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The Letter X

The Letter X in Spanish

EQUIS. Represents a compound consonant sound (GS/KS)

Origen of the letter:
From the Latin X. In old Spanish, it represented a sound like the English SH, which evolved to an unvoiced fricative velar (J).

Example of usage:

The X in Spanish

X is the twenty-fifth letter of the Spanish alphabet. In Spanish it is called “equis”. Its shape, name and phonetic value comes from Latin, which came from Greek, and finally from an Egyptian hieroglyph.

The letter “X” represents a compound consonant made up of the voiced /g/ or unvoiced /k/ sounds, followed by the /s/, as in “examen” and “éxito”. If the letter is followed by a consonant, the sound is reduced to “S”, as in “excepto”. However, in some Latin American countries this rule is not followed, and an “X” is pronounced as “ks”. In old Castilian the letter represented a sound which is similar to the English “sh” or the French “ch”, a sound which over time evolved to be represented by the letter J.

In the words of Nahuatl origin, the “X” is pronounced as “S”, like in “Xochimilco” or “Xochitl”, as “J”, like in Mexico or Oaxaca or also as “sh”, like in “Xocoyote” or “Xixiote”. Today, words that start with “X”, like “Xeroftalmia”, originate from Greek.