Learning to pronounce each sound
Spanish is a wonderfully phonetic language! That means that once you learn your letter sounds then you will be able to pronounce nearly every Spanish word beautifully. Go for it! You'll soon be an expert!
The sheet below goes through most of the sounds needed to help you to pronounce Spanish words. Some will come up more than others. Have fun building up your expertise. Please note that the letter 'e' always makes an 'eh' sound even when it is at the end of words. This one has been added as we find it is a mistake that come up quite often. This table is available at the bottom of the page for your to download.
In English, vowels (a, e, i, o and u) have more than one sound. In Spanish, they are pronounced the same way each time.
ah, eh, ee, oh, oo
In Spanish, the vowel ‘a’ makes an ‘ah’ sound.
In Spanish, the vowel ‘e’ makes an ‘eh’ sound.
‘e’ at the end of words is pronounced like ‘eh’. It sounds like an ‘ay’.
In Spanish, the vowel ‘i’ makes an ‘ee’ sound.
In Spanish, the vowel ‘o’ makes an ‘oh’ sound.
In Spanish, the vowel ‘u’ makes an ‘oo’ sound.
‘u’ is always silent after the letter ‘q’ like in ‘quiero’.
Sometimes a ‘u’ is silent, after a ‘g’ and followed by an ‘e’ or ‘i’.
‘c’ (when followed by ‘e’ or ‘i’) is a ‘th’ sound.
The letter ‘c’ makes a hard ‘k’ sound before an ‘a’, ‘o’ and ‘u’.
The letter ‘g’ makes a hard ‘g’ sound before ‘a’ and ‘o’ and ‘u’.
The letter ‘g’ makes a soft ‘j’ sound before ‘e’ and ‘i’.
The ‘h’ is always silent in Spanish.
‘j’ is a sound at the back of a throat and can sound a little like an English ‘h’.
‘ll’ is pronounced like an English ‘y’.
‘ñ’ is pronounced ‘ny’ like in the English word ‘canyon’.
‘qu’ is pronounced as a ‘k’ sound.
‘rr’ is a rolled sound.
Sometimes a ‘u’ that is after a ‘g’ and followed by an ‘e’ or ‘i’ will look like ‘ü’. This tells you that you have to pronounce it.
‘v’ is pronounced more like a ‘b’ sound.
In English, the consonant ‘y’ is often used like a vowel. In Spanish, it is only used as a consonant.
‘z’ is a ‘th’ sound.
Accents help you to say the word and show where the stress needs to go within it, like ‘música’.
All accents in Spanish point the same way and are only found on vowels: á, é, í, ó and ú.
It’s useful to learn where accents go, because it can change the meaning: él = he and el = the.
él = he and el = the
sí yes si if
A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that can be identified in words When you put different sounds together, they make words.
There are many letters which sound the same in Spanish and in English, but there are differences too.
e.g. z is different
Cognates are words in another language, that look similar to English, but are pronounced differently (idea and idea).
There are not as many exception words in Spanish compared to in English.
Y spelt with a y
Why not click on the videos below to hear each one for yourself?