Spanish Alphabet and Pronunciation Guide

 

Letters not listed have the same sounds as their English equivalents.   They include:  b, ch, f, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, w

a          pronounced like the “a” in “yacht”

c          pronounced like the “c” in “car” when followed by an “a”, “o” or “u”, and pronounced like the “c” in

“censor” when followed by “e” or “i”

d          pronounced like the “d” in “dog”, except when it is placed between two vowels in which case it is

pronounced like the “th” in “think”

e          pronounced like the “e” in “met” and the “a” in  “take”…somewhat of a blend of the two ssounds.

g          pronounced like the “g” in “goose” when followed by an “a”, “o” or “u”; however, “gue” is pronounced

like the word “gay” and “gui” is pronounced like the “gee” in the word “geek”, additionally, pronounced like the “h” in “house” when followed by an “e” or “i”

 

h          not pronounced in Spanish; it is always silent, except when it follows a “c”

i           pronounced like the “e” in “Pete” 

j           pronounced like the “h” in “house”

ll          pronounced like the “y” in “yell”
 
ñ          pronounced like the first “n” in “onion” or “canyon”

o          pronounced like the “o” in “tote”

q          pronounced like the “q” in “queen” and usually only ever followed by “ui” or “ue”, thus “que” is

pronounced like the word “kay” and “qui” is pronounced like the word “key”

r           pronounced like the “r” in “rope”, except when it comes between two vowels in which case it is

pronounced like the “d” in “dog”, when it starts a word it is rolled or trilled, and also at the end of a

word in some dialects.

rr         this is a trilled or rolled “r” sound

u          pronounced like the “u” in “flute”

v          pronounced like the “b” in “boy”
 
x          pronounced like the “x” in “examine” when it is followed by a vowel, and it is pronounced like the"s" in the word

"sir" when followed by a consonant, and finally it is pronounced like the Spanish "J" when used in proper names

(México, Javier, Texas, Oaxaca)

y          pronounced like the Spanish “i” and/or the Spanish “ll”

z           pronounced like the Spanish “s”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strong vowels/weak vowels/dipthongs

A, E, and O are considered the strong vowels in Spanish  and  U and I are considered the weak vowels in Spanish

 

A dipthong is when two vowels come together in a word, meaning they are side by side.

A dipthong is considered one syllable, and cannot be split into two syllables unless the following conditions exist:

 

                 1.  The diphthong consists of two strong vowels

 

                 2.  The diphthong consists of a strong vowel and a weak vowel, which has an accent mark.

 

The possible diphthong combinations which result in a one syllable, blended sound are as follows:

 

AI / AY            SOUNDS LIKE THE  "I" IN THE WORD "TIME"

AU                   SOUNDS LIKE THE "OW" IN THE WORD "NOW"

EI / EY             SOUNDS LIKE THE "A" IN THE WORD "DATE"

EU                   SOUNDS LIKE THE "E" IN THE WORD "MET" FOLLOWED BY THE "OO" SOUND IN THE WORD "TOO"

OI / OY            SOUNDS LIKE THE "OY" IN THE WORD "TOY"

OU                   SOUNDS LIKE THE "OW" IN THE WORD "BLOW"

IA / YA            SOUNDS LIKE THE "YA" IN THE WORD "YACHT

IE / YE             SOUNDS LIKE THE "YE" IN THE WORD "YET"

IO / YO            SOUNDS LIKE THE "YO" IN THE WORD "YOGA"

IU / YU            SOUNDS LIKE THE ENGLISH WORD "YOU"

UA                   SOUNDS LIKE THE "WA" IN THE WORD "WATT"

UE                   SOUNDS LIKE THE "WA" IN THE WORD "WAIT"

UI                    SOUNDS LIKE THE "WEE" IN THE WORD "WEEK"

UO                   SOUNDS LIKE THE "UO" IN THE WORD "QUOTA"

 

 

Rules for spoken stress:

1. If a word ends in a vowel, “n” or “s”, the spoken stress goes on the next to the last syllable.

2. If a word ends in a consonant, except “n” or “s”, the spoken stress goes on the last syllable.

3. If a word does not follow rule #1 or #2, it has an accent mark which will indicate where to place the spoken stress

 

Tripthongs:

 

A tripthong is a combination of a stressed strong vowel in between two weak vowels, forming a single syllable.  Only four combinations exist in Spanish:

 

1.         IAI       SOUNDS LIKE THE "YI" IN THE WORD "YIPE"                  EX:  ESTUDIÁIS

2.         IEI       SOUNDS LIKE THE WORD "YEA" (RHYMES W/ "WAY")   EX:  ESTUDIÉIS

3.         UAI OR UAY   SOUNDS LIKE THE WORD "WHY"                         EX:  CONTINUÁIS / PARAGUAY

4.         UEI OR UEY   SOUNDS LIKE THE WORD "WAY"                          EX:  CONTINUÉIS / BUEY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nombre:______________________________________________________   Fecha: _____________________________

 

 

 

Direcciones:  Write the number of syllables each word has on the line provided.  Then circle the syllable that receives the spoken stress.


___ mira                                                                                               ___ silla

 

___ lápiz                                                                                               ___ gracias

 

___ estudiar                                                                                          ___ español

 

___ adiós                                                                                              ___ secretaria

 

___ estás                                                                                              ___ hospital

 

___ bien                                                                                               ___ mesa 

 

___ libro                                                                                               ___ accidente                                                                                      

___ mal                                                                                                ___ problema 

 

___ si                                                                                                  ___ ¿Comprende?

 

___ cansado                                                                                         ___ guacamole 

 

___ estoy                                                                                             ___ sin

 

___ escritorio                                                                                        ___ señorita

___  frijoles                                                                                          ___  jalapeños

 

___  tortilla                                                                                           ___  arroz

 

___  flauta                                                                                            ___  burrito

 

___  mariscos                                                                                       ___  terciopelo

 

___  cuaderno                                                                                       ___  mochila

 

___  pluma                                                                                           ___  maletín

 

___  jefe                                                                                               ___  gerente

 

___  coche                                                                                           ___  motocicleta

___  trabajamos                                                                                                ___  lección

 

___  estudian                                                                                        ___  borrador