English "w" when it starts a word. It is however, rarely used at all.

The Spanish "x" has three separate sounds. At the beginning of a word it souns like an spanish "s." Example: xilofono (zylophone) is pronounced "see-loh-foh-noh." Between vowels it is pronounced as in English. Example: examen (exam) is pronounced "ex-ah-main." In certain proper nouns and words, it is pronounced like the English "h." Example: Mexico is pronounced "may-hee-coh."

The Spanish "y" sounds like the English "y" and "j" put together. Example: Yo (I) is pronounced "yoh," but with more of a soft "j" sound than a "y" sound ("joh," but not quite.) It is a little closer to the English "y" sound in some countries.

The Spanish "z" is pronounced like a soft English "s." Example: zapato (shoe) is pronounced "sah-pah-toh." In Spain, it is pronounced like the "th" in the English word "think." Example: "thah-pah-toh."

Spanish Diphthongs

ai and ay : Like the "i" in "ride." Example: bailar (to dance) is pronounced "bi-lar."

au : Like the "ou" in "about." Example: auto is pronounced "ou-toh."

ei and ey : Like the "ey" in "grey." Example: buey (ox) is pronounced "bwey."

eu : Pronounced in two parts, combining the English sounds "ay" and "oo." Example: deudas (debts) is pronounced "day-oo-dahs."

oi and oy : Like "oy" in "toy." Example: oir (to listen) is pronounced "oy-eer."

El Alfabeto - The Spanish Alphabet

(Letter, name of letter, and pronunciation)

a
b
c
ch
d
e
f
g
h
i
j
k
l
ll
m
n
ñ
o
p
q
r
rr
s
t
u
v
w
x
y
z
a (ah)
be (bay)
ce (say)
che (chay)
de (day)
e (ay)
efe (ay-fay)
ge (hay)
hache (ah-chay)
i (ee)
jota (ho-tah)
ka/ca (kah)
ele (ay-lay)
elle (ay-jay)
eme (ay-may)
ene (ay-nay)
eñe (ay-nyay)
o (oh)
pe (pay)
cu (coo)
ere (ay-ray)
erre (ay-rrray)
ese (ay-say)
te (tay)
u (ooh)
ve (vay)
dobleve (doh-blay-vay)
equis (ay-keese)
ye (jhay)
zeta
 (say-tah)

 

 

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