B4 Spanish

Before Speaking Spanish



Contrary to what others believe, Spanish sounds are not really hard to pronounce. Once you’ve learned a few basic rules, it shouldn’t be too long before you can read and speak Spanish.


First, know that the Spanish language has 30 letters, in contrast with English that has only 26. The four other letters present in the Spanish alphabet includes ch (read as che) as in chocolate, ll (read as el-ye) as in million, ñ (read as en-ye) as in onion, and rr (read as er-re). The common 26 letters also has Spanish names and do not take on the ABC names of English: a, be, ce, che, de, e, efe, ge, hache, i, jota, ka, ele, elle, eme, ene, eñe, o, pe, ku, ere, erre, ese, te, u, uve, uve doble, ekis, y grieyega, and zeta.


The Spanish language also has 5 vowels – a, e, i, o, and u. However, what makes Spanish vowels different from English vowels is that each of these Spanish vowels produces only one sound. In Spanish, the vowel a is always read as in shut and never as in cat nor tape; e is always read as in pet and never as in week; i is always read as in hit and never as in bike; o is always read as in saw and never as in hope; and u is always read as /oo/ in book and never as in hut nor umbrella.


On the other hand, the letters that are pronounced the same way as in English are b, ch, d, f, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, v, w, x, y, and z.


The letter h is not pronounced and is always silent. The letter r is always rolled, even more strongly when it occurs in rr. The letter q is pronounced the same way as in the English letter k.


The letter c is pronounced in two ways: /th/ as in thin before the vowels e and i, and /k/ elsewhere. The letter g takes the sound of the gurgled /g/ as in the German word Bach before the vowels e and i, and /g/ in English elsewhere. The letter j also takes the sound of the  gurgled /g/ in all conditions.


It is important to keep these rules in mind. Before you can actually speak out Spanish words, phrases, and sentences fluently, you have to master how to enunciate these sounds properly. Spanish is a romantic language. Try to keep the passion and sentiment with every sound you pronounce.