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Spanish Alphabet & Orthography
Transcript of Spanish Alphabet & Orthography
You should commit all of these rules to memory. Through learning to apply these rules, you will begin to develop a native-like intuition. We will further strengthen that "intuition" when we reach prefixes/suffixes and word-building. Please do not simply cram and memorize them for the test. You should know them through and through, because similar to what you would encounter in real-life conversation, you will be required to apply these rules with very little time to think.
How'd you score?
Internalize these rules of orthography, pronunciation, accentuation, and syllabification. They will help you in the long run.
Spanish Pronunciation, Orthography, & Syllabification
There are 5 main vowel sounds in Spanish:
Strong + Strong = Hiatus
The 5 vowels are divided into
Strong - A, E, O
Weak - I, U
Weak + Weak = Diphthong
When this happens, follow the normal rules of word stress.*
When this happens, the stress falls on the second vowel.*
Q: What about Strong + Weak combinations?
A: Those also form
When this happens, the stress falls on the strong vowel.*
*Diphthongs are pronounced as a single syllable.*
*Remember, diphthongs are pronounced as a single vowel.
sounds like q
sounds like th
1 ) Words that end in any consonant other than N or S are stressed on the last syllable.
delantal, hablar, salud
2 ) Words that end in a vowel, S, or N are stressed on the penultimate syllable.*
3 ) An accent mark, or tilde, must be used to override the first two rules.
AE – AI – AO – AU
EA – EE – EI – EO – EU
IA – IE – IO – IU
OA – OE – OI – OU
UA – UE – UI – UO
pen to mark the diphthongs and a
pen to mark the hiatus.
Consonant + Vowel Combos
Consonants can be divided into two categories:
Hard B sounds like the B in
Hard D sounds like the D in
Hard G sounds like the G in
Hard C sounds like the C in
Soft G sounds like the English H
Soft C sounds like the English S
G & C sound "hard" when paired with A, O, or U
B & D sound "hard" after a pause in speech
G & C sound "soft" when paired with E or I*
*You may hear
INK by Spaniards
*Study these EXTRA hard!
Knowing these combinations
will help tremendously
when we get to verb conjugations.
I can't stress enough how important these are!
If you do NOT learn these now, you WILL end up losing points in the future due to spelling mistakes, trust me.
You've been warned.
sounds like CA
by itself is
sounds like a purring cat
Tricky Spanish Consonants
B see section on hard and soft consonants
C see section on hard and soft consonants
D see section on hard and soft consonants
F sounds like F
G see section on hard and soft consonants
J sounds like English H
K is typically only used in loan words
L sounds like L
M sounds like M
N sounds like N*
P sounds like P
Q sounds like K
R sounds like MA
S sounds like S
T is not aspirated unlike the English T; it sounds thicker
V see B
W sounds like W; typically only used in loan words
X sounds like X; may be pronounced like English H
Y sounds like Spanish LL
Z sounds like S*
does not exist in Spanish;
is used instead
does not exist in Spanish
Two Rules of Thumb
1 ) A word cannot begin with S + Consonant
2 ) No consonants are doubled except C and N
Nearly all words that end with N will be stressed on the
syllable and will contain a tilde override for breaking rule 2.
Try reading the following words aloud:
Pronouncing the H when it should be silent WILL cost you points in the future. Build good pronunciation habits from the beginning!
Spanish vowels are ALWAYS pronounced
. This means they are pronounced abruptly and not drawn out.
The difference can be illustrated by listening to the difference between the words:
*If this rule is broken, the diphthong must contain a tilde override.
To pronounce the B when it appears between two vowels, your lips should ALMOST touch, but not quite.
When B appears at the beginning of the word (and is the first word uttered after a pause), it sounds like an English B.
When D appears between two vowels, it should be pronounced like the
When D appears at the beginning of the word (and is the first word uttered after a pause), it sounds like an English D.
For example, the two B's in "bebé" are pronounced differently.
For example, the two D's in "dedo" are pronounced differently.
You made it!!!
When two vowels are combined, they form either a
. The vowels in a diphthong are pronounced as a single syllable, while those in a hiatus are pronounced as separate syllables.
Only one strong vowel per syllable; strong vowels are always separated. Note, vowels can be their own syllable.
Whenever possible, start a syllable with a consonant followed by a vowel.
Separate doubled consonants unless there is a word in Spanish that can begin with that consonant cluster.
A consonant between two vowels belongs to the second vowel's syllable
1 ) fuiste
2 ) diversion
3 ) genio
4 ) caida
5 ) pronunciacion
6 ) tocar
7 ) emergencia
8 ) quemado
9 ) carpeta
10 ) museo
11 ) estudioso
12 ) acuerdo
Divide the following words into syllables and put an accent mark, or
, where necessary:
Stress naturally falls on penultimate syllable, because word ends in a vowel; no accent mark is needed
U and I are both weak vowels, so they form a diphthong
Since U + I form a diphthong, they share a syllable
Doubled consonants are separated
1 ) fuis-te
Write down the list of words as I say them aloud. Then, divide them into syllables and include the appropriate accent marks.
Write down the word pairs as I say them aloud.
Here, you will master the basics of Spanish orthography, pronunciation, accentuation, and syllabification. These tools will be the key to your success in this language.
The is your cue to take notes.