The Spanish Alphabet Explained

Spanish Alphabet

The Spanish alphabet is the cornerstone of the Spanish language, and the good news is that it is quite easy for English speakers to learn. This is because the majority of the letters are same as English, and they have similar sounds. However, there are some important differences and it is important that you pay attention to understanding exactly what these are.

Making sure that you know the correct names and pronunciation of the Spanish letters will give you a good foundation upon which to base your future Spanish education. If you ever need to spell a word out loud, or listen to someone else spelling a word for you, then you will need to know the Spanish alphabet.

Names and pronunciation of Spanish vowels

Letter

Name

Pronunciation

Example

A

A

Like “a” in “father”

Nada (nothing)

E

E

Like “e” in “met”

Leche (milk)

I

I

Like “ee” in “see”

Idioma (language)

O

O

Like “o” in “no”

Poco (little)

U

U

Like “ue” in “sue”

Rubio (blond)

Spanish letters that are only used in words of English origin

K

Ka

The same as in English, because “k” only appears in Spanish in words that are of English origin, such as “kiosko” (kiosk)

W

Uve doble

The same as in English, because “w” only appears in Spanish in words that are of English origin.

Letters in the Spanish alphabet that are similar to English

B

Be

Like “b” in “beach”

Bien (good)

D

De

Like “d” in “dog”

Dar (to give)

F

Efe

Like “f” in “fire”

Febrero (February)

L

Ele

Like “ll” in “call”

Listo (ready)

M

Eme

Like “m” in “mob”

Mano (hand)

N

Ene

Like “n” in “no”

Con (with)

P

Pe

Like “p” in “pot”

Pero (but)

S

Ese

Like “s” in “salt”

Ser (to be)

T

Te

Like “t” in “stop”

Todo (all)

Y

I Griega

Like “y” in “yes” (although there are some regional variations)

Yo (I)

Letters in the Spanish alphabet that are different to English

C

Ce

There is a hard and soft “C” sound. If it comes before the letters A, O or U then it is similar to the English “K” sound.

If it comes before E or I, then it is soft, like an “s” sound. In some parts of Spain the soft sound is like “th” in “thin”.

Casa (house)

Cuello (neck)

Cerveza (beer)

CH

Ce Hache

Like “ch” in “church”

Chico (boy)

G

Ge

Like “g” in “go”, except for when it comes before I or E and then it is like the “h” in “hot”

Gato (cat)

Gente (people)

H

Hache

The “h” in Spanish is always silent

Hola (hello)

J

Jota

Like “h” in “hot”

Tarjeta (card)

LL

Elle

Mostly like “y” in “yellow”. Except for in Argentina where it is like “z” in “azul”

Calle (street)

Ñ

Eñe

Like “ny” in “canyon”

Año (year)

Q

Cu

Like “k” in “kit”

Quien (who)

R

Erre

Like “dd” in “ladder”. When it is the first letter of the word, then it is often trilled.

Pero (but)

Raro (strange)

V

Uve

Like “b” in “beach”

Vino (wine)

X

Equis

Mostly like “ks” in “talks”

Exacto (exact)

Z

Zeta

SPAIN – Like “th” in “think”

LATIN AMERICA – Like “s” in “see”

Cabeza (head)

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