Updated: Feb 23
Last time, I gave you a word to try and say. Do you remember? So, I asked you to say:
Right? Well, how did you say it? Did you say it like we normally do “Al-co-hol”? Of course, that’s not correct. Sorry! It’s the silent “h” that throws a lot of people of. Remember? “Hasta” isn’t said with the “H”, and is pronounced “Asta”. It’s the same with “Alcohol”. It’s said like this:
Weird I know, but hey, that’s Spanish for you. Fortunately, you’ll only get the odd word like this very rarely, so relax, you’re doing ok!
Anyway, back to the lesson. Today, I’ll be showing you the entire Spanish alphabet, and how you pronounce each word. Now, why am I doing this? Well, even though I know the theory, the grammar, and the sentence structures, I still have some difficulty when it comes to spelling, verbally. What I mean is spelling a word out loud.
What's So Important About The Alphabet?
When I worked for the shop last year, I dealt with a few Spaniards, and I’d ask them to spell a word for me, because I sometimes didn’t know how to spell it. They’d happily oblige, and I sometimes let them spell in Spanish, but every now and then I get confused with the pronunciation and use the wrong letter.
Not to mention, in Spanish classes at school, we’d breeze by the alphabet, because they’d have more important lessons to teach, especially about grammar. If you’ve ever gone to schools that teach Spanish, you’d have the same problem, even some apps and podcasts bypass the entire alphabet, because it’s just that easy. Let me tell you it’s actually not. It’s completely necessary, especially if your name has a lot of letters or combination of letters that are not “normal” in English. For example, you might be a Katherine, not a Catherine, or a Rochelle instead of a Rachel.
That’s why today’s post is all about the alphabet. So, you’ll get the letters you’ve learned previously, like the strange “ñ” or the silent “h”, I’ll even throw in the accents too, so you know how they spell out, out loud.
Here You Go!
Ok, let’s start with the vowels, since they’re easiest to remember:
Alright, let me break this down, how do you say “A”? Do you say it like “ay” as in “hay”? Yeah, so in Spanish, they don’t. In fact, I don’t think there’s any combination of letters that makes their “A” sound like “ay”. It’ll always have that “Ah” sound, as in “arm”. The same goes for all the other letters. So, the phonetic sounds are as you see them, like “eh” as in “end” or “ee” as in “bee”. The same goes with all the accented versions of the vowels. Remember? The accent only directs you to where you should put the stress on the word? So, “Está” and “Esta” are two completely different words.
Does that make sense? Alright here come the consonants. Now, these ones are a little trickier, since there are lots of ways you can say these letters, depending on the area of Spain you’re in, let alone the world (South Americans say “she” while mainland Spain say “theh” it’s all in the dialect!).
There you have it! The entire Spanish alphabet. Now, You’ve probably noticed that most of them have that “eh” sound, it’s so that you guys don’t get mixed up with the “E” in the pronunciation. I remember, when I first started trying to learn the alphabet’s phonetics, I would always ask myself is it “eh” or is it “ee”. You’ll get the hang of it, once you’ve remembered the difference, like whenever it’s an “ee” sound, you might find an “I” to replace it, and the “e” replaces the “eh” sound.
It’s all about practice, and repetition. So, go ahead, try spelling your names out loud and see how it goes. Try speaking to a Spanish native and spell your name out for them. They’ll be able to correct you, or at least understand you, and hey, it doesn’t hurt to try!
Well, there you go! I’ll leave that with you today. So well done! You’ve passed the basics for Spanish. Of course, there might be a few things I’ve forgotten to mention, but we’ll cover those when we start looking at vocabulary and grammar! I’m so excited! I’ll see you guys next time!