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Overview of the Spanish Alphabet

Overview of the Spanish Alphabet

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Recognize the dialectical differences between the English and Spanish alphabets.

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what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn the letters in the Spanish alphabet so that you can be on your way toward pronouncing Spanish words correctly. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
  1. El Alfabeto Español (the Spanish Alphabet)

1. El Alfabeto Español (The Spanish Alphabet)

The following chart presents each letter of the Spanish alphabet on the left, with its corresponding pronunciation on the right. Letters with an asterisk are pronounced the same in Spanish as they are in English.

Letter Sound
a ah
b* as in English
c* s (soft) before an "e" or "i;" k (hard) before any other vowel; "cc" is pronounced "ks"
ch (one letter) ch
d softer than in English in the middle or at the end (in some dialects like "th" at middle or end)
e ay
f* as in English
g h (soft) before an "e" or "i;" g (hard) before other vowels
h always silent
i ee
j h
k* as in English
l* as in English
ll (one letter) y
m* as in English
n* as in English
ñ ny
o oh
p* as in English
q k (never kw)
r like "dd" in "ladder;" trilled/repeated at the beginning of a word
rr (one letter) trilled/repeated
s* as in English
t softer than in English in the middle or at the end
u oo
v like a "b"
w* as in English
x ks before vowels; s before consonants
y ee as a vowel; as in English as a consonant
z s

Note that ch, ll, and rr are no longer considered official letters of the Spanish alphabet; however, many Spanish speakers treat them as such.

For the most part, Spanish sounds as it looks. Each vowel has the same pronunciation in every situation. There are only three stress rules in Spanish. By contrast, a book on English pronunciation contains a section on English stress rules which is 35 pages long! Once you have learned the sounds and rules presented in this section, you will be able to pronounce any word in Spanish!

In this lesson, you learned all of the letters that make up the Spanish alphabet. Understanding the correct pronunciation of each letter is essential to proficient communication in the Spanish language. Don't get discouraged if your pronunciation isn't perfect yet. The next two lessons will break down vowels and consonants to provide opportunities for more targeted pronunciation practice.

¡Buena suerte!


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Source: This content has been adapted from "Spanish for Nurses" by Stephanie Langston.