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The main thing to keep in mind is that in Spanish the vowels' sounds are generally more distinct than they are in English. In English, any vowel can be represented by what's known as the schwa, an unstressed vowel sound such as the "a" in "about," the "ai" in "mountain," and the "u" in "pablum." But in Spanish, such an indistinct sound isn't used. Although, as in most languages, the sounds of the vowels can vary slightly with the letters before and after them, in general the sound remains the same regardless of the word it's in.
The letter Y: Generally, the y is pronounced the same as it would if it were an i, as part of a diphthong. Examples: rey, soy, yacer. In some words that are derived from English and have a y at the end often retain the English pronunciation. For example, in popular songs you may hear words such as sexy and phrases such as oh baby.
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