Spanish Pronunciation Guide

Understanding the pronunciation rules of Spanish can significantly enhance your speaking and listening skills. This guide will walk you thro

Austin Meusch

Understanding the pronunciation rules of Spanish can significantly enhance your speaking and listening skills. This guide will walk you through the key aspects of Spanish pronunciation.

Vowels

Spanish vowels are more consistent than English ones, and there are fewer of them. Each vowel has only one way to be pronounced.

  • a: Like the 'a' in "father"
  • e: When stressed, like 'ay' in "may", but shorter. When unstressed, it's similar to 'e' in "bed".
  • i: Like the 'ee' in "see", but shorter.
  • o: Like the 'o' in "more", but without the 'r' sound.
  • u: Like the 'oo' in "boot", but shorter.

Consonants

Most Spanish consonants are pronounced similarly to their English counterparts, but there are some key differences:

  • c: Before 'e' or 'i', it is pronounced like the 's' in "see". In other cases, it's like the 'k' in "kick".
  • g: Before 'e' or 'i', it's pronounced like the 'h' in "hello". Otherwise, it's like the 'g' in "go".
  • h: This letter is silent in Spanish.
  • j: Pronounced like the 'h' in "hello".
  • ll: Varies by region, but often pronounced like 'y' in "yes" or the 'j' in "jello".
  • ñ: Like the 'ny' in "canyon".
  • r: A single 'r' is flipped, similar to the 'tt' in "butter" with an American English accent. A double 'rr' is a trilled or rolled 'r'.
  • v: Pronounced like the 'b' in "baby".

Stress

In Spanish, the stress usually falls on the penultimate (second to last) syllable of words. However, there are exceptions:

  • Words ending in a vowel, 'n', or 's' usually stress the penultimate syllable.
  • Words ending in a consonant, except 'n' or 's', stress the last syllable.
  • Words with an accent mark stress the syllable with the accent.

Practicing Pronunciation

Pronunciation takes practice. Listening to native Spanish speakers and repeating the sounds, words, and sentences they use is a fantastic way to improve. Remember that everyone learns at their own pace, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing.

For Teachers

Learn how to link this guide to your speakable speaking assignments: Setting Students Up for Success: Guide to using Text Cards for Instructions.Please keep in mind that the pronunciation can vary significantly from one region to another, so it's a good idea to expose students to different accents if possible. This guide is a starting point and is not exhaustive. It's based on the most commonly taught accent, which is a standard Latin American accent. If your students are learning a specific accent (such as from Spain or Argentina), you may need to adjust some of the explanations.

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