The Spanish Alphabet: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

One of the first things you need to do when working towards Spanish fluency is learn the Spanish alphabet. Just as in English, the letters of the alphabet are the building blocks to successfully navigating spoken and written language. While many letters are similar to English, their name, pronunciation, and use can be vastly different. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the Spanish alphabet, including the different Spanish alphabet sounds and Spanish alphabet pronunciation.

Native English speakers have a mild advantage when learning Spanish, as the alphabet is fairly similar. This can make working towards fluency easier, but there are some key differences to be aware of. While the letters look exactly the same, some Spanish alphabet letters (such as g and j) can be confusing as the pronunciation is much different.

While not “technically” a letter in the Spanish alphabet, the rr combination requires speakers to roll their r. This sound isn’t part of the English language, making it difficult for many native English speakers to master. To pronounce the rr, which is often referred to as a Spanish trill, you need to touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth in quick successions while blowing the air out of your mouth and making the “r” sound. If you don’t get it at first, keep trying and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from native Spanish speakers.

There are 27 letters in the Spanish alphabet, or abecedario, all of which are feminine when standing alone. It includes all of the same letters as in the English alphabet, with the addition of the letter ñ. Most letters in the Spanish alphabet have one or more special names that people use when spelling out words. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of all 27 letters in the Spanish alphabet, along with their Spanish names so you can use them in conversation. They’re listed in both their capitalized and lower-case forms.

 <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Cc</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> ce </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Dd</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> de </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ee</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> e </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ff</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> efe </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Gg</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> ge </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Hh</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> Hache </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ii</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> i latina </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Jj</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> jota </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Kk</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> ka </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ll</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> ele </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Mm</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> eme </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Nn</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> ene </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ññ</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> eñe </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Oo</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> o </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Pp</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> pe </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Qq</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> cu </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Rr</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> erre </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ss</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> ese </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Tt</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> t </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Uu</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> u </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Vv</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> uve </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Ww</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> uve doble </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Xx</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> equis </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Yy</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> i griega </cite> </td> </tr> <tr> <th style="text-align:center">Zz</th> <td> <cite lang="es"> zeta </cite> </td> </tr> </tbody></table>

Within the Spanish language learning community, there’s a bit of debate on whether or not the letters che, ll, and rr should be included in the alphabet. Officially speaking, they are not. However, to help you master every sound possible, from Spanish adjectives and nouns to Spanish pronouns and verbs, we’ll cover the Spanish phonetic alphabet below.

The Spanish Alphabet: Everything You Need to Know (1)

Phonetic Spanish Alphabet Pronunciation

Each letter in the Spanish alphabet is pronounced differently, which is important for properly speaking during communication. When you download Tandem, you’ll have the opportunity to practice using different letters in the Spanish alphabet with native speakers who can provide clarification and help with your pronunciation.

Since 2010, there are only 27 official letters in the Spanish alphabet. This was after the RAE (Real Academia Española) eliminated the ch and ll from the alphabet. However, they remain within the 30 possibilities for various pronunciation, which make up the Spanish phonetic alphabet.

How to Pronounce the Spanish Alphabet Sounds

To help you understand how to pronounce different sounds within the Spanish alphabet, we’ve put together a table that goes into more detail about each letter—including the “unofficial” ones.

