The Spanish Alphabet

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The First Step towards Mastering Spanish

Are you about to start learning Spanish, or have you missed out on properly learning the Spanish alphabet? Then you’ve come to right place!

The Spanish letters and their pronunciation are the basis of the whole Spanish language and it is essential to know them in order to become fluent in Spanish.

This topic is part of our free 2-week online course for beginners, which is based on our “24 Level System to Spanish Fluency”. You are currently at level 1 (A1.1), studying the Spanish Alphabet!

But let’s start off with some basic information about the Spanish Alphabet.
The Spanish alphabet is called “abecedario” or “alfabeto”.

How many letters are in the Spanish Alphabet?

The Spanish Alphabet consists of 27 letters (22 consonants and 5 vowels) and 30 sounds. The three additional sounds are the CH (che), the LL (elle) and the RR (erre).

What are the letters in the Spanish Alphabet?

The 27 letters in the Spanish Alphabet are: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.

As you may have noticed, that’s one more letter than in the English alphabet! The Spanish alphabet has  an additional letter: ñ

What is the letter ñ?

The ñ (eñe) is an n with a so-called tilde (~) placed over it and is used only in the Spanish language.

We will show you how to pronounce each of these letters, which also depends on the position they have in a word, give you examples of their use and make you practice their pronunciation with interactive exercises.

How to Say the Spanish Alphabet?

Let’s get started! Read the table below, you will find the letters in the abecedario, along with their Spanish name(s):

El Abecedario

A
(a)

B
(be)

C
(ce)

D
(de)

E
(e)

F
(efe)

G
(ge)

H
(hache)

I
(i)

J
(jota)

K
(ka)

L
(ele)

M
(eme)

N
(ene)

Ñ
(eñe)

O
(o)

P
(pe)

Q
(cu)

R
(erre)

S
(ese)

T
(te)

U
(u)

V
(uve)

W
(uve doble)

X
(equis)

Y
(i griega/ye)

Z
(zeta)

A
(a)

B
(be)

C
(ce)

D
(de)

E
(e)

F
(efe)

G
(ge)

H
(hache)

I
(i)

J
(jota)

K
(ka)

L
(ele)

M
(eme)

N
(ene)

Ñ
(eñe)

O
(o)

P
(pe)

Q
(cu)

R
(erre)

S
(ese)

T
(te)

U
(u)

V
(uve)

W
(uve doble)

X
(equis)

Y
(i griega/ye)

Z
(zeta)

In the following exercises, you can practice spelling:

Now try to spell your own name in Spanish. It isn’t difficult, right?

  • Sandra
  • Amanda
  • Juanjo
  • Kateryn
  • Laura
  • Daphne

💡 Keep on practicing

If you want to keep on practicing, have a look at the exercises “Entonación y deletreo” from Instituto Cervantes and “Practice spelling in Spanish” on YouTube.

How to Pronounce the Spanish letters?

Now that we know the letter names, let us focus on how to pronounce each letter alone and in combination with others. This is an essential step when learning any language in order to acquire good pronunciation habits. The Spanish language is quite easy to pronounce.

How to pronounce the Spanish vowels?

As mentioned before, the Spanish Alphabet contains five vowels or vocales. They have only one sound each. Have a look at the following chart and read, listen and repeat the words:

Listen & repeat

A

arbol.jpg
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Árbol

E

elefante-1.jpg
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Elefante

I

iglesia.jpg
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Iglesia

O

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Ojo

U

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Uvas

How to pronounce the Spanish consonants?

El abecedario also consists of twenty-two consonants or consonantes, many of them sound the same in Spanish as in English. Listen and repeat the words below:

B

barco.jpg
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Barco

C

casa.jpg
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Casa

D

dinero.jpg
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Dinero

F

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Familia

G

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Gato

H

huevo.jpg
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Huevo

J

jamon.jpg
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Jamón

K

kiwi.jpg
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Kiwi

L

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León

M

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Mano

N

nube.jpg
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Nube

Ñ

espana.jpg
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España

P

pera.jpg
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Pera

Q

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Queso

R

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Rana

S

sol.jpg
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Sol

T

tigre.jpg
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Tigre

V

vino.jpg
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Vino

W

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Wifi

X

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Taxi

Y

yogur.jpg
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Yogur

Z

zorro.jpg
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Zorro

Some of these consonantes are a bit tricky and they are pronounced differently, so here you have some tips to help you pronounce them:

How to pronounce Hache (H)?

