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The Spanish Alphabet

Spanish Alphabet Pronunciation

Practice the alphabet in Spanish with us. Are you learning Spanish? Here you can find information about the Spanish alphabet and its pronunciation.

One of the first things that we must learn while studying the Spanish alphabet is the pronunciation of each symbol, known as letters. A letter is the graphic representation, or symbol, of the phonemes of a certain language. Phonemes are sets of sounds distinguished by speakers of a particular language.

The Spanish language is derived from ancient Latin and therefore the Spanish alphabet and Latin alphabet have much in common. The letters of the Spanish alphabet are represented as 27 symbols: A, B, C, CH, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, LL, M, N, Ñ, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z. The grouped letters “CH” and “LL” are digraphs (two successive letters that represent a single sound) pronounced /ĉ/ and /ʎ/.

The letters “K” and “W” are scarcely used in Spanish and are usually only found in foreign or learned words that have been incorporated into Spanish alphabet in modern times.

The symbol “Ñ” represents the palatal nasal sound /ɲ/ in the Spanish alphabet. This sound, which exists in Romance languages, is represented in other languages with digraphs. This phoneme appears as “nh” in Portuguese, “gn” in French, and “ny” in Catalan.

The “Q” is always accompanied by the “U.” In this combination, the latter is always silent and never pronounced, producing a /K/ sound that is found in “QU + E” and “QU + I” combinations. Examples: qué, quién and queso.

The “C” symbol is associated with two phonemes in Spanish alphabet pronunciation. If the letter is accompanied by A, O or U, the sound is /K/ which is plosive, velar and voiceless. If accompanied by E or I, the sound produced is /θ/ which is fricative, dental and voiceless.

One of the letters in the Spanish alphabet with a unique sound is the “J,” which represents the /X/ phoneme. The sound is phonetically defined as fricative, velar, and voiceless. The “J” is generally accompanied by the A, O or U, but there are some exceptions to this rule such as the word for giraffe: jirafa.

The “G” also graphically represents 2 phonemes in Spanish pronunciation: the /X/ sound if accompanied by the E or I, and the /G/ sound if accompanied by A, O or U. Additionally, if the “G” appears as GUE or GUI, the U is silent and the sounds are pronounced as /GE/ and /GI/.

The vowel system in Spanish is quite simple and straight forward. There are 5 vowels: A, E, I, O and U that always represent the same sounds except for in the exceptions mentioned previously in which the U becomes silent in combination with the G and the Q.

Practice the alphabet in Spanish with us! Here you can find more information about the Spanish alphabet and the Spanish alphabet pronunciation.