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Learn the Spanish Alphabet from A to Z!

Learning to speak a new language is exciting; learning to write a new language is even more exciting! It will open new worlds for you. So, dig into these tips and advice for learning how to master the Spanish alphabet easily - at SpanishPod101 we make it easy, fun and relevant for you!

Starting anything from scratch can be challenging, especially if you learn how to write in a language completely different from your own. It is really like navigating through a territory that is completely unknown to you.

However, this need not be a big hurdle or a problem! At SpanishPod101, we introduce you to Spanish writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Spanish alphabet completely from the start.

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Introduction

The Spanish alphabet consists of twenty-seven letters (five vowels and twenty-two consonants). We use all of the letters in the Spanish alphabet also in the English alphabet, with the exception of . In addition, there are three two-letter combinations called digraphs that we traditionally analyze as single units: -ch, -ll, and -rr.

We stress Spanish words according to two patterns. The first regular pattern is for words that end in one of the five vowels, an -n, or an -s: we stress these words on the second-to-last syllable. This accounts for the vast majority of Spanish words. The second regular stress pattern is for words that do not end in a vowel, an -n, or an -s, and we stress those words on the final syllable. We write words that do not follow the two regular stress patterns listed above with an accent mark over the vowel of the syllable in question.

In addition to accent marks indicating stress, a few Spanish words carry a written accent to distinguish homonyms (e.g., definite article el vs. subject pronoun él).

Spanish Alphabet Chart

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.

① The Spanish alphabet and phonetic pronunciation:

  • A (a): ah
  • B (b): beh
  • C (c): she
  • CH (ch): che
  • D (d): deh
  • E (e): eh
  • F (f): efeh
  • G (g): heh
  • H (h): acheh
  • I (i): ee
  • J (j): hota
  • K (k): kah
  • L (l): eleh
  • LL (ll): eyeh
  • M (m): emeh
  • N (n): eneh
  • Ñ (ñ): enyeh
  • O (o): oh
  • P (p): peh
  • Q (q): cu
  • R (r): erreh
  • S (s): eseh
  • T (t): teh
  • U (u): uu
  • V (v): uveh
  • W (w): doble-uu or uveh-doble
  • X (x): equis
  • Y (y): yeh
  • Z (z): 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

② Spanish Alphabet Chart:

Lexicon
(Name)

English
Approx.

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’

Why is Learning the Spanish Alphabet Important?

AlphabetA language’s alphabet is its building blocks. Trying to learn how to write in Spanish without first learning its alphabet is a bit like trying to build a brick house without touching the individual bricks! It is impossible to do a good job that way. So don’t believe language schools and methods that try to teach you otherwise. You will regret it later.

Also, once you start recognizing symbols and words, you will be encouraged by your own progress and motivated to learn even faster. Even just learning the basics of the alphabet will allow you to start recognizing simple Spanish words, and it will feel great!

Furthermore, knowing the alphabet even helps with pronunciation, as learning the individual letters of any language will start uncovering nuances and intricacies that are not always apparent when you’re simply listening to the words.

Completely mastering the Spanish alphabet, no matter how long it takes, will give you an excellent head start in learning how to write and read the language. It will offer you a solid foundation on which to build the other language skills, so set a goal to learn the alphabet so well that you’re able to recite it in your sleep!

Read on for helpful tips and secrets to learning the Spanish alphabet quickly and effectively.

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3 Reasons to Learn Spanish Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Spanish lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Spanish through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve download the Spanish lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Spanish using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Spanish Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Spanish lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Spanish lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Spanish using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Spanish at SpanishPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

Secrets to Learning the Spanish Alphabet Fast

SecretWith a language, like with anything you have to learn from scratch, having a few mnemonic devices handy are key to learning it fast. A mnemonic device is basically any method or technique that helps you to retain or commit something to memory more easily.

Here are a few mnemonic devices to memorize the Spanish alphabet so you can speed up learning how to write in Spanish.

① Find and Learn an Alphabet Song or Poem in Spanish

Can you still remember your childhood alphabet song in your own language? The best way to commit it to memory so you can recite it is still your mom or first teacher’s way - with music, a song and/or a poem! Find a recording and learn to sing the song, or recite the poem along as best as you can. Ask your SpanishPod101 teacher to help you understand exactly what you are singing or saying, and soon you’ll have reciting the alphabet under your belt! Repeat it out loud as often as possible.

However, you still need to learn how to write it.

② Study a Few Letters At a Time

Remember when you were young and learning to write for the first time? You didn’t start with words or sentences; you started with letters, one at a time!

Decide on tackling only a few letters each week, and then don’t move on from these till you are completely familiar with them. Don’t take on too many at once, or you may become discouraged. Also, remember to ask your teacher at SpanishPod101 if you have questions!

Learn to incidentally spot the letters in books, road signs (If you’re living in the country), magazines, on TV, anywhere you encounter written Spanish. Remember to write them out!

③ Write Out the Letters of the Alphabet By Hand

Make it a goal to write out your week’s letters at least once a day, and commit to this goal. You can also do it every time you have a free moment. Get yourself a special notebook for this purpose that you can carry with you anywhere you go. Sitting on the train or bus? Waiting for someone somewhere? Whip out your notebook and write the Spanish alphabet, or the letters you are learning. Aim for about 20 repetitions, while silently saying the letter in your head as you write it out. This way, you will soon be able to form and write words all by yourself! Exciting, isn’t it?

Writing something down with a pen also seems to engrave it in the brain in a way that nothing else does. As an added benefit, it gives you the satisfaction of seeing a new language in your own writing!

Once you’ve mastered the whole alphabet, commit to writing it out in its entirety at least once a day, for at least one month. More repetitions are obviously better.

④ Involve Your Whole Body

Research has shown that the more senses and actions we use to learn something, the quicker the new information sticks in the memory and becomes habitual. To apply this principle while learning the Spanish alphabet, write out huge letters by tracing them in the soil, or with chalk on the floor. Now, while saying the letter out loud, walk on the lines you have just traced. In this way, you ‘write’ the letter by moving your whole body!

Having fun just makes it even easier to learn something, so why not ‘write’ the letters out with dance steps while moving to your favorite Spanish music!

This is a simple trick that seems silly, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will commit intricate letters to memory this way. It really works!

⑤ Use Associations To Memorize Letters

This technique would involve saying the Spanish letter out loud, and then thinking of a word in your own language that sounds the same as the letter. That would then create a phonic association that should make it easier for you to remember the letter. Better even if the association is something you can draw or picture.

If the script of the new alphabet is very different from your own, look at it closely, and see if you can find an image that the letter reminds you of

⑥ Now Have Fun Trying To Write Words!

Try to write words from your own language in Spanish, and ask your friendly SpanishPod101 teachers for feedback! Or post them on the forum and see if anyone can read them. You will be so pleased with yourself when you start writing words that are readable and recognizable by native speakers.

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