The letter Hache (H) is silent. If it stands after the letter Ce (C), it is not. The combination Ch is basically the same as the [ch] in English words such as “church”.

In more detail: this letter is silent and is never aspirated, then, we can say that hache is a letter but not a sound.

Try with the following words, listen and repeat:

hablar.jpg
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Hablar

helado.jpg
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Helado

hierba.jpg
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Hierba

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Hoja

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Huevo

However, the letter H after the letter C is not silent. This combination (ch) is not considered a letter anymore, but it is a sound. Ch is basically the same as the [ch] in English words such as “church”.

Practice with the words below, then listen and check.

duchar.jpg
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Ducha

leche.jpg
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Leche

chinaa.jpg
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China

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Chocolate

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Lechuga

In the following exercise, you can practice to pronounce the Hache (H):

  • Hola
  • Chaqueta
  • Hada
  • Chile
  • Habla
  • Hospital
  • Chatarra
  • Hielo
  • Chuches
  • Hombre
  • Coche
  • Pinche


How to pronounce Ce (C)?

When followed by A, O or U, it sounds like the English K. Before E or I, it is pronounced [θ], like the TH sound in English.

So the letter Ce (C) has two different pronunciations. First, it often sounds like the English K. That is when it is followed by the vowels A, O or U, as you can see and hear below.

Read & listen & check:

casa.jpg
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Casa

coche.jpg
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Coche

cuna.jpg
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Cuna

However, before E or I, it sounds differently. It is pronounced [θ], like the TH sound in the English verb to think (or as an S in some parts of Spain and South America).

Read the following words, then listen to check:

cerezas.jpg
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Cerezas

ciervo.jpg
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Ciervo

One question arises here, what about the [ke] and [ki] sounds? They do also exist in the Spanish language; however, you should bare in your mind that these sounds are not written with a C but with the letter Q followed by U. This letter is always followed by the letter U and sounds like English K.

Practice with these words, listen and repeat:

queso.jpg
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Queso

mosquito.jpg
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Mosquito

In the following exercises, you can practice to pronounce the Ce (C):

  • Cielo
  • Corazón
  • Bosque
  • Cama
  • Química
  • Cero
  • Correr
  • Cuerpo
  • Aquí
  • Cosa
  • Cucaracha
  • Quinto

How to pronounce Ge (G) and Jota (J)?

The letter Ge (G) and Jota (J) are both pronounced like H [x] if they stand before E and I. Ge (G) followed by A, O and U sounds like G [g].

Let’s take a further look: The letter G, before the vowels E and I, coincides with the pronunciation of the letter J. They are both pronounced [x], like the H in hat (but harder).

In the following examples you will see that G and J are different letters pronounced with the same sound (only when followed by E and I).

Listen and repeat:

genio.jpg
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Genio

tijeras.jpg
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Tijeras

gimnasia.jpg
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Gimnasia

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Jirafa

The letter G, followed by the rest of vowels, sounds like the G in the word good [g].

Read the words below, then listen to check.

gato.jpg
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Gato

gorila.jpg
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Gorila

guantes.jpg
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Guantes

This sound [g] is also possible in combination with E and I. You will find this sound whenever you see a GUE or GUI written in a Spanish word.

Listen and repeat:

guerrero.jpg
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Guerrero

guitarra.jpg
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Guitarra

In the following exercise, you can practice to pronounce the Ge (G) and Jota (J):

  • Guerrero
  • Juguete
  • Joya
  • Giro
  • Monje
  • Guapa
  • Gota
  • Jungla
  • Guitarra
  • Tijeras

To sum up, this chart gives you a printable overview of the Spanish alphabet: the letters, their names and examples for their use.

Spanish-Alphabet-Overview
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Well done! You’ve just laid the foundation for your Spanish learning journey! Now it’s time to build on it. 

The most effective way to learn Spanish online is signing up for an online Spanish course. Our online courses from Let’s Speak Spanish are a unique combination of self-learning, live webinars and teacher and community support. They’re based on our “24 Level System to Spanish Fluency“ in which we divide the first four levels of the CERT (A1, A2, B1, B2) into 24 more detailed levels.

You will achieve the very first level by completing our FREE 2-week online course for beginners, which is designed for anyone who has little to no knowledge of Spanish. It offers clear and comprehensive content to help you gain a basic knowledge of the Spanish language. At the end of the course, you will be able to understand and use everyday expressions and phrases and you will be able to have fundamental conversations.

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