Lesson 1 - Saludos (Greetings)
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Pages in this lesson: Alphabet - Pronunciation - Dialogue - Reading - Quiz
This page: Learn how to pronounce words in Spanish.
Learn how to pronounce Spanish words in this pronunciation guide. We'll go over all of the vowel sounds (a, e, i, o and u), the consonant sounds that are different from English (c, g, h, j, ñ, qu, r, v, and z) and the double consonant sounds (cc, ll and rr). You'll also learn how to know which syllable should be stressed when pronouncing a word.
Printable pdf guide of this page
The letter A is pronounced "ah," like the sound of the A in the word "father" in English. Practice pronouncing these words with the letter A. Click on the words below to hear the pronunciation.
The letter E is pronounced "eh," like the sound of the E in the word "get" in English.
The letter I is pronounced "ee," like the vowel sound in the word "see" in English.
The letter O is pronounced "oh," like the sound of the O in the word "toe" in English.
The letter U is pronounced "oo," like the vowel sound in the word "moon" in English.
Some consonants are pronounced the same or virtually the same in Spanish as in English. In this guide we will focus on sounds that are different in Spanish. These include c, g, h, j, ñ, qu, r, v, and z.
The letter C is pronounced like a K before letters A, O and U.
The letter C is pronounced like an S before letters E and I (or like a TH in Spain)
The letter G is pronounced with a hard G sound before letters A, O and U.
The letter G is pronounced like an H before letters E and I.
When the letter G is followed by a U and then an E or I ("gue" or "gui"), the GU combination is pronounced like a hard G. Basically the U is just forcing a hard G sound in a word that would otherwise have the H sound.
A "gue" or "gui" combination in which the letter U must be pronounced is indicated with two dots above the letter U (called a diaeresis).
The letter H is silent in Spanish.
The letter J is pronounced like an H.
The Ñ is pronounced like a combination of N and Y like in the word "canyon" in English.
The QU combination is pronounced like a K.
The R is rolled in Spanish. It often sounds like a simple flap of the tongue.
The letter V is pronounced like the letter B.
The letter Y is pronounced like the letter Y in English in most cases. When Y is at the end of a word, however, it sounds like "ee."
The letter Z is pronounced like the letter S (or like a TH in Spain).
There are a few double letter combinations that can be tricky in Spanish.
The CC combination is pronounced like KS (or KTH in Spain).
The LL combination is pronounced like a letter Y or a very soft J sound.
The RR combination indicates a longer rolled R sound.
To summarize . . .
The stress in words that end in a vowel or the consonants N or S naturally falls on the second to the last syllable. Click to hear the pronunciation of the following words. The stressed syllable is indicated in bold.
The stress in words that end a consonant other than N or S naturally falls on the last syllable.
If a word doesn't follow the two pronunciation rules above, an accent above the vowel indicates the stress syllable.
Note: Some words have an accent to differentiate them from another word that is spelled the same. For example, question words have an accent to differentiate them from the relative pronoun (¿Quién? vs. quien). Some homonyms have accents to differentiate them from other words (el vs. él)
Click on the syllable of the word that you think should be stressed based on the rules you learned for "Stress and Accents" above. Then click "Listen" to hear the pronunciation of the word. Listen for which syllable sounds stronger (stressed).
Use the pronunciation rules that you learned on this page to pronounce the following words. After you try to pronounce it, click on "Listen" to hear the pronunciation.
1. cocer (to cook) ► Listen
2. papel (paper) ► Listen
3. olla (cooking pot) ► Listen
4. jardín (garden) ► Listen
5. hospital (hospital) ► Listen
6. tijeras (scissors) ► Listen
7. niña (girl) ► Listen
8. teléfono (telephone) ► Listen
9. volar (fly) ► Listen
10. zona (zone) ► Listen
11. quince (fifteen) ► Listen
12. goma (rubber, pencil eraser) ► Listen
13. gente (people) ► Listen
14. carro (car) ► Listen
15. acción (action) ► Listen
Print out the Pronunciation Guide pdf. Try pronouncing some words from the 1000 Most Common Words list.
Lesson 1 - Saludos (Greetings)
Alphabet - Pronunciation - Dialogue - Reading - Quiz
Pronouns - Pronunciation - Verbs