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Basic Spanish Pronunciation

By Edited Oct 16, 2015 1 1


This is a very basic taste of the wonderfully sensuous and passionate Spanish language. In a world more international and travelled than ever before, learning a new language will always be rewarding. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with grammar and even vocabulary likening to other European languages such as French, Italian, and Portuguese. Personally, after years of learning French in school, I found learning Spanish more rewarding and enjoyable. It came more easily and there were many overlaps, and I've been told the same from many others, which include language teachers and a lecturer of languages and European Studies from Germany. Below find a sample of the Spanish pronunciation, that I hope will be a stepping stone on the way to learning a valuable new skill.






In English, vowels are relaxed in unstressed syllables such as the “e” in Vowels. This is not the case in Spanish, where vowels are always clearly pronounced.


a- Between English a- of cat, and u- of cut

e- Similar to English e- in pet, let, or memory

i- Between English i- in bin, and ee- in been

o- Similar to English o- in hot, shot, or mottle

u- Between English u- in put, and ew- in few or blew





Practice and repeating the sounds out loud will greatly speed up learning.


b-, v- These are pronounced the same. At the beginning of a word and after m- and n-, said like b- in boy

All other times the lips do not touch and the sound is softer


c- Before a consonant or a-, o-, or u-, it is sounded like c in cook, but softer

Before e-, or i-, makes a th- sound like thin, but in some regions of Spain and South America, makes an s like same


d- After l- or n-, and at the start of the word, it sounds like d- in deep.

Between vowels or after all other consonants, it is pronounced like th- in though

It is often silent when at the end of words


g- Before e- or i-, it sounds like the soft ch in English loch

At the start of the word and after n-, it has a harder sound like get.

In other positions, it is often pronounced softer than get

*Note: in the group gue, gui, the u- is silent like in guitar, unless it is marked by a

diaerisis (two dots over the u-) when it is sounded like the w- in walk.


h- This is always silent


j- It sounds like the soft ch- in English loch

ll- Similar to the ll- sound in million, but it is often like y- in yet, or s- in pleasure.


n- There is a slight y- sound after the n- like in onion.


q- It is always followed by a silent u- and pronounced like c in cook but softer


r- There is a single trill, or roll, like the Scots' r-

Or pronounced as rr- (see below) at the start of a word, or after l-, n-, or s-.


rr- This is heavily trilled, or rolled, for two to three times longer than a single Spanish r-.


s- It is pronounced like an English z- sound in rose, when followed by b-, d-, g-, l-, m-, or n-.

Any other time it is sounded like s- in sing


w- Usually it is sounded like v- in English, though sometimes pronounced as w-.


y- Sound like the y- in yes, but often like leisure, (or the Spanish ll- sound)


z- Like the Spanish c-, it is pronounced as the soft th- in thin.

In some regions of Spain and South America, it is sounded like s- in send


f-, k-, l-, m-, n-, p-, t-, x- and ch-, are all pronounced in Spanish, as they are in English.



Now try pronouncing some of the following:

¿Hola, cómo te llamas? Hello, what is your name? (“ll” like “y”)

Me llamo Mary. My name is Mary

¿Cómo está? How are you?

Muy bien, gracias. Very well, thank you.

Esta noche vamos a celebrar una fiesta We're having a party tonight.

Me gustaría venir, pero tengo trabajo. I'd like to come, but I'm busy.

Bien. ¡Adiós! That's fine. Goodbye!



¡Gracias, y adiós!



Oct 19, 2011 12:32am
Nice guide to pronunciation. It is good for a quick reference.
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