July 13, 2021 by Faustina Mulnik Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary 0 comments
The first step towards fluency in Spanish is learning the Spanish alphabet. The ABCs are the building blocks of language!
In this guide, I use a detailed alphabet chart to show you how to pronounce each letter. I also go over the Spanish accent marks and their uses. At the end of the post, you can practice your new knowledge with some common example words and catchy alphabet songs!
Once you master the Spanish language alphabet, pronunciation, spelling, and writing won’t be far behind!
The Spanish alphabet (el alfabeto) is slightly different from the English one. In English, you’ve probably gotten used to the consistent 26 letters and their catchy alphabet song.
But, how many letters are there in Spanish? There is some debate over this topic. This is due to confusion on whether to include the letters ch, ll, and rr.
Ultimately, however, there are currently 27 official letters in Spanish. According to the Real Academia Española (the group in charge of the official Spanish language), this is the official Spanish alphabet:
a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z
In this guide, I review the Spanish phonetic alphabet that includes all 30 possible letters that you might see (even the unofficial ch, ll, and rr.) This way, you’ll gain a greater understanding of every Spanish letter you might come across!
Pro-tip: check out our Spanish ABCs video guide!
Download FREE Spanish Alphabet Poster
Download your FREE poster to hang in your room or a high-traffic area of your house. I hope you enjoy them!
Similarities and Differences Between the English and Spanish Alphabets
The English and Spanish alphabets are very similar! This makes learning Spanish a lot easier than learning a language with a different alphabet like Russian or Japanese. As long as you pay attention to a few key similarities and differences, you’ll be spelling in Spanish in no time!
The letters look exactly the same as English letters! No need to learn a whole new alphabet since the English letters have the same appearance as the Spanish ones. Many of the Spanish letters also sound similar to their English counterparts (for example: s, t, and f).
The letters g and j can be confusing for English speakers since a Spanish g sometimes sounds like an English “j.” Additionally, the letter i in Spanish is pronounced like the English “e.”
The letter rr can also be challenging for English speakers since this “rolling R” sound doesn’t exist in English! To pronounce this Spanish trill, you quickly touch the tip of your tongue to your hard palate multiple times while blowing air out of your mouth.
This rapid motion is where the term rolling your Rs comes from, as it feels like your tongue is rolling around in your mouth.
Learn to roll your Spanish rr with our Spanish TV tutorial!
Spanish Alphabet Letters and Pronunciation
Now let’s get into the Spanish alphabet! Did you know that all Spanish letters are all feminine? If you need to talk about a specific letter in Spanish, use the femeine definite article la.
La letra m
The letter m
Take a look at this Spanish alphabet chart and try to sound out each letter from a to z!
|Spanish Letter||Pronunciation of Letter|
|RR||Ay-rray (strongly trilled)|
Spanish Accent Marks
If you’ve ever encountered Spanish writing, chances are you’ve run across an accent or two. Letters with accents like á, é, í, ó, and ú might seem unusual at first, but don’t let these accents intimidate you! With a bit of practice, the accents will come with ease.
Spanish accents can only be written over the five vowels (a, e, i, o, and u), and the accent is written from lower left to upper right: á, é, í, ó, ú.
Pronunciation and Phonetics
Accent marks in Spanish are simply instructions on how to pronounce a word. Accents point out emphasis. Syllables are marked with an accent to let the reader know to stress that syllable. Try reading these examples aloud and paying attention to the stressed syllable.
Accents aren’t always used for phonetics. They also differentiate words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. These words may be pronounced the same, but the accent helps the reader avoid confusion.
Me gusta tu nuevo abrigo.
I like your new coat.
Tú quieres salir.
You want to leave.
Si estás cansado, acuéstate.
If you’re tired, go to bed.
Sí, voy a ir.
Yes, I will go.
Practice Reading with Your New Phonetics and Accents Knowledge
Let’s practice your new knowledge by reading some Spanish words aloud!
Por favor (Please)
Salud (Bless you)
El pájaro (Bird)
El té (Tea)
El tiempo (Time/Weather)
La película (Movie)
El gato (Cat)
Spanish Alphabet Songs
The best way to improve your Spanish alphabet pronunciation is through repetition. Listening to these catchy tunes will make it easier than ever to remember the Spanish letters.
Spanish Alphabet Song – Orale, el alfabeto: Word, The Alphabet
By: Basho Mosko
Get ready to rock the alphabet in Spanish!
Spanish Alphabet Marching Song
This Spanish tune is a little different from the typical alphabet song. Instead of the usual melody, it’s sung to the marching song for a different rhythm and beat.
The Spanish Alphabet Song
By: Jessica Roberts
This straightforward and simple song provides pronunciation visuals to sing along with!
Spanish Sign Language Alphabet
Did you know that there is a Spanish Sign Language alphabet? If you’re familiar with American Sign Language, take a look below and see how the Spanish version compares!
Practice Your Spanish ABCs with a Free Class
Your Spanish skills can prove highly useful in the job market. Interpreters and translators are some of the fastest growing occupations! The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this sector to increase by as much as 46% between 2012 and 2022. Keep up with the language demand by honing your Spanish skills. Join over 24,000 actively enrolled students by signing up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy. Our certified teachers from Guatemala will help you master the Spanish alphabet and develop your language skills. Start speaking Spanish after just one class!
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Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy
As a native English speaker, I’ve spent over 6 years perfecting my Spanish. My studies have led me to major in Spanish, translate documents at a local museum, and communicate with people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to know. I’ve studied abroad in Spain, lived in Yellowstone National Park for a summer, and volunteered in Costa Rica. I’m a passionate travel enthusiast seeking to share my love for all things Latin America.
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