The Spanish Alphabet
The Spanish alphabet has the same letters as the English alphabet, with a few additional letters that are explained below. The Spanish alphabet has the same 5 vowels ( las vocales ) as English - (a, e, i, o, u). And the rest of the letters in the alphabet are called consonants ( las consonantes ) as in English.Whenever you see this speaker symbol next to an underlined word, you can click on the speaker or the underlined word to hear the word spoken by a native Spanish speaker.
Special Letters in Spanish Alphabet
The CH Letter
There are a few letters in the Spanish alphabet consisting of 2 letters put together. The ch is a single letter in Spanish and it has the same sound as our "ch" letter combination. If you look in any Spanish dictionary, you'll notice there's a section just for the letter ch. Spanish words like chiste (joke) isn't 6 letters long but actually contains 5 letters. Popular Spanish words like chiquito (tiny), chispa (spark), and chiflar (to whistle) will all be found in the Spanish dictionary under ch, not c.
The LL Letter
The Spanish alphabet has the letter l and it also contains a "double l" which is written ll. The pronunciation of the ll is like the ll in million. A common question to ask someone in Spanish is ¿como te llamas? (what's your name?) which uses the verb llamar and starts with the ll. You can click on the speaker picture or the underlined ¿Como te llamas? and hear how this letter sounds when spoken by a native Spanish speaker. Other popular words that contain the ll letter are llegar (to arrive), llave (key), and lluvia (rain). And again, just like the ch letter, don't bother looking for llamar, llegar, llave, or lluvia in your dictionary under l, it'll be in its own area under ll.
The RR Letter
The double-r is treated as a single letter in the Spanish alphabet. There also exists a single r. The single r is spoken with a very slight roll of the tongue and the rr letter is spoken with a longer roll of the tongue. The best way to illustrate is with some audio examples spoken by our native speaker. Just click on the links. Popular words with the rr sound are correo (mail), perro (dog) and correr (to run). Click on these words and repeat them out loud to practice this sound.
The Ñ Letter
There are quite a few Spanish words that have the ñ letter in them. The easiest way to handle the sound made by this letter is to think of the "ny" letter combination in the English word canyon. Here are some popular Spanish words with the ñ letter in them for you to listen to and practice saying. año (year), otoño (autumn), and Español (Spanish).
The letter C when its before I and E.
I'm including the letter c in this list of letters that require special attention because it has a different sound if it's located in front of the letter i and e. Most of the time the letter c sounds like the c in the word candy. Everyday Spanish words like cosa (thing), comer (to eat), and comprar (to purchase), and have this c in candy sound and you can click on the words now to hear the examples.
On the other hand, words like anunciar (to announce), centro (center), and circulo (circle) are common Spanish words that make their c sound like the English cedar or circle. The best way to learn this is to click on the audio sound links.
Listed in the table below are all the letters of the Spanish alphabet with example words and some notes to help you pronounce them correctly:
|b||bib||closer to v when between vowels|
|c||cat||before a, o, u like k sound|
|cedar||before e, i like s sound|
|d||dad||th sound between vowels|
|g||before i and e like h|
|glad||before other letters|
|j|| ||like the h in hello|
|ñ|| ||like ny in canyon|
|r|| ||like dd of ladder|
|rr|| ||rolled r sound|
|v|| ||similar to Spanish b|
|w|| ||English v or w|
|y|| ||like i in machine|
|z|| ||like s in sand|