Spanish Alphabet

Listening to Spanish speakers roll their Rs and sound out other letters, you may be tempted to think that the Spanish alphabet is mysterious and exotic, but you would be wrong. The 27-letter alphabet, which is based off the Latin alphabet, does have a few extra Spanish letters, but it is almost the same as the English alphabet with a few exceptions. Pronunciation of individual letters is also strikingly similar with a few exceptions. Note that the provided alphabet list below offers phonetic pronunciation; the actual spelling for each letter is similar but not the same.

The Spanish alphabet and phonetic pronunciation:

Aa: ah
Bb: beh
Cc: she
CHch: che
Dd: deh
Ee: eh
Ff: efeh
Gg: heh
Hh: acheh
Ii: ee
Jj: hota
Kk: kah
Ll: eleh
LLll: eyeh
Mm: emeh
Nn: eneh
Ññ: enyeh
Oo: oh
Pp: peh
Qq: cu
Rr: erreh
Ss: eseh
Tt: teh
Uu: uu
Vv: uveh
Ww: doble-uu or uveh-doble
Xx: equis
Yy: yeh
Zz: zetah

In the alphabet above there are two extra letters listed, making a grand total of 29 letters. Of the three extra letters, CHch, LLll, and Ññ, Ññ is the most well-known and is considered an official letter. The other two are not always listed as letters in Spanish alphabet guides, but you may come across them in older alphabet listings.

The history of the letter Ññ can be especially interesting to a history buff studying Spanish words. Originally a line above the letter, also called a tilde, such as the ones used over an Nn denoted double letters in a word. Over time the tilde was dropped from other double letters, and eventually it began to represent sound instead. Some examples of Spanish words that came to use the letter Ññ are:

Araña: Spider
Niña/Niño: Girl/Boy
Baño: Bathroom
Año: Year
Piñata: Piñata
Señor/Señora: Older man/Older woman can also be used for Sir/Madam
Señorita: Young lady/Miss
Piña: Pineapple

With only one major deviation from the English alphabet the Spanish alphabet can be a quick study. Even pronunciation of the letters is largely phonetic and simple for students to pick up on. Since the alphabet is one of the first things you will study as you learn Spanish it may feel like a daunting task to begin with, but once you see all the familiar letters you will quickly realize that learning the alphabet will be one of your easiest Spanish lessons.

Spanish Alphabet Chart

Spanish Lexicon

Spanish Name

English
Approximation

Spanish Example

Memorization Tips

A,
a

a

blond

damos

always
open, like the ‘o’ of ‘hot’
(i.e. ‘ah’); never the closed ‘a’ sound of ‘hate’

B,
b

be

boy

bueno

the same as the
English ‘b’; also, the same as the Spanish ‘v’

C,
c

ce

face

hace

the soft ‘c’ or ’s’
sound

care

calor

the hard ‘c’ or ‘k’
sound

D,
d

de

dangle

diente

the ‘d’ in Spanish is
equivalent to the ‘d’ in English

E,
e

e

say

brillante

always
the closed ‘a’ sound of ‘ape’;
never the open “e” sound of ‘get’

F,
f

efe

fork

falda

the ‘f’ sound in the
Spanish is equivalent to the ‘f’ and ‘ph’ sound in English

G,
g

ge

herald

escoge

like
the ‘h’ in English, but slightly guttural

gale

gato

this
hard ‘g’ sound is equivalent to the hard ‘g’ in English

H,
h

hache

rhapsody

hora

the ‘h’ in Spanish is
always silent, like the silent ‘h’ in English

I,
i

i

meet

imponer

the
‘i’ in Spanish is always the ‘ee’ sound; never the open ‘i’ of
‘hit’,
nor the closed sound of ‘bite’

J,
j

jota

hope

julio

the ‘j’ in Spanish is
similar to the ‘h’ in Englis, except the Spanish ‘j’ is harsher,
slightly gutteral

K,
k

ka

coat

kilogramo

the hard ‘c’ or ‘k’,
like in English

L,
l

ele

lady

lograr

the ‘l’ in Spanish is
the same as in English

LL,
ll

elle

shove

llover

between
the ‘yuh’ sound of ‘y’ and the ’shuh’ in english

M,
m

eme

morning

martes

the ‘m’ in Spanish is
equivalent to the ‘m’ in English

N,
n

ene

nature

noche

the ‘n’ in Spanish is
the same as in English

ñ,
ñ

ñ

canyon,
unyoke

niño

unlike any single
letter in English, the ‘ñ’ must be distinguished from the
‘n’

