Instructora Señora Raquel,
B.A. Romance Languages, UGA
Classes Held in Columbus, GA
Say Hola to Spanish!
Use this guide as a beginner's approximation of the Spanish sound system. Students will be bringing home books to read with their parents during this school year, so it will be invaluable for both parents and students as a reference.
Adapted from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Thebes/6177/ws-pronun.html, sounds provided by Señora Raquel
The sounds on this page do not represent Castilian Spanish pronunciation (the Spanish spoken in Spain), but rather Latin American pronunciations more prevalent in the Americas.
Click on the Spanish words to hear them spoken (The first one will take a while to open your sound software, but after that they will load quickly if you leave your software open).
• A -- always pronounced ah, as in father
(Spanish example: gracias)
• E -- always pronounced as a short e, as in best, ten, dress
(Spanish example: inglés)
• I -- always pronounced ee, as in feet, wheel, bee
(Spanish example: si)
• O -- always pronounced as a short o, as in doctor, but with the lips a little more rounded. It is always a pure vowel with no trace of the u sound (diphthong) which is present in the English pronunciation of 'no'.
(Spanish example: doctor)
• U -- always pronounced oo, as in fool, pool.
(Spanish example: uno)
• B -- Similar to the English 'b' but less plosive; between vowels it is pronounced very softly so that the lips touch only slightly.
(Spanish example: bebida)
• C -- As in English, before a, o and u it is pronounced as a K, as in can
(Spanish example: cacharro)
-- Before e or i the c is pronounced as an s as in cent. In Spain the C before e and i is pronounced 'th'.
(Spanish example: ciudad)
• CC -- Pronounced very similar to the cc in accident
(Spanish example: accidente)
• D -- Similar to the English 'd' in 'bed' but with the tongue further forward; between vowels or as the last letter of a word it is pronounced very softly similar to the th in the
(Spanish example: ciudad)
• G -- Before A, O or U it is pronounced as the G in get
(Spanish example: gato)
-- Before E or I it is pronounced like the English H but more emphatic.
(Spanish example: general)
• H -- Always silent in Spanish. Hotel is pronounced otel
(Spanish example: hotel)
• J Always pronounced like the English H but more emphatic
(Spanish example: jalapeño )
• LL Always pronounced as the Y in yes.
(Spanish example: ella )
• ñ -- This Spanish character is pronounced NY as in canyon
(Spanish example: español )
• R -- Slightly trilled
(Spanish example: hora )
-- When it is the first letter of a word it is strongly trilled.
(Spanish example: Costa Rica )
• RR -- Always strongly trilled.
(Spanish example: arroz)
• V -- In Spain and many parts of South America there is no difference between the 'v' and the 'b'
(Spanish example: video)
• Y -- pronounced as the English Y, except when it stands alone (y is Spanish for and) then it is pronounced ee as in tree
(Spanish example: cinco y media [five thirty])
• Z -- In South America the 'z' is pronounced as the English S; in Spain the 'z' is closer to the 'th' in the English word, 'bath'
(Spanish example: diez)
• QUE -- pronounced ke as in kept
(Spanish example: ¿Qué pasa?)
• QUI -- pronounced kee as in keep
(Spanish example: quince )
• GUE -- pronounced ge as in guest, and get
(Spanish example: gueto )
• GUI -- pronounced gee as in geese
(Spanish example: guitarra )
• CIÓN -- pronounced see-on, Spanish equivalent of –tion ending as in civilization
(Spanish example: civilización)
The remaining letters are pronounced as they are in English with only very slight variations.