Vowel-Consonant and Vowel-Vowel Combinations in Spanish.



So far we have seen all “simple” syllables formed by an every consonant with each of the vowels (structure C-V or Consonant-Vowel). If you have “done the task” already must be able to pronouce those syllables “short or simple”. With the combinations that we will see now, you can start to pronounce this combination as syllable itself (such syllables of structure V-C or Vowell-Consonant) and may subsequently do the same with syllables with structure C-V-C or Consonant-Vowel-Consonant. Let’s begin this practice:

ab eb ib ob ub

 

ac ec ic oc uc

 




In Spanish, the combination of the vowels with the CH digraph is not usual as completion of syllable.

ad ed id od ud

 

af ef if of uf

 

ag eg ig og ug

 

The letter H is also silent when is preceded by vowels, so we don’t need to practice it.

vowel-consonant

al el il ol ul

 

The digraph LL is not used as a termination of syllables.

am em im om um

 

an en in on un

 

The vowel-consonant combination with letter Ñ at the end of the syllables, doesn’t exist in Spanish .

ap ep ip op up

 

ar er ir or ur

 

The digraph RR is not used as termination of syllables.



as es is os us

 

at et it ot ut

 

av ev iv ov uv

 

Same with letter W.

ax ex ix ox ux

 

The letter Y after a vowel sound like I.

az ez iz oz uz

 

And finally, we are going to pronounce the combinations of two vowels (V-V):

ae ai ao au

mickeyvocales

 

ea ei eo eu

 

ia ie io iu

 

oa oe oi ou

 

ua ue ui uo

 

In Spanish as in English, there are combinations of vowels called diphthongs, triphthongs and hiatus, which we will discuss later, after watching the graphic accent (accute accent).



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Syllables in Spanish using Q, R, RR, W and X


In Spanish, the letter Q is always used accompanied by the letter U, which, in this function only has sound in a very reduced amount of syllables, and are those having a following letter to vowels “a” and “o”:

Qua

 

Quo

 

With the vowels “e” and “i” the letter U is silent. I.e., for to pronounce syllables it formed by the digraph “qu” followed by those members, their sound is omitted:

Que

 

Qui

 

In Spanish there are not syllables that use two-letter u after the Q letter.

 




 

The letter “R” and the digraph “RR” are the most difficult to pronounce for English-Speaking people, and that is due to that, there are no syllables with rrsounds in English which  require to use the vibration of the tongue against the palate so significantly. Even many Spanish-Speaking people, have difficulty to pronounce it, either by physical limitations (shape of the tongue and his frenulum) or a poor instruction when children. Indeed, there are many “exercises” specific for pronunciation, to correct these difficulties. Later, when you have advanced a bit with the vocabulary, we will practice these exercises, if you require it.

We will begin learning the sound of the letter RR. Their sound is achieved strongly “vibrating” tongue against the front of the palate:

RRA

 

RRE

 

RRI

 

RRO

 

RRU

 

These syllables are never used to start a word in Spanish. They are only used as intermediate or final syllables of words.





In Spanish, the sound of syllables that use R has a very particular rules which are summarized in the following way:

  • When the letter R is the first letter “from the word”, or when you start a syllable that follows the consonants N, L or S, it must be pronounced on “reinforced” form (as if the letter RR) and its sound is similar to the of syllables with RR:

Ra

 

Re

 

Ri

 

Ro

 

Ru

 

  • When the letter R is used between two vowels or following another consonant in the same syllable, the sound is achieved with the same position of the tongue but with a simple or soft vibration:

Ra

 

Re

 

Ri

 

Ro

 

Ru

The use of the letter W in Spanish, has been limited to words that derive from Anglicisms, or Associated names to people or places, or to transcribe words of Asian origin, so the rules that govern its pronunciation are very variable. The possible sounds of syllables that are containing this letter, are:

Wa (like in Wagner)

 

Wa (like in Wahington)

 

We (like in Wenceslao)

 

We (like in Wellington)

 

Wi

 

Wo

 

Wu

 

In the case of the letter X, the pronunciation is somewhat similar to the syllables that are containing S, but starting from a position of the tongue joined to the palate, making it sound more strong:

Xa

 

Xe

 

Xi

 

Xo

 

Xu

 



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Syllables in Spanish using LL, Y, Ñ, P, and T



The sounds of flat syllables using the letters LL and Y have no difference to the ear. That is, both letters form syllables that sound the same:

Ya/LLa

 

Ye/LLe

 

Yi/LLi

 

Yo/LLo

 

Yu/LLu

 




For this reason it is one of the most common misspellings writing in Spanish.

