vocales – as in English before the ‘great vowel shift’ (1400–1700); e.g., ‘bite’ was pronounced as we now say ‘beet’

a, e, and o are vocales abiertas – strong vowels; i and u are vocales cerradas – weak vowels.
  e.g. as in tongue
↕, ↔
 a  casa hat low, mid
e recto pen mid, front-mid
i vino meet high, front
o como not mid, mid-back
u gusta rule high, back

Semivowels (semivocales) may be transcribed in Spanish as [ i̭ ] and [ ṷ ], both with circumflex underneath, and constitute the second element of any decreasing diphthong in words, e.g., peine – comb.

Important diphthongs:
  e.g. sound
aa contraataque ah
ae aerodinámico ah-eh
ai bailar aye, y, /j/
au aplaudir, audiencia ow, w, /w/
ea ideal ayah
ee leemos ey, long ‘e’
ei veinte, comisteis eh, ‘a’ in ‘space’
ie comieron yeh
io adiós ‘i’-‘o’
oo coordinación long ‘o’
ua cuarenta, guapa wah
uo antiguo woe



Consonantes; generally similar to English, except:
  e.g. as in  
b/v bar, vino big b, softer than Eng., partial v in in word (not after n, m e.g., hombre)
c    +e or +i cero, cinco, cine thin ss in Latin Am.; cc is hard+soft (e.g., acción)
+others cuatro, casa cat c+u is almost a kw or q sound
ch mucho, leche chair  
d directo, adiós dog softer between vowels; final ‘d’ often softer, dropped, or th
g +a, +o, +u gato, gordo, gusta gap ‘hard’ g
+e or +i gente, ginebra loch gutteral, tending towards h sound
+ua or +uo guardia, antiguo gap ‘hard’ g, u is pronounced (see also ua and uo above)
+ue or +ui alguien, guerra, guitarra gap ‘hard’ g, u is not pronounced
+üe or +üi vergüenza, pingüino gap ‘hard’ g, u is pronounced
h hombre always silent
j joven, jugar loch gutteral, tending more towards h sound; exceptions like rojo
k kilo scatter only in loan words
ll paella, llamo foyer also like million, with hint of ‘j’  (i after ll is always stressed)
ñ España, año onion (i after ñ is always stressed)
qu que, queso kilo u is silent
r at start or rr rápido, barrio rose trilled
elsewhere señor, atrás, camarero rose softer, rolled
s before b d g l m n mismo, desde rose z sound, or ‘s’ in some dialects
elsewhere casa, salir same softer
w web web   only in loan words
z azúcar, luz, vez thin or ‘s’ in some dialects

pronunciation was last edited on 2020-08-31  
Topic: Spanish