Advanced Pronunciation

Pronunciación avanzada

Spanish pronunciation is phonemic, meaning that according to the pronunciation rules, in a given use, each letter is always pronounced a certain way. Many Spanish letters have only one pronunciation, making them especially easy to learn. But certain consonants have two pronunciations depending on where/how they are used. That's what this lesson is about. Take a look at this summary of "dual-pronunciation" letters, and then click on the individual letters for more in-depth explanations.

Letter Sound Usage
B, V [b] beginning of word or after consonant
      Similar English sound
bien good   boy
árbol tree    
vosotros you (plural)    
invierno winter    
     
B, V bilabial fricative everywhere else
      Similar English sound
hablar speak   n/a
problema problem    
nueve nine    
noventa ninety    
       
Letter Sound Usage
C [th] preceding E or I
      Similar English sound
once eleven   ounce
diciembre December    
       
C [k] preceding A, O, U, or consonant
      Similar English sound
como eat   cat
cuatro four    
octubre October    
       
Letter Sound Usage
D [d] beginning of word or after L or N
      Similar English sound
dos two   dog
cuándo when   had
falda skirt   welding
       
D [TH] everywhere else
      Similar English sound
adiós goodbye   this
perdón excuse   bathe
salud health    
       
Letter Sound Usage
G [g] preceding A, O, U, or consonant
      Similar English sound
agosto August   ago
agua water   go
galleta cookie   guy
grande big   great
       
G [kh] preceding E or I
      Similar English sound
gente people   ch in loch
gigante giant    
       
Letter Sound Usage
S [z] preceding B, D, G, L, M, N
      Similar English sound
mismo same   rose
desde since   cause
       
S [s] everywhere else
      Similar English sound
escuela school   house
gris grey   some
sombrero hat    
       
Letter Sound Usage
X [ks] n/a
      Similar English sound
éxito success   axe
excepto except   mix
       
X [gz] n/a
      Similar English sound
exacto exact   exact
exigir demand   example

Please note that this lesson is only a guideline for the Spanish that I know, which is Castilian Spanish. There are many regional variations in Spanish pronunciation.

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