Silent Letters

Letras silenciosas

Figuring out how to pronounce a new Spanish word is fairly easy, because there are consistent rules about how to pronounce each letter, and only two silent letters.

1. The letter H is always silent – the word is pronounced as if the h weren't there at all.

Por ejemplo…

hablar   speak
hermano   brother
helado   ice cream
hija   daughter
ahora   now
zanahoria   carrot

(However, note that, as in English, CH is a different sound than C).

2. The letter U is sometimes silent in Spanish, but it has a purpose. When a U is preceded by G and followed by the soft vowels E or I, the letter U is silent.

Por ejemplo…

guisantes   peas
droguería   drugstore
portugués   Portuguese

For a U followed by E or I to be pronounced, you need a dieresis.

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