Spanish Pronunciation: The Complete Guide

Complete guide to Spanish Pronunciation with Audio
One of the big mistakes made by many Spanish students is spending all of their time and effort learning vocabulary and grammar while neglecting Spanish pronunciation.  This is big mistake for those who aspire to do more than read and write in Spanish, since your ability to use effective pronunciation will have a much greater impact on your ability to be understood by native Spanish speakers than occasional grammar mistakes.

Whenever I [spoke to someone], they kept asking me ‘What? What?’ I would repeat my sentence again and again. Finally they would say Ah-ha! and then repeat my sentence, using exactly my words! It was very humiliating. I knew my words and grammar were good, but nobody would understand me, just because of my pronunciation.

The other mistake that Spanish students often make is to delay the study of pronunciation until after they have already acquired a large vocabulary. This is also a big mistake  — learning vocabulary without correct pronunciation from the beginning means that you end up building a large vocabulary of words that you can recognize one paper, but cannot faithfully reproduce orally.  These words must later be re-learned a second time with proper pronunciation — an increasingly difficult task when you have been pronouncing words incorrectly for a long time.  For this reason, proper pronunciation should be stressed from the very beginning of your language study in order to provide a solid foundation for future learning.

How to use this Guide

The primary goal of this guide is to teach you how to first hear, and eventually replicate, proper Spanish pronunciation. Each section below contains audio exercises designed to help you to practice specific aspects of Spanish pronunciation. Simply reading through this guide without taking the time to complete the audio exercises will likely do little to improve your pronunciation in Spanish.  Listen to the audio exercises carefully and try to emulate their pronunciation as closely as possible. Practice the audio exercises over and over until you are confident you are pronouncing the words correctly.  (You can use the link below to download the audio files to your computer for additional practice.)

Download Complete Guide and Audio Files: Click here to download a PDF copy of this guide along with all of the audio files to your computer.

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Pronunciation Key for Spanish Letters

This chart is intended serve only as a reference for the pronunciation of individual Spanish letters.  We recommend that you do not try to memorize this chart, but rather simply use it as a basic reference.  To learn how to pronounce words in Spanish, we recommend that you complete the audio exercises in our Complete Guide to Spanish Pronunciation.

Read morePronunciation Key for Spanish Letters