Have you ever wondered how Spanish is pronounced? Do you want to read a text and being able to read it well? Well, if the answers of those questions are yes, continue reading because you are finally going to learn the rules that let you pronounce like a native speaker. Are you ready?
The phonetic alphabet
Let's start having a look at how we prononce the alphabet. As you may know, the alphabet in Spanish is exactly the same than in English, with the exception of the letter ñ, that goes between the n and the o. However, the way we read the letters and the combinations of some of them may highly differ, so listen carefully.
- A [a]
- B [b] [β]. The pronunciation of this letter is exactly the same than in English
- C. The combination of c with a, o, u (ca, co, cu) will give the pronunciation of /k/
- The combination of c with e and i (ce, ci) will have the phoneme /θ/. Take into account that the pronunciation /θ/ only occurs in Spain as in Latin American Countries they prononce ce, ci as /s/
- The combination of c with h (ch) gives the sound /ch/
- G. The combination of g with a, o, u (ga, go, gu) has the phoneme /g/. It has exactly the same sound that gue, gui where we don't pronounce the u. (Be careful because if we have two points on the u (güe) we will prononce the u.
- However, when we combine g with e and i, (ge, gi) the sound changes completely as we get the phoneme /x/
- H / /. This letter is never pronounced
- I /i/
- J /x/. It has the same sound than g when we combine it with e and i
- K /k/
- L /l/. It is the same than English. Moreover, if we put two together (ll) the sound is /ʎ/
- M /m/
- N /n/
- Ñ [ɲ]. It sounds similar than ni
- O /o/
- P /p/
- Q /k/. It is always together with u (qu) and the pronunciation is the sound that gives (ca,co, cu) without pronouncing the u.
- R /r̄/. If the r goes at the beginning of a word, between a consonant and a vowel, or we see two rr writen between two vowels the sound is strong. Try to move your tongue and vibrate it behind your teeth to get this phoneme. (Ej: Ratón, perro)
- If we see a single r between two vowels the sound it is always going to be soft /r/. (Ej: aro)
- S /s/. It has the same sound than ce ci in Latin America
- T /t/
- U /u/
- V [b]. It has the same sound than b
- W /b/ It is like the sound b or v or it has the same sound than in English /w/
- X . It has the combination of the sounds /k/ and /s/
- Y /ʎ/. It has the same pronunciation than ll
- Z /θ/. It has the same pronunciation than the combination of c and e or i (ce, ci). The sound changes again if we are in any latin american country as we will prononce it as/s/
And that's all! If you follow those rules you will always prononce Spanish perfectly and you will be able to write well too! We promise! Did you like the post? Share it with your friends