The letter Ñ, is one of “the new letters” for the English-Speaking people and you can try the phonetic association, which is very nasalized,  with sound “ni” in Onion.

syllables

Is very important that you practice these sounds, because this letter has a plenty of uses in the Spanish vocabulary. It sounds in the following way:

Ña

 

Ñe

 

Ñi

 

Ño

 

Ñu

 





Letter P has an unique sound with each vowel and generates sounds like the following:

Pa

 

Pe

 

Pi

 

Po

 

Pu


And the letter T, in Spanish, all the time has the strong pronunciation that has in English when is used like in Tiger. Then is also easy to pronounce as follows:

Ta

 

Te

 

Ti

 

To

 

Tu



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Syllables in Spanish using G, J, L, M y N


When the letter G is accompanied by vowels “a”, “o” and “u” form syllables that sounds in the following way:

Ga

 

Go

 

Gu

 

However, when it is accompanied by the letter “e” and “i”, its sound is identical to that of the syllables with “j” unless you have interleaved the letter “u”, in which case it sounds like with “a”, “o” and “u”.




Here are the sounds described in this rule of pronunciation:

Ge

 

Gue

 

Gi

 

Gui

 

spanishlikecrazy syllables

And in the case of the J:

Ja

 

Je

 

Ji

 

Jo

 

Ju

Flat syllables with the L and 5 vowels are:

La

 

Le

 

Li

 

Lo

 

Lu

 

In the case of the letter M, the sounds are as follows:

Ma

 

Me

 

Mi

 

Mo

 

Mu

 





The letter N produces the following flat syllables:

Na

 

Ne

 

Ni

 

No

 

Nu

 

Remember, if you want to accelerate your learning and fluence, you need to practice every day.

 



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Syllables in Spanish using Ch, D, F and H


The first of the digraphs in Spanish is Ch. It is frequently used in the language and has no special rules. Accompanied by the vowels it form syllables that sounds like this:

Cha

 

Che

 

Chi

 

Cho

 

Chu

rocket syllables




The following consonant is D. Nor has special rules and in the “flat” syllable sounds as follows:

Da

 

De

 

Di

 

Do

 

Du

 

Below is consonant F. Its “flat” sound is:

Fa

 

Fe

 

Fi

 

Fo

 

Fu

 






In Spanish, the letter H is ABSOLUTELY SILENT. Regardless of the location within a word (syllables start, middle or end), this letter is transparent in its sound, that is to say, the flat syllables that use it, sound like the corresponding vowels:

Ha

 

He

 

Hi

 

Ho

 

Hu

 

At this point,  we want to emphasise the importance of “mentalizing”  the letters (vowels and consonants) and syllables sounds  in Spanish. To achieve fluency in speaking and, above all, understand the language of Cervantes, you must assimilate spontaneously these new (or different) sounds.

This TIP is one of the fundamental in this help that we try to give you, and for that reason we are doing this, seemingly silly, tour of the pronunciation of the syllables. We assure you that once you have taken over and dominate these basic rules of pronunciation, you will learn very quickly the language.



