Pronunciation of Spanish Consonants  

Spanish and English consonants are generally pronounced the same, with a few exceptions. The following pronunciations are exceptions to the English language.

B & V have the exact same pronunciation. The sound is similar to the
English "b", but softer and with more of a “bv” combination sound. (vivir, beber).

C is pronounced as the English “k” when followed by “a”, “o”, or “u” (caja, colour and culebra). However, "c" is pronounced as the English “s” when followed by an “e” or an “i” (cerveza, cinta).

CH is pronounced as "ch" in "church".

D is pronounced softer in Spanish than in English. "D" after a vowel or at the end of the word is pronounced like the English "d", only much lighter (encarnado, Madrid).

G can be pronounced hard as in the English words goose or game, or soft as in the English words “gem” or “giraffe”. Different "g" sounds occur in the English language as well, according to the letters following the "g". As in English, the Spanish "g" is generally soft when followed by an “e” or an “i” and hard when followed by an “a”, “o” or “u”. The hard "g" pronunciation is the same in Spanish and English, whereas the soft "g" sound differs. The "g" in ganar (to win, earn) is the same as the English version in grape or gain. However, the soft "g" in Spanish is pronounced like the English letter “h”. For example, the soft "g" in gente (people) or gimnasio (gymnasium) is pronounced like the English “h” in head or hello.

An exception to the Spanish pronunciation rule exists when the letter "g" precedes the letters “ue” or “ui”. The Spanish g is a hard sound before the letters “e” or “i” if the letter “u” is placed after the "g" and before the “e” or “i”. The intent of the “u” after the "g" is to make the hard "g" sound and thus the “u” is not pronounced. The hard "g" sound exists and the “u” is silent as in the words guerilla and guitarra (guitar).

H in Spanish is always silent and not pronounced (hay is pronounced as “eye”).

J in Spanish is pronounced like the English “h” as in hello or hurry.

Ñ The Spanish letter ñ is pronounced like the “ny” in the word canyon or the “ni” in opinion (niño). It is listed after the letter "n" in the dictionary.

Qu is pronounced like the English “k” (química).

T as in “tea” is pronounced softer than the English equivalent (texto).

Note: The letters K and W do not exist in Spanish words unless the words originated in another country (kilómetro).

Double consonants

Spanish differs from English in that consonants are rarely doubled. In English, letters such as “t”, “s”, and “f” can be used singly or doubled to produce the same sound (attention, professor). The two Spanish letters, "ll" and "rr" appear to be doubled consonants, but are actually letters of the Spanish alphabet. The letter "ll" is pronounced like the English “y” in “yard”. The letter "rr" is pronounced with a rolling "r" sound. The tongue should be rolled to produce the rolling "r" sound for an "r" at the beginning of a word or when the letter "rr" is found within a word (pelirrojo).

In Spanish, a true double consonant does exist with the double "c". When pronouncing words with "cc" such as accidente and diccionario, the first "c" is pronounced hard like the English “k” and the second "c" is soft like the English “s”.

( - is it possible to replace accidente and diccionario?)




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Popular Phrase: learn spanish online | Pronouns in Spanish | Conjugated Verb: desviar - to divert, to dissuade [ click for full conjugation ]