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Home » Language Resources » Spanish Alphabet » Letter Q

The Letter Q

The Letter Q in Spanish

CU. Occlusive velar unvoiced consonant sound. Used together with the vowels 'U', 'E' and 'I'.

Origen of the letter:
From the Latin 'Q' which is from the Phoenician Qoph

Example of usage:
Queso

The Q in Spanish

Q, the eighteenth letter of the Spanish alphabet, from the Latin, the Greek and the Phoenician letter Qoph, which was in turn developed from an Egyptian hieroglyphic. In the Semitic languages, the Qoph represents an explosive sound, very different from the less energetic Greek consonant.

In the romance languages and other modern languages, the letter “Q” always precedes the letter “U” except in the transcripts of the Semitic qoph, as in the word “Iraq” from which the word “Iraqi” evolved. Although in written Spanish, as in other languages, spelling varies from “Iraq” to “Irak”, the Royal Spanish Academy recommends “Irac” as the correct spelling.

In Spanish, the letter is called CU and, as in the rest of the Latin languages, the letter combination “QU” is only used in conjunction with the vowels “E” and “I” as in the Spanish words: “queso”, “pequeño”, “quien” and “mantequilla”. It has the same consonant sound as the letter “C” when placed before the vowels, “A”, “O” and “U”.