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Syllables in Spanish using K, C, S and Z



The letter K is a letter of relatively little use in syllables of the Spanish Native Language. Their sound is the same regardless of the vowel accompanying:

ka

 

ke

 

ki

 

ko

 

ku

spanishlikecrazy syllables




In Spanish, the letter C is one of the few that changes its sound depending on the vowel that accompanies. When accompanied with the vowels “a”, “o” and “u” sounds identical to the K, i.e.:

ca

 

co

 

cu

 

When it is accompanied by the vowels “i” and “e”, its sound is identical to that of the syllables formed with the letter S:

ce

 

ci

 

sa

 

se

 

si

 

so

 

su

 






Moreover, the sound of the vowels with the letter Z happens something similar to what we saw with B and V. In everyday speech of Hispanic Countries, the sounds of the syllables with Z and S is practically the same. The exception (and only really correct) is Spain, where the correct sound of the syllables formed by Z and any vowel with the right “hiss” is used.

za

 

ze

 

zi

 

zo

 

zu



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Syllables in Spanish using the consonants B and V


In Spanish, these two letters have almost the same sound in almost any syllables where them are used. The “B” or “B labial (with the lips)” (pronunciation based on the union of both lips) and the “V” or “V labidental (with lips and teeth)” (pronunciation based on the union of the upper teeth with the lower lip), have similar sounds when they are used in everyday speech. For this reason, the understanding of the construction of Syllables in Spanish with these two letters is very important.




However, the replacement of one by another when writing, is considered one of the spelling errors more notables of the language, and when spelling words is remarkable the use of one or another, to the point that, in the universe of Spanish-speaking, is usual the question:

With B of Burro (donkey) or with V of Vaca (cow)?

Simple syllables in Spanish with the 5 vowels are, for the “B”:

ba

 

be

 

bi

 

bo

 

bu


rocket syllables in spanish




and for the “V”:

 

va

 

ve

 

vi

 

vo

 

vu

The practice of these sounds is important to “mentally set” the difference between both languages. Remember (it will be repeated many times) when beginning to speak in Spanish, MUST forget about the pronunciation in English, because although both languages use practically the same alphabet, the sounds are VERY different. Then… To practice!



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syllables in spanish

Syllables in Spanish Language. The First Step for the fluency


Syllables in Spanish

Theory and classification of syllables in Spanish , on grammar,  is as extensive as it is in English. To the effects that we are dealing, we won’t deepen, for now, more than the conformation (sequences of vowels and consonants) and, a little later, the accent or intonation.

syllables in spanish




There are syllables in  Spanish with the following structures:

  • CV (consonant vowel) pa-ra
  • CVC (consonant vowel consonant) can-tar
  • CCV (consonant consonant vowel) tra-to
  • V (vowel) a
  • VC (vowel consonant) al-ma
  • CCVC (consonant consonant vowel consonante) tram-pa
  • VCC (vowel consonante consonante)  ins-pi-rar
  • CVCC (consonant vowel consonant consonant) cons-pi-rar
  • CCVCC (consonant consonant vowel consonant consonant) trans-cri-bir
  • CD (consonant diphthong) bue-na
  • CDC (consonant diphthong consonant) puen-te
  • CCD (consonant consonant diphthong) la-brie-go
  • D (diphthong) eu-ro-peo
  • CCDC (consonant consonant diphthong consonant) in-fluen-cia

syllables1

Fortunately, all this explanation will be less complicated to understand than it seems, once we start to pronounce syllables  in Spanish beginning from the following posts, but it was necessary to visualize the different variants to avoid confusion when we see words that use these variants.

Are we Ready?

Well, now we are ready to start “talking” in Spanish. Exercise the pronunciation imitating the “sounds” that we will hear in the audio of the following Posts, will prepare us for the radical change of phonetics between the two languages, fact which is essential in order to achieve fluency in speech, but above all in listening to Spanish language.




Many times, that we have been learning a second language, have received, by instructors, teachers, tutors, the uncompromising instruction of  ‘think’ in that language in order to achieve fluency. Our opinion is that this is almost impossible, since the subconscious mind does not allow it “by definition”. The best proof of this occur when in extreme conditions (severe physical or mental pain, a great scare, when we talk while sleeping, or when we are hypnotized), the words flow, inevitably, in our native language.

However, we are convinced that what our teachers want to instruct us, is to be aware that we are reading (physically or mentally) in another language, and that despite we are using the same letters, can not let us overcome by the sounds in our native language. To clarify what we are talking about, we will refer again to the video of our Post Spanish Alphabet, where you will see English-Speakers suffering when are trying to pronounce simple words (in Spanish) such as: arroz, negar, ejercer, etc.