Letter in the AlphabetSpanish Name
Aa volume_up a
Bb volume_up be
 <tr> <td><b>Bb</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> be </cite></td> </td> <td>b is pronounced very similarly to the English “b”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Cc</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> ce </cite></td> </td> <td>c is pronounced similarly to the English “k”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ch</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> che </cite></td> </td> <td>che is pronounced similarly to the English “k”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Dd</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> de </cite></td> </td> <td>d is pronounced similarly to an English “d,” but sounds more like “th” when used between vowels. </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ee</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> e </cite></td> </td> <td>e is pronounced like saying “eh” in English.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ff</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> efe </cite></td> </td> <td>f is pronounced like the English letter “f”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Gg</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> ge </cite></td> </td> <td>g is pronounced like the English “g”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Hh</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> Hache </cite></td> </td> <td>h is usually silent.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ii</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> i </cite></td> </td> <td>i is pronounced like a short version of the English “ee.”</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Jj</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> jota </cite></td> </td> <td>j is pronounced similarly to the English “h,” but may vary based on region and country.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Kk</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> ka </cite></td> <td>k is pronounced like the English “k”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>L</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> ele </cite></td> <td>ele is pronounced like the English “l”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ll</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> elle </cite></td> <td>ll is pronounced like the English “y.”</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Mm</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> eme </cite></td> <td>m is pronounced like the English “m.”</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Nn</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> ene </cite></td> <td>n is pronounced like the English “n.” </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ññ</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> eñe </cite></td> <td>ñ is pronounced like saying “ni” in the English word onion. </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Oo</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> o </cite></td> <td>o is pronounced like the English “o,” but a little shorter. </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Pp</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> pe </cite></td> <td>p is pronounced like the English “p,” with less breath.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Qq</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> cu </cite></td> <td>q is pronounced like the English “k” and is always followed by an “u.”</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>R</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> erre </cite></td> <td>r is pronounced like the English “d” in the word caddy. </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Rr</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> doble erre </cite></td> <td>rr is pronounced with a trill, and kind of sounds like “tt.” </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ss</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> ese </cite></td> <td>s is pronounced like the English “s”.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Tt</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> t </cite></td> <td>t is pronounced like the English “t,” except softer.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Uu</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> u </cite></td> <td>u is pronounced like saying “oo” in English. </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Vv</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> uve </cite></td> <td>v is pronounced similar to the Spanish “b,” with less aspiration.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Ww</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> uve doble </cite></td> <td>w is pronounced like the English “w.”</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Xx</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> equis </cite></td> <td>x is pronounced like the “ks,” like in the English word rocks.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Yy</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> i griega </cite></td> <td>y is pronounced like the English “y” in yes. </td> </tr> <tr> <td><b>Zz</b></td> <td><cite lang="es"> zeta </cite></td> <td>z is pronounced like the English “s,” but can also sound like “th” in certain regions.</td> </tr> </tbody></table>

Practicing Spanish Alphabet Pronunciation

The above letters are usually pronounced the same way whenever they’re used, so you can continue to practice them in your daily conversations. This is one thing that makes learning Spanish fairly straightforward… words tend to be spoken exactly how they’re spelled! However, as with most of the Spanish language, there are always exceptions to the rule. Below are some examples of letters whose pronunciation changes based on what letters they’re combined with. Some of the more difficult instances are as follows:

Ce before hache If you see the letter ce come before the letter hache in a sentence, the pronunciation changes from a “k” sound to a “ch” sound, like in the English word charity.

Double ele when you come across two eles in a sentence, it’s pronounced like a “y” sound, like in the English word yell.

Double erre two erres that appear next to each other need to be pronounced with a Spanish trill. Similarly, if an erre occurs at the beginning of a word, it is also pronounced with a trill.

Ge before a vowel if the letter ge comes before an i or e, it’s pronounced similar to a raspy English h, like in the word he.

Equis when used in names whenever an equis is used in the name of a place or a person, especially those of Spanish descent, it’s pronounced one of three ways: either like a raspy English h, an s, or a sh, like in the English word shadow.

The Spanish Alphabet: Everything You Need to Know (2)

How Do Spanish Accent Marks Change Pronunciation?

Spanish accents won’t change the pronunciation of the letter, but they will change how the word as a whole is pronounced. Accent marks are used to show which part of Spanish nouns, adjectives, verbs, or other words need to be emphasized when spoken out loud. They’re also commonly used to help differentiate two words that would otherwise be spelled the same way. This helps individuals avoid confusion when reading or communicating. The best way to ensure you have a strong understanding of Spanish alphabet pronunciation, whether letters are used on their own or in a sentence, is to practice.

Extra Resources to Learn the Spanish Alphabet Sounds

If English is your native language, it’s likely that you can still recite the ABC song you learned many years ago. Songs can help you retain information faster and tend to boost recall, so it’s no surprise that there are several different versions of songs available to learn the Spanish alphabet. You can also work with flashcards to help you differentiate rules and perform daily dictation. However, the best way to help you practice the Spanish alphabet is to practice speaking with a native Spanish speaker.

To work on your Spanish alphabet pronunciation, accent marks, and more, join Tandem’s community of language learners across the world. Using our unique language learning experience, you can match with Spanish speakers and continue perfecting your use of the Spanish alphabet pronunciation. Tandem works to help our members foster a deeper understanding of language while improving fluency and building long-lasting friendships. All you need to do is sign up, match with a native speaker of your target language, and start communicating. To join our community and work on your fluency, sign up for Tandem today.

Letter in the AlphabetSpanish NameSpanish Pronunciation Tips
Aa volume_up a a is pronounced like saying “ahh” in English.
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