Th e S pa nis h p A l h ab e t (El alfabeto espaol) a (a) Like the a in father, but shorter Examples: ms nada casa pasa
maana encantada Note: In this presentation, all vowels will be circled. b (be) The Spanish b is similar to the English b when initial (pronounced at the beginning of a phrase) or after the letters m or n. Bailo con Mara. Hablan bien.
el medio ambiente un banco It is softer, allowing some air to pass through the lips, when intervocalic (located between vowels). No bailo bien. Iberia. Note: Also see v. c
(ce) The Spanish c has two distinct sounds, depending on its environment, that is, how it is located with respect to certain vowels. The next slide provides more details. c=k . . . before the following three vowels casa
copa cura In Spain, the c before Unlike the English k sound, the hard Spanish c is not aspirated, that is, no air is expelled when it is pronounced. e or i is pronounced th c=s . . . before the following two vowels
"thero" cero circo "thirco" * * ch (che) Until 1994, ch was a separate letter in Spanish, and words that began with this letter were found in a separate ch section in the dictionary after the section containing words beginning with c. It is
pronounced like the English ch. charro chimichanga muchacho chica d (de)
The Spanish d is similar to the English d but is pronounced with the tongue farther forward against the upper teeth. When initial or after the letters n or l, it is harder; when intervocalic, it is a bit softer, much like the voiced th sound in the English word they. Daniel es mi hermano. Buena idea! andar nada (e)
e Like the e in they, but without the y glide es tres mesa deporte interesante Mxico f (efe) The Spanish f is essentially identical
to the English f. Fernando telfono flan frente g (ge) The Spanish g has three distinct sounds, depending on its environment. The next two slides provide more details. g = g in "gap" . . . before the following three
vowels at the beginning of a phrase or after the letter n. In other cases, such as when intervocalic, the g is softer, somewhat like the g in sugar, before these three vowels. gato gota gusto tengo pagar lago igual
g = h in "harp" . . . before the following two vowels gemelo gitano h (hache) The h is always completely silent. hotel hospital alcohol
Hablo espaol. i (i) Like the ee in teeth or the i in machine, but shorter mi libro inteligente nio tmido rico
j (jota) The j is pronounced in all cases like the soft g, that is, much like an h in English. In some areas, particularly Spain, the jota is pronounced more crisply, with a somewhat harsh or guttural sound. Jos hijo jarra atajo
k (ka) The k is a letter borrowed from Greek and is found only in words borrowed from other languages. The k is not aspirated in Spanish. kilogramo karate whisky l (ele)
The l is pronounced with the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge as in English; however, the tongue is held straight rather than slightly curled. alveolar ridge lotera Lalo azul * *
ll (elle) Until 1994, ll, like ch, was a separate letter in Spanish, and words that began with this letter were listed separately in the dictionary. See the next slide for more information. ll (elle) The ll is pronounced like the English y.
calle = caye In Spain, it was formerly pronounced as ly, and some conservative, older speakers still use this pronunciation. calle = calye m (eme) The m is pronounced essentially like its English counterpart.
mam amor mole mensaje n (ene) The n is pronounced very much like its English counterpart. nada
Nora Elena mquina Before the consonants b, p, and v, the n is pronounced like an m. un beso un vaso un perro
* * (ee) After the changes to the Spanish alphabet in 1994, the is the one letter that still does not appear in the English alphabet. It is pronounced like the ni combination in the word onion. nio maana
ao bao o (o) Like the o in hope, but without the glide mono perro yo no
p (pe) The p is unlike the English p in that the latter is aspirated, that is, a puff of air is expelled after the lips separate. In Spanish, we hold back the air, avoiding the pop that is heard in English. Pablo pap pata
ropa q (cu) The q is always followed by u, as in English, except for a few foreign words such as Iraq, although this word can also be spelled Irak, since the sound of q is essentially identical to that of k. Like the p and [k] sounds, the q is not aspirated. queso pequeo
quilate quien r The intervocalic, embedded (that is, non-word-initial) r involves a single tap of the tongue against the alveolar ridge. The result is a sound much like the dd in the name Eddie.
(ere) pero Mara arena Eddie * rr (A single letter previous to 1994) *
With the rr, or double r, the tongue is positioned just as with the single r, except that it is held there briefly and allowed to flap, creating the rolling effect. Note: (erre) perro barrio derrota
alrededor en realidad rosa The single r is rolled more like the rr after l and n. When initial, the r is rolled exactly like the rr. rubio s (ese) The s is essentially like the English s in most of the Spanish-speaking world.
s peso casa sabroso t (te) The t is similar to the English t except that it is, again, more dental. The tongue is brought forward against the upper teeth much as with the d. Like
the p and [k] sounds, the t is not aspirated. t Tito tamal patata u (u) Like the u in the name Lulu, but shorter The important thing to remember about the u is that it has no initial
y sound as in English. When we pronounce the word union, for instance, we actually say yunion. Leave the y sound off in Spanish. unin inusual universidad comunidad v (ve) (uve)
In all environments, the v is identical in pronunciation to the b. Voy contigo envidia Eva lavar Since the b and the v sound exactly alike, we often distinguish between them by one of the following methods.
b (be grande) (b de burro) v (ve chica) (v de vaca) (doble ve w (uve dob (doble u) The w is a letter borrowed from English and is found
only in words borrowed from other languages. whisky wlter wter (closet) x (equis) The x is pretty much as in English. examen exacto
auxilio However, in words derived from indigenous languages, it is like a j when intervocalic . . . Mxico mixe . . . and like an s when initial. Xochimilco
y (i griega) The y, when word-final, acts as a semivowel, that is, it has a sound similar to the vowel i. Voy rey When word-initial or intervocalic, it functions as a consonant and sounds like the y in English. ya rayo
z (zeta) The z has two distinct sounds, depending on geography. The next slide provides more details. In the Americas z=s In all cases
zapato ("sapat In Spain z = th In all cases ("thapa Fin
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