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Spanish Alphabet

El Alfabeto

The alphabet (alfabeto)was named after the Greek letters alpha and beta a and b that it begins with. The Phoenicians designed it and invented the alphabetic writing, but it was Cadmo from Phoenicia who took it to Greece and passed it onto the Romans, who transmitted it to the European languages. 

The alphabet and its form, content, names and pronunciation  had, as the Spanish language, many changes through its evolution. Originally from Latin, Greek and Arabic, the Spanish alphabet took some letters and combinations of them to support the blend of languages, overall, when having to adapt to the language of the natives. An example of this is the letter X becoming important to support indigenous words; also with time the form of the letter V changed into U but the V remained as another letter, too.     

The pronunciation of single letters

The following chart shows the current alphabet. Read carefully.

- The first column has the symbol or what we know as letter.
- The pronunciation
 of the name of the letter, in Spanish, is in the second column.
- The third column has a guide to the sound of the letter considering a similar English sound as a preparatory starting point. This means that the sound will be very close to the one emitted in English.
To make a real sound you may need to open your mouth at the same time that you let the air and sound flow strongly.
- The fourth column shows words in English that have a similar sound in English to the sound in Spanish.
- The fifth column has an example of a word in Spanish with a letter in turn. The parenthesis shows a representation of how to read and pronounce the Spanish word written above.

      Use this chart to practice, review and learn the sound of each letter.

The Alphabet

Listen how to pronounce it

 mp3

Letter

Name of the letter (pronunciation)

 Letter Sound

Similar English Pronunciation

Example

A

ah

ah

Same as English.

bat

Arco

(Ahr-koh)

B

beh

v

Same as

bus

Barco

(Bahr-koh)

C

seh

k

Same as a strong "k"

Before "a", "o", "u"

Casa

(Kahr-sa)

s

Before "e" or "i" sounds like 

Center 

 In some parts of Spain same as "th"

that 

Circo

(seer-koh)

 

Centro

(then-tro)

CH

cheh

ch

Same as

Chance

Chico

(chee-koh)

D

deh

 

Same as

Donut

Dedo

(deh-doh)

E

eh

eh

Same as a long a

Day

Seco

(Seh-koh)

F

ehfe

 

Same as

Fish

Foco

(foh-coh)

G

heh

g

Sounds like g  before "a", "o" or "u"

Gas

Gato

(gah-toh)

h

sounds like h before "e" or "i" 

General

Gente

(Hehn-te)

H

acheh

silent

No sound

Huevo

(oo-e-voh)

I

ee

ee

Long ee sound

teeth

Risa

(rree-sah)

J

jotah

h

Same as "h"

hat

justicia

joos-tee-seeah

K

kah

k

Same as "k"

Kilo

kilo

kee-loh

L

eleh

l

Same as "l"

Last

lupa

loo-pah

LL

ehjeh

y

Same as "y" 

Yatch

llanto

yahn-toh

M

ehmeh

m

Same as "m" 

Mother

Mam

mah-mah

N

ehneh

n

Same as "n"

 Name

nombre

nohm-breh

eieh

ny

Same as "ny" 

Canyon

nio

nee-nyoh

O

oh

oh

Long o

Horse

Foco

(Foh-koh)

P

peh

P

Same as "p"

Patch

Papa

(pah-pah)

Q

(qu)

Coo

 

k

Same as "k", useful only before "e" or "i"

Ketchup

Qu

(keh)

R

ereh

r

Same as "r" if there is only one r

Three

 

If written at the beginning of the word, with strong r

 

Barco

(Bahr-koh)

 

 

Rosa

(rroh-sah)

RR

Doble ereh

rr

With a strong r

Perro

(Peh-rroh)

S

ehseh

s

Same as "s" 

Sand

sanda

(sahn-dee-ah)

T

teh

t

Same as "t"

Tent

taco

(tah-coh)

U

oo

oo

Double "o"

Look

Usar

oo-sahr

V

oobeh

b

Same as a soft "v"

Vector

vector

(vehk-tohr)

W

doble-beh

w

Same as "w"

Oswald

Oswaldo

(Ohs-wahl-doh)

X

Eh-kiss

S,

 

cks

 

sh

  • Similar to s

 

  • Similar to cks before a vowel

 

  • Similar to sh

Xochitl

(Soh-chee-tl)

 

examen

(eks-ah-mehn)

 

xocolatl

(xoh-coh-lah-tl)

Y

eegreeehga

Y

 

 

e

When in a word same as "y"

Yes

 

If alone then same as ee

Eel

yoyo

(yoh-yoh)

 

y

(ee)

 

Z

sehtah

S

 

 

C

 

 

th

Same as "s"

Sounds like "See"  
(in Latin America)

 

Same as "c" before "e" and "i"

 

Same as "th"
(in Spain)

Thin

 

Zapato

(sah-pah-toh)

   

zig-zag

(cig-zag)

 

Zimbabue

(thim-bah-bueh)

 

 

   
     

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