O,
o

o

home

hablo

always
the closed ‘o’ of ‘hope’;
never the open ‘o’ of ‘hop’

P,
p

pe

parent

persona

the Spanish ‘p’ is
the same as the English

Q,
q

cu

take

trueque

always the hard ‘k’
sound; although always followed by the ‘u’, the ‘u’ is always
silent

R,
r

ere

NONE

rodeando

the ‘r’ in Spanish
requires the tip of the tongue to touch the front part of the roof
of the mouth

S,
s

ese

single

sonido

always
the soft ’s’ of ‘sound’
never the ‘z’ sound of ‘lands

T,
t

te

touch

tomar

the Spanish ‘t’ is
equivalent to the ‘t’ in English

U,
u

u

tube

suponer

always
the ‘oo’ sound of ‘fume’;
never the open ‘u’ sound of ‘upper’,
nor the closed ‘u’ of ‘unicycle’

V,
v

ve

big

ver

b,
like the English ‘b’; there is no phonetic difference between the
‘b’ and ‘v’ in Spanish

W,
w

ve
doble

water

water

only
used for foreign words, sounds like w or v in English

X,
x

equis

expresar

express

ex,
the hard consonant, as in English

xylophone

xenófobo

the
soft ‘c’ or ’s’, not vibrating ‘z’ of buzz

Y,
y

i
griega

yellow

yegua

the ‘yuh’ sound, very
similar to the English, sometimes with a soft ’sh’

Z,
z

zeta

zumbio

lace

the ’ss’ of ’s’,
never the ‘z’ of ‘buzz’

Spanish Ordinal Numbers







Abbreviated
English Numeral

English Ordinal
Number

Spanish Ordinal
Number

Abbreviated
Spanish Numeral

1st

first

primer, -o, -a

2nd

second

segundo, -a

3rd

third

tercero, -a; tercio,
-a

4th

fourth

quarto, -a

5th

fifth

quinto, -a

6th

sixth

sexto, -a

7th

seventh

séptimo, -a

8th

eighth

octavo, -a

9th

ninth

noveno, -a

10th

tenth

décimo, -a

10°

11th

eleventh

undécimo, -a

11°

12th

twelfth

duodécimo, -a

12°

13th

thirteenth

decimotercero, -a

13°

14th

fourteenth

decimoquarto, -a

14°

15th

fifteenth

decimoquinto, -a

15°

16th

sixteenth

decimosexto, -a

16°

17th

seventeenth

decimoséptimo,
-a

17°

18th

eighteenth

decimoctavo, -a

18°

19th

nineteenth

decimonoveno, -a

19°

20th

twentieth

vigésimo, -a

20°

21st

twenty-first

vigésimo
primero

21°

22nd

twenty-second

vigésimo
segundo

22°

23rd

twenty-third

vigésimo
tercero

23°

24th

twenty-fourth

vigésimo
quarto

24°

25th

twenty-fifth

vigésimo
quinto

25°

26th

twenty-sixth

vigésimo
sexto

26°

27th

twenty-seventh

vigésimo
séptimo

27°

28th

twenty-eighth

vigésimo
octavo

28°

29th

twenty-ninth

vigésimo
noveno

29°

30th

thirtieth

trigésimo, -a

30°

40th

fortieth

cuadragésimo,
-a

40°

50th

fiftieth

cincuagésimo,
-a

50°

60th

sixtieth

sexagésimo,
-a

60°

70th

seventieth

septuagésimo,
-a

70°

80th

eightieth

octogésimo,
-a

80°

90th

ninetieth

nonagésimo,
-a

90°

100th

one-hundredth

centésimo,
-a; centeno, -a

100°

200th

two-hundredth

ducentésimo,
-a

200°

300th

three-hundredth

tricentésimo,
-a

300°

400th

four-hundredth

cuadricentésimo,
-a

400°

500th

five-hundredth

quingentésimo,
-a

500°

600th

six-hundredth

sexcentésimo,
-a

600°

700th

seven-hundredth

septingentésimo,
-a

700°

800th

eight-hundredth

octingentésimo,
-a

800°

900th

nine-hundredth

noningentésimo,
-a

900°

1000th

one-thousandth

milésimo, -a

1000°