blike 'b' in "bed": boca
cwhen followed by 'e' or 'i', like 'c' in "cell"
(Latin America) or 'th' in "thin" (Spain): cine; otherwise like
'k' in "kid": calle, doctor
chlike 'ch' in "touch": muchacho
dlike 'd' in "dog": dedo
flike 'f' in "fine": faro
gwhen followed by 'e' or 'i', like 'ch' in "loch"
(general = heh-neh-RAHL), otherwise like "g" in "go"
(gato). In the clusters "gue" and "gui", the "u"
is silent (guitarra), unless it bears a diaeresis, as in "güe"
and "güi" (pedigüeño).
gu, gülike 'Gu' in McGuire or 'w' in "wire"
hsilent: hora= or-ah
jlike 'h' in english: jamón
klike 'c' in "cat": kilo
llike 'l' in "love": lápiz
lllike 'y' in "you" or, occasionally
(in some parts of Latin America), like an english "j": lluvia
("lluvia" could be both "you-vya" or "jew-vIA"
mlike 'm' in "mother": mano
nlike 'n' in "nice", and like 'n' in
"anchor": noche, ancla
ñlike 'ny' in "canyon": cañón,
plike 'p' in "pig": perro
qlike 'q' in "quiche" (always with
a silent "u"): queso, pronounced KAY-so.
Spanish has two "r" sounds which are very different form their
counterparts in most languages, and certainly very different from the
English. As a result most English speakers lisp their r's when they come
to Spanish. However, if you use your native pronunciation it's unlikely
that people understand perro (dog) when you meant pero (but), and they
may not understand you at all.
single flap r (ere)
Always written "r", this sound is created by putting the tip
of the tongue up against where the front of the roof of the mouth meets
the upper teeth, very similar to the action English speakers make to pronounce
l or t. This is not widely taught but can be practiced by anyone. Particular
care should be taken when r appears after a consonant, eg in the word
otro (other). tr is a particular sound in English, which if you use in
Spanish will be an incomprehensible lisp. One must separate the two sounds
out, as in wha(t) (r) rubbish, clicking the r properly.
rolled r (erre)
Written "r" at the beginning of the word, or after "l",
"n", or "s" (ropa, enredo). Written "rr"
between vowels (cerro). It's a multiply vibrating sound. Whereas all English
can learn to tap out a single r it seems that many adult non-Spanish speakers
simply do not have the ability to vibrate the tongue in the way needed
to pronounce rr.
slike 'ss' in "hiss": sopa
tlike 't' in "top": tapa
vlike 'b' in "bed": vaca, pronounced
BAH-kah. To distinguish v from b when spelling, one says v chica or b
grande to know the difference.
wlike 'w' in "weight" in English words,
whisky (pronounced WEESS-kee). Like 'b' in "bed" in Germanic
xlike 'x' in "sex" (sexo). Like 'ss'
in "hiss" at beginning of a word (xilófono). Like 'ch'
in "loch" in the words México, mexicano, Oaxaca, and
ylike 'y' in "yes": payaso. Like 'y'
in "boy": hoy.
zlike 's' in "supper" (Latin America),
like 'th' in "thin" (Spain): zorro. See c above.