Consonants of the Spanish Alphabet: Pronunciation & Audio

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  • 0:06 Consonants - Introduction
  • 0:34 Los Consonantes -…
  • 3:22 Los Consonantes -…
  • 4:17 Letter Name Practice
  • 6:06 Special Pronunciations
  • 7:53 Letter Sound Practice
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Warren
This lesson will introduce the consonants of the Spanish alphabet. Special emphasis is placed on the four letters that do not exist in the English alphabet, and on C and G, which have both hard and soft sounds. This video will present both the names of each letter in Spanish and the sounds that they make.

Consonants in Spanish

Cómo se dice? How do you say...? A key ingredient to both speaking and understanding Spanish is pronunciation. This lesson will introduce the Spanish consonants and the sound that each one makes. Another video will present the vowels, and then you can put them all together. A reminder that, just like in English, there are a wide variety of accents and pronunciation differences. The ones presented in this video are the most common and widespread.

Las Consonantes - Pronunciación

Most of the following letters will look familiar to you, but you should note that there are actually 30 letters in the traditional Spanish alphabet. There are four consonants that will look new to you. While two of those have been officially removed, they will be included here because their pronunciation is specific and quite important to learning the Spanish sounds.

Please say each letter aloud: B (be), C (ce), CH (che), D (de), F (efe), G (ge), H (hache), J (jota), K (ka), L (ele), LL (elle), M (eme), N (ene), Ñ (eñe), P (pe), Q (cu), R (ere), RR (erre), S (ese), T (te), V (uve), W (doble ve), X (equis), Y (i griega), Z (zeta).

I have just taught you the name of each letter. If you were to ask someone to spell a word for you, this is how they would tell you. Did you notice that the B and the V sounded the same in Spanish? That can be a little confusing, so as you learn new words, note if they have one of those letters in them.

Las Consonantes - Spanish Only

Did you notice the four new letters? Let's look at those again. CH can be seen in words such as chico (boy) and leche (milk). The LL is a very common sound, seen in llenar (to fill) and amarillo (yellow). Ñ is rarely seen at the beginning of a word, but is seen frequently within words, such as mañana (tomorrow) and niños (children). RR is basically a rolled version of the R sound that is more familiar to you. As with Ñ, this letter is rarely found at the beginning of words. Some common words with that letter are perro (dog) and burrito (little donkey).

Letter Name Practice

Let's practice. Read the following letters out loud in Spanish: X, J, T, S, C, G, L, F, LL, M, R, RR, P, H, Y, Ñ, B, D, K, N, Q, V, Z, CH, W.

Special Pronunciations

Both C and G in Spanish, as in English, have a hard and a soft sound, depending on the vowel that follows. The rule is this: if the vowel that follows either C or G is an A, O or U, then the consonant sound is hard. Some examples are gato (cat), corazón (heart), Cuba (Cuba) and gobierno (government). If the vowel that follows is E or I, then the consonant sound is soft. Some examples of these are cena (dinner), gemelos (twins), cinco (five) and gimnasio (gym).

To repeat, in Spanish the letter H is silent. Let's look at some words using this letter, and notice how you do not hear it pronounced (please see the video at 07:00 to hear the following words). Hoja (leaf), hipopótamo (hippo) and higo (fig) are all examples of words that are spelled with an H. What you hear at the beginning of the word is the first vowel.

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