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SPANISH PRONUNCIATION 101

(La Pronunciacin)

Did you know


That all of the sounds in Spanish are sounds you are already know?

Its true! General American English has about 41 different phonemes (or
different clusters of letters that together make one sound) whereas Spanish only has 24. This means that youll only need about half of the sounds you probably already know to begin speaking a foreign language.

Comencemos!
(Lets begin)

Las Vocales

(ah)

Las Vocales

(eh)

Las Vocales

(ee)

Las Vocales
Why not (Oh)? Notice that, when pronounced, the English O ends with a slight W sound.
Oh-wuh

(just o)

The Spanish O does not end in a W sound.

Las Vocales

(oo)

i i i a a a

e e e e e e

a a a i i i

o o o o o o

u u u u u u

ai ei io ou a a

ao eo iu ua e e

ae eu oa ue i i

au ia oe ui o o

ea ie oi uo u u

TONGUE TWISTER #1

Ese oso se asea.


Se asea ese oso.

(eh - neh)

(eh - nyeh)

a e i o u
na a ne e ni i no o nu u

el nio
ni - o

la nia
ni - a

nene

nena

ne ne

na na

no no

ni ni

nu nu

u - no, u - na, u - na ne - na

Una nena.

(eh - meh)

a e i o u
ma me mi mo mu

la mano
ma - no

el mono
mo - no

ma
ma

mo
mo

mi
mi

mu
mu

me
me

ma no, mo na, mo no, mo o, mo a, ma a mama, mam, mimo, mim


Mi mam me ama. Me ama mi mam. Mi mam me mima. Me mima mi mam.

Mi nio menea una mano. Menea una mano mi nio.

(deh)

a e i o u
da de di do du

el dedo
de - do

la dona
do - na

El nio nada.

La nia nada.

=Y
(el(eh - yeh) - leh)
The Ll and the Y are used interchangeably depending on the word.

Ll is treated as a letter of its own in the Spanish alphabet.

a e i o u
la lla le lle li lli lo llo lu llu

la lea
le - a

la lluvia
llu - via

(heh)

The G Rule
Not all Gs in Spanish are pronounced the same. Depending on what vowel precedes it, the G may either be pronounced like the hard G in the word get, or like the H in the word hen. If G comes before A, O, or U, it is pronounced with a hard G. If G comes before E or I, it is pronounced like an H.

For example . . .

a e i o u
ga ge gi go gu
Ole!

REMEMBER: The G before A, O, and U is hard as in get. The G before E or I is pronounced H as in hen.el gato
ga - to

la gitana
gi - ta - na

(seh)

The C Rule
Similar to the Gs, Cs are also pronounced differently when coupled with an E or an I. For example:
the C before an A, O, or U is pronounced like the hard C in can. the C before an E or I is pronounced like the soft C in cent.

For example . . .

a e i o u
ca ce ci co cu

la calle
ca - lle

el cielo
ci - e - lo

Ch is treated as a letter of its own in the Spanish alphabet, as well as in many other alphabets. It is pronounced as the Ch in chair.

(che)

a e i o u
cha che chi cho chu

la leche
le - che

la lechuga
le - chu - ga

Next is the letter

First, try pronouncing the letter R as you usually do.


Notice how only the sides of your tongue touch the roof of your mouth. Try it!

When pronouncing the Spanish R, the tip of your tongue should also touch the roof of your mouth.
Doing so will make your Rs sound swishy.

The Trill:

RR

Now, with the tip your tongue lightly touching the roof of your mouth, exhale strongly. Doing so will cause a vibration between the tip of your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Try it! You have successfully trilled the R!

Notice the difference!


Remember, its important to pronounce the Spanish R as accurately as possible. Practice, practice, practice!

(eh - reh) NOT (air - rey)!

a e i o u
ra re ri ro ru

la rosa
ro - sa

el charro
cha - rro

TONGUE TWISTER #2
R con R cigarra. R con R barril.
Corren rpido los carros cargados de azcar del ferrocaril.

(hoh - tah)

This letter is pronounced (hoh tah). When grouped with other letters, it is pronounced like the H in hen. (Recall that ge and gi are also pronounced like the H in hen)

a e i o u
ja je ji jo ju

el jamn
ja - mn

el jugo de naranja
ju - go de na - ran - ja

(ah - cheh)

As indicated, the name of this letter is pronounced (ah cheh). However, this letter makes no sound when grouped with letters other than C. Thats right: the Spanish H on its own is completely silent!

a e i o u
ha he hi ho hu

el helado
he - la - do

Honduras
Hon - du - ras

Ahora, el resmen. Estn listos?

el cerillo el jarrn el gaucho

las almohadas

la democracia

el coche

los girasoles