Alphabet

El abecedario / The alphabet

 

The Spanish alphabet has 29 letters. These are feminine.

Las consonantes / Consonants

Spanish spelling is pretty consistent: most letters represent a single sound regardless of their position in a word. Note the following peculiarities:

H /

La hache is never pronounced. Thus, words like Honduras, ahora and alcohol have no aspiration before the /o/ sound.

CH /

La che is always pronounced as in "cheers": coche, ocho. La hache is not combined with any other consonantas: there is no th, sh, ph, gh, etc. (English “ph” may translate to “f”: filosofía, Filadelfia, fantasma).

C /

La ce is pronounced /k/ (as in "case") in most positions (ca que qui co cu): caso, cosa, cuota, frecuente, crisis. Before -e, -i, it is pronounced /s/ (as in "sin") in America or /th/ (as in "thin") in Spain: cielo, acento. The /k/ sound (as in "kiss"), is spelled "qu" (mute "u") before -e,-i: queso, quince.

G /

La ge is pronounced /g/ (as in "go") in most positions (ga gue gui go gu): gala, gota, guante, globo. Before -e, -i, it is pronounced almost like /h/ (as in "hen"): general, gitano. The /g/ sound (as in "get"), is spelled "gu" (mute "u") before -e,-i: guerra, guitarra. if the letter “u” is to be pronounced in a “gue/gui” combination, it is marked with a diaeresis (la diéresis): pingüino, bilingüe, nicaragüense. (ja je ji jo ju ge gi)

Q /

La ku is used only in the que/qui combinations, and the "u" is always mute in this position. Therefore, the word quinteto has no /u/ sound, and English "quota" and "frequent" translate to cuota and frecuente.

Z /

La zeta is pronounced /s/ in America and /th/ in Spain. (za ce ci zo zu) Spanish avoids the ze/zi combination and prefers ce, ci: lápiz → lápices; cebra

Please find the alphabeth sound here: http://rayojohis.com/content/alphabet-song

Only four consonants can be duplicated to represent specific sounds:

CC /

is used before "e" or "i" only and sounds /ks/ (/kth/ in Spain): acción and acceso but acento, ocurrir.

LL /

sounds /y/: calle, llama but ilegal, aludir, inteligente.

RR /

represents the famous "rolling r" between vowels only: perro, carro vs. pero, caro.

NN /

is used only when a prefix ending in "n" is added to a word beginning with "n": innecesario, connotación, but anual, anotación, conexión.