Some Tools.

There are many tools (online courses, CDs, etc.) that will help you learn grammatical rules, vocabulary, syntax, etc. but the only real criteria for acquire fluency in listening and speaking is obtained once you are “aware” that you are learning a new language, and that the sounds of this are different. Two of the methods, in our opinion, with better results for the practice of the new (and real) phonetic in Spanish, are those used by Learning Spanish Like Crazy and Rocket Spanish. Both can be tested by you for free and offer your money back guarantee for 60 days.



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new letters

New Letters in Spanish Language. Learn them today


The Ñ. Queen of the Spanish New Letters.

The newest or most “special” newest for the English-Speakers People is the new letters Ñ (ñ). Is new and a little difficult to pronounce.




Ñ, (pronounced enyeh) is the letter n with a diacritical tilde indicating a nasalized pronunciation. The sound is similar to the “n” in the English word “onion”.

Letrañ (2)

It was born, replacing the double NN sound that in the original Latin spelling of some words like ‘annum’ (year), (Spanish meaning  is año). This letter even has its own separate key on Spanish keyboards.

Ñ has become a very important symbol as it appears in the name of the language itself: español.

We will learn its pronunciation, used it in syllables, on the next posts.

Now, we will see the digraphs.

The CH

The first one is CH. This digraph sound like the ch in the English words “chat” and “chess”.

Letrach




The LL.

The second one new letters are LL (ll). The LL sounds like the Y in the English word “yes”. It is important to mention that, in Spanish, the letters LL and Y have the same sound when we use them, preceding any vowel. This “pronunciation rule” has been a “big headache” for the students of the first years in Grammar when they are evaluated in Orthography.

new letters ll

The RR.

The last one (and more difficult to learn for the English-Speakers people) new letters are the digraph RR (rr). There are not English word that use this sound. In Spanish it is very used and, inclusive, sometimes the letter R has its same sound. It is, R (like in Rich) but more strongly trilled. We will learn this pronunciation when we work with the syllables.

Letra Doble r

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Consonants in Spanish. How to pronounce it


Spanish Language is considered the most important of the Romance languages (of Romanicus or Roman), having its origin in the Roman Vulgar Latin with great influence of the Germanic and Arabic languages. Additionally, due to the expansion of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, it was notably enriched with the addition of large numbers of indigenous words from the entire continent and the use of special consonants. It is for this reason, that it is considered one of the richest (and complex) languages recognized worldwide.

Latinum

Moreover, the effects of globalization and the evolution of technology have been influencing many modifications which tend to simplify it a bit, but, the speed response of the institution for which the language is governed: “The Royal Academy of the Spanish Language”, and the rigidity with which the advocates of Native Language treat the subject, are maintaining “alive” certain rules that continue giving to the Spanish language its characteristic of complexity and difficulty.

Some of the rules that influence the complexity of the language are associated with the use of consonants in general, and the existence of certain letters that do not exist in other languages that use a similar Abecedary, as is the case of English, French , Italian, Portuguese, and some others.




It is for this reason that we will devote several Posts to the consonants, and we will begin with the pronunciation and naming of the twenty two consonants and the three digraphs.

 

Letrabbeh

Letractheh

Letrachcheh

Letraddeh

Letrafefe

 

Letragheh

Letrahatcheh

Letrajhota

Letrakkah

Letraleleh

 

Letralley-eh

Letramemeh

Letrañ (2)enyeh

Letraneneh






 

Letrappeh

Letraqcoo

Letrarereh

Letra Doble rerreh

Letraseseh

 

Letratteh

Letravooveh

Letrawooveh dobleh

Letraxeh-kis

Letrayee greeyega

 

Letraztheta

 

Until 2010, these 25 elements were considered consonants. In this year the RAE renamed the CH, LL and RR as digraphs instead letters.

Like with the vowels, is very important the practice of the names of the consonants letters. You will need it, for spelling some words while do not be fluent on the pronunciation.



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