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Recognizing Letters and Sounds in the Spanish Alphabet
As you are now familiar with the everyday greetings in Spanish, you can start learning the Spanish alphabet. You must know how each letter is called, and the sound it produces.
The Spanish alphabet is composed of 30 letters. However, Spanish sounds are more than the total number of letters, as there are instances that a letter is pronounced in various ways according to its position in a word.
In addition, each letter has a name different from the ABC’s of English. The table below will show you how each letter in Spanish is called, how each one of them is pronounced, and some examples for practice.
Alphabet Name Pronounce It! Examples
A a [ah] /ah/ as in English other, shut, son alto ‘tall’
B b [beh] /b/ as in English boy, about, crib bien ‘good’
C c [theh] /k/ as in English cup, rocky, milk cuatro ‘four’
when followed by the vowels a, o, u [kwat-ro]
/th/ as in English thin, Catherine, math cinco ‘five’
when followed by the vowels e, I [thing-ko]
Ch ch [cheh] /ch/ as in English child, Richard, beach chica ‘girl’
D d [deh] /d/ as is English doll, idea, glad donde ‘where’
when used in the start of a word or syllable [don-de]
/th/ as is then, mother, breathe nada ‘nothing’
when placed in between vowels in a word [na-dha]
E e [eh] /eh/ as in English enter, let, said estado ‘state’
Speed Spanish Course 24/12/2007
F f [eh-feh] /f/ as in English fan, raffle, wife falso ‘false’
G g [keh] /g/ as in English gift, beagle, dog gordo ‘fat’
when followed by the vowels a, o, u [gor-do]
gargled /k/ asin German Bach when gente ‘person’
followed by the vowels e, I [khen-te]
H h [ah-cheh] the letter h is not pronounced in Spanish hasta ‘until’
words making it a silent letter [as-ta]
I I /i/ as in English income, hit, pity ídolo ‘idol’
J j [hoh-tah] gargled /k/ as in German Bach jabón ‘soap’
K k [kah] /k/ as in English kite, wacky, silk kilo ‘kilo’
L l [eh-leh] /l/ as in English light, blame, ball lapiz ‘pencil’
Ll ll [eh-lyeh] /ly/ as in English galleon llover ‘rain’
M m [eh-meh] /m/ as in English money, summit, tame mal ‘bad’
N n [eh-neh] /n/ as in English net, tiny, green norte ‘north’
Ñ ñ [eh-nyeh] /ny/ as in English canyon, onion ñaque ‘junk’
O o [oh] /o/ as in English Auckland, saw, decor obra ‘work’
P p [peh] /p/ as in English party, happy, leap pato ‘duck’
Q q [kuh] /k/ as in English kite, wacky, silk quema ‘fire’
Speed Spanish Course 24/12/2007
R r [eh-reh] /r/ as in English roll, mark, lyre robo ‘robbery’
Rr rr [ehr-reh] /r/ with a roll of the tongue; hard /r/ correr ‘to run’
S s [eh-seh] /s/ as in English son, daisy, office salsa ‘sauce’
T t [teh] /t/ as in English time, later, belt taza ‘cup’
U u [uh] /u/ as in English put, book, push único ‘single’
V v [uh-veh] /v/ as in English vase, lava, have vaca ‘cow’
when used in the start of a word or syllable [va-ka]
soft /b/ when placed in between vowels ave ‘bird’
W w [uh-veh /w/ as in English whale, lower, show wáter ‘toilet’
do-ble] [wa-ter]
X x [eh-kis] gargled /k/ as in German Bach when Xavier (name)
used in the start of a word [khav-yer]
/ks/ as in English taxi, box, fix when ***to ‘sixth’
placed insidea word [seks-to]
Y y [i-gri-yeh-gah] /y/ as in English yoyo, boy, Sunday yate ‘yacth’
/i/ as in English receive, cream, ski when
used as the conjunction y ‘and’
Z z [zeh-tah] /z/ as in English zebra, lazy, buzz zona ‘zone’
To summarize, sounds not present or are very minimal in the English language but are common in Spanish includes /ch/, /th/, gargled /k/ of German, /ly/, /ny/, /rr/, and the soft /b/. Meanwhile, the letter h is common in the written language of Spanish, but is not pronounced verbally unless it belongs to the /ch/ sound.
As this day ends, you should now be able to recite the 30 letters of the Spanish alphabet using the names they are called (ah, beh, theh, etc.), distinguish the different sounds made by some letters like c, d, g, v, x, and y according to certain conditions, and cite some examples where all letters and sounds can be observed.