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.

Letter How to pronounce Sounds like
a ah Sounds like the a in “father” or 
b,v  beh The letters and sound the same in Spanish. When found at the beginning of a word or following a consonant, they both make a sound like the English b in “ball”: and When found in the middle or end of word, they make a softer sound that falls somewhere in between the English b and v sounds, as in and
c seh Usually sounds like c in cartwheel or  Before e or i, it makes an s sound like in the word
ch cheh Sounds like the ch in “church” or
d deh Sounds like the English d except between vowels and following l or n where pronounced almost like the th in “this”:
e eh For a syllable ending in a vowel, like the e in “they” or ; for a syllable ending in a consonant, like the e in “get” or 
f effe Sounds like the f in “flute” or
g ge Usually like the ‘g’ in except before e or i, where it sounds like the English “h”, e.g.
h hache In general, the h sound is silent like in
i i Sounds like the i in machine or Before vowels a, e, and o, it forms a “y” sound like in
j jota Sounds like an English h sound but a bit stronger, like
k kah Like the k in
l ele Like the l in
ll elle Like the y in “you”, e.g.
m eme Sounds like the English m, as in “mom” or
n ene Sounds like an English n as in
ñ eñe Sounds like the n in “onion”or “canyon” e.g.
o oh For a syllable ending in a vowel, sounds like the o in “vote” or
p peh Sounds like an English p, but slightly softer, e.g.
q koo Sounds like a k; always followed by a silent u, e.g.
r ere Pronounced with a strong trill when at the beginning of a word like or and following an l, n, or s; medium trill in other positions, like and very little trill when at the end of a word like
rr ere Strongly trilled, as in
s ese Just like the English s, e.g.
t te Very close to the English t but softer, the tongue touches the teeth and there is no explosion of breath after moving the tongue away, e.g.
u u Sounds like the ur in rule. When paired with a vowel it makes a sound like the w in “well” as in  or 
v veh see b, v
w doble veh The letter w is somewhat rare in Spanish and mostly used for foreign words. When it appears, it usually makes the same sound as the English w.
x equis Usually sounds like the x in “box” or
y y griega Usually sounds like the y in “yes” or In many countries, y is pronounced with a soft j sound, as in
z zeta Mostly pronounced like the English z as in (but can sound like the th in “thin” in parts of Spain, e.g. )

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