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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Spanish.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Lia.
In this lesson you'll learn the basics of Spanish writing.
The Spanish Alphabet
Just like English, Spanish uses Roman letters in its writing.
Unlike English, the Spanish alphabet has one additional letter called eñe, which appears after the letter N and before the letter O.
Latin Alphabet + ñ
This letter, looks like a regular n but with a tilde on top. It sounds like a combination between an N and a Y sound, like in the word “canyon.”
español (“Spanish”)
niño (“boy”)
mañana (“tomorrow/morning”)
Other than this one extra letter, the Spanish alphabet is essentially written the same as the English alphabet.
Punctuation Marks
For the most part, punctuation in Spanish is similar to English. A period marks the end of a sentence, and a comma indicates a pause. Exclamation and question marks, however, are a different story.
In English, we place an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence to denote that it is exclamatory.
We do the same thing for question marks to denote that the sentence is a question.
In Spanish, however, exclamation marks and question marks must be placed at the end AND at the beginning of the exclamatory phrase or question.
The inverted marks must be placed whenever a new exclamatory or question phrase is formed, even if it's within the same sentence.
¡Hola! y ¡Buenas noches! (“Hello! And goodnight!”)
Notice how this only applies to the phrase and not to the entire sentence itself.
Juan, ¿adónde vas? (“Juan, where are you going?”)
On the other hand, the ending marks still go at the end of the sentence regardless of whether the words are part of the question or not.
¿Adónde vas, Juan? (“Where are you going, Juan?”)
To indicate a sentence that is both a question and an exclamation, use both marks. Ensure that you're being consistent with which marks go on the inside and which go on the outside.
¿¡Y tú quién te crees que eres!? (“Who do you think you are!?”)
¡¿Y tú quién te crees que eres?! (“Who do you think you are?!”)
Compared to English, Spanish doesn't capitalize as many words as English does.
Let's go over a few cases where English capitalizes words when Spanish does not.
The days of the week and the months of the year are not capitalized in Spanish. For example...
Hoy es jueves, 23 de octubre. (“Today is Thursday, October 23.”)
Seasons of the year, are also not capitalized.
El invierno se acerca. (“Winter is coming.”)
Personal titles are not capitalized unless they are abbreviations.
señor - Sr.
señorita - Srta.
doctor - Dr.
Titles, such as those of a movie or book, capitalize the first word only. Every other word in the title is written in lowercase.
Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone”)
Names of countries and cities are capitalized, but names of languages are not.
Reino Unido (“UK”)
Hablo inglés. (“I speak English.”)
Spanish Accent Mark
Finally we come to the Spanish accent mark. Spanish uses a mark called the “acute” accent. It looks like a diagonal line which starts from the bottom left and rises towards the upper right.
This accent mark appears above the letter. More specifically, accents will only appear over the five vowels in Spanish.
á é í ó ú
The Spanish accent is used to indicate that the syllable which has the accent must be stressed. So always stress the syllable which has the accent.
médico (“physician”)
compró (“bought”)
Some words are spelled the same and sound the same, but have different meanings in Spanish.
el (“the”)
él (“he”)
In these situations, the accent is used to differentiate the two words, so it's clear exactly which word we're referring to.
mas (“but”)
más (“more”)
OK. So we've covered the main accent mark in Spanish, but what about these ones?
ñ ü
Don't be fooled by the first example. Even though it might look like an accent, it's just the letter eñe in Spanish.
The second example is an accent marker, and it's used to indicate that the U should be pronounced. This is because the letter U is usually silent when it comes after the letter G. Consider the following examples.
Notice how the U is silent in the first two examples...
...but pronounced in the last two.
Keep in mind though, that this accent only occurs in a few words that have the letters G and U together.
In this lesson, you learned that Spanish uses roman letters like English, with one additional letter.
Exclamation and question marks appear inverted at the beginning of the phrase, and upright at the end of the sentence.
Days, months, and seasons aren't capitalized in Spanish.
And the acute accent is used in Spanish mainly to indicate stress.
In the next lesson, you'll be entering Spanish boot camp, where you'll learn useful beginner phrases to get you speaking Spanish right away!
See you in the next lesson. Bye!