Special Spanish Pronunciation
Learn about special pronunciation issues in Spanish.
Here is a list of special Spanish pronunciations with explanations to help English speakers understand some unique sounds in the language:
RR (doble erre) - This letter combination represents a trilled or rolled 'r' sound. It is produced by vibrating the tip of the tongue against the alveolar ridge (the area just behind the upper front teeth).
Examples: perro (dog), carro (car).
R (ere/erre) - When 'r' appears at the beginning of a word or after 'l', 'n', or 's', it is also pronounced as a trilled or rolled 'r'.
Examples: rojo (red), alrededor (around).
LL (doble ele) - The pronunciation of 'll' varies depending on the dialect or region. In most parts of Spain and some Latin American countries, it is pronounced as a 'y' sound in English, while in other regions, it is pronounced closer to the English 'j' sound or even as 'sh' in some parts of Argentina.
Examples: llamar (to call), calle (street).
CH (che) - The 'ch' in Spanish is similar to the English 'ch' sound, as in 'chair' or 'cheese'.
Examples: chico (boy), leche (milk).
J (jota) - The 'j' in Spanish is pronounced like the English 'h' in 'house' but with more force and friction. In some regions, it may sound closer to the 'ch' sound in the German word 'Bach' or the 'ch' in the Scottish word 'loch'.
Examples: jamón (ham), jardín (garden).
Ñ (eñe) - This letter is unique to the Spanish alphabet and is pronounced like the 'ny' sound in the English word 'canyon'.
Examples: año (year), niño (child).
G (ge) - The pronunciation of 'g' in Spanish depends on the following vowel. When 'g' comes before 'a', 'o', or 'u', it is pronounced as a hard 'g', similar to the English 'g' in 'go'. When 'g' comes before 'e' or 'i', it is pronounced like the English 'h' in 'house'.
Examples: gato (cat), gente (people).
C (ce) - Similar to 'g', the pronunciation of 'c' in Spanish depends on the following vowel. When 'c' comes before 'a', 'o', or 'u', it is pronounced as a hard 'k' sound, as in 'cat'. When 'c' comes before 'e' or 'i', it is pronounced like the English 's' sound, as in 'sun'.
Examples: casa (house), cinco (five).
These special pronunciations are essential to understanding and speaking Spanish accurately. By familiarizing yourself with these sounds and practicing them, you'll improve your Spanish pronunciation and communication skills.
From Lesson: Spanish Alphabet and Pronunciation
Course Lesson List: Beginner Spanish 1.1
From Course: Beginner Spanish 1.1