What’s most important when you learn to speak Spanish is pronunciation. That’s one of the keys to being fluent! Especially if you’re an English speaker learning Spanish. You’re used to letters sounding one way, but when faced with Spanish, they can sound completely different.
Sometimes knowing how each letter sounds can help you get through it; other times is just confusing to chant the alphabet. This Spanish lesson focuses on words with sounds that you’ll frequently be using!
Pronouncing these words is basic Spanish knowledge for beginners. However, come back to them as much as you need even if you have an advanced level! Pronunciation, though crucial, is sometimes a little hard to achieve. If you manage to pull these off and learn them, you’ll be one step closer to mastering Spanish.
This first one is fairly easy to remember. When the “h” is alone, it’s never pronounced. Seriously, pretend it isn’t there! Most of the times it only gains sound when it follows another consonant, like “ch” or “sh”. But, let’s not worry about that right now.
“H” is always silent when it’s followed or preceded by vowels. It doesn’t matter if it is at the beginning of a word or in the middle. Take a look at these next examples. Press the icon to listen to a Spanish native speaker pronunciation!
Hospital / Hospital
Almohada / Pillow
Hipopótamo / Hippopotamus
Hola / Hello
This is one is the hardest to tame for us English speakers. Our “r” is usually soft. However, “r” in Spanish is purred with your tongue when it is at the beginning of a word or if it’s doubled in the middle, like “rr”. If it’s in the middle and alone, then it softens.
Listen to these words being pronounced and try to copy what you hear. The closest to its sound in English would be in words like run or roll. Feel how your tongue curls upwards inside your mouth? Make it vibrate right there.
Ratón / Mouse
Carro / Car
Perro / Dog
Barril / Keg
Multiple sounding x
You’ll have an interesting time getting the “x” sound right. Its pronunciation varies, depending on where it’s placed and other factors. It can either sound like the regular “h” would sound in English, like the regular “x” also would in English, like an “s”, or like an “sh” sound.
To be on the safe side of things, remember how it sounds after hearing someone saying a word containing an “x”. It’ll be a shortcut on how to learn Spanish with a natural intonation.
México / Mexico
Taxi / Taxi
You need to remember that the “g” sounds in Spanish are two and not even close to the English one. The first one is pronounced like an English “h”, while the second one is a “g” trapped in your throat like in the word “good”.
Though the second intonation has different ways to be displayed, its sound is the same. Even Mexicans, for example, have regular Spanish lessons while growing up on how to write and say words with “g”. Hear them and try them yourself!
Gato / Cat
Gente / People
Gimnasia / Gymnastics
Gratis / Free
The “ñ” isn’t part of the English alphabet. And it has quite a unique sound in Spanish, and other romance languages as well. “Ñ” is like saying “nya” as fast as you can (without the a, of course). There’s no other sound like it in English.
That’s why it’s always best to learn to speak Spanish by imitating the accent and inflection of a native speaker. Once you’ve heard, it’s easier to come up with your own way of saying it!
Otoño / Autumn
Albañil / Construction worker
Niña / Girl, kid
Uña / Nail
The double l sound is one of the pronunciations you’ll remember better. It’s the complete opposite of how it sounds in English! In Spanish, the “ll” has a really long e sound. Try it. If you say e for three or four seconds long, it starts changing and vibrating a little.
Another way to approach it is by pronouncing it like a “y” in you. See now how different it is? This hard-buzzed “ll” sound is essential in Spanish! Listen to it close. It’ll give you the right edge to learn to speak Spanish like a native speaker.
Lluvia / Rain
Ballena / Whale
Llave / Key
Belleza / Beauty
There you have it! A Spanish lesson for you to learn to speak Spanish better. Practicing your speaking skills by copying a native speaker’s pronunciation is how to learn Spanish best these days!