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Pronunciation Patterns

Unlike English, Spanish follows pronunciation rules. Pronunciation in Spanish is one of the reasons why Spanish is a relatively easy language for English speakers to learn. First, pronounce each syllable with an even amount of stress or volume. Don’t vary the pitch like we do in English. The next step is that either the last syllable or the second to last syllable of each word will have a little more volume. For an example, think of the English word “coconut.” We’ve learned to say the first syllable, “co” a little louder than the other syllables. There aren’t any pronunciation rules in English to tell us how to say “coconut,” and there’s no logical reason why it shouldn’t be pronounced “co CO nut” or “co co NUT.” We just know that if we heard it pronounced those ways, we know it’s wrong. In English, you almost need to learn the pronunciation of each word individually, which is one of the reasons that English is a difficult language. Spelling is another reason. In Spanish, on the other hand, you just learn a few rules. If you don’t like learning rules, you can probably learn pronunciation by ear if you listen to Spanish podcasts or online Spanish lessons.

Here are the rules for pronouncing Spanish. If the Spanish word has an accent mark over a vowel, then you say that syllable with the accented letter a little louder. If the Spanish word ends in a vowel, an n, or an s, then you say the second to last syllable a little louder. If it ends in any other letter, then you say the last syllable a little louder.