Ready to take the first step toward Spanish language learning? Learn the Spanish alphabet to understand the ‘ABC’ of Spanish and build a solid base for yourself. It will provide you with an excellent opportunity to begin learning the sounds and phonemes right away.

In this guide, we will explore the Spanish alphabet and we will be highlighting some of the most helpful tips that you can use to memorize these Spanish letters and their usage. There are plenty of reasons highlighting why you need to learn the Spanish alphabet.

Why do you need to learn the Spanish alphabet

Every language functions by combining basic linguistic units to form more complex structures. Just as several sentences make a paragraph, different phrases make a sentence, some words make a phrase, and so on and so forth, and it makes sense to understand the fundamental units (sounds and letters) before gradually progressing to larger structures.

Although most letters have a consistent pronunciation, one of the most difficult challenges for English native speakers learning Spanish is becoming accustomed to its univocal sounds.

It is a well-established fact that there are several benefits of learning Spanish and knowing how to pronounce the Spanish alphabet will help you identify and recognize isolated sounds so you can reproduce them without “thinking” them first in English. It’s a good habit to develop strong phonetic skills early in the learning process so that you can begin training your tongue to use the new sounds instead of the ones it already knows.

People are sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of work they believe they must put in to learn a new language from scratch, but once they take the right start, they realize it is all part of an organic and enjoyable ongoing process.

The sense of daily progress keeps things interesting, so laying a solid foundation is critical in the long run. Once you have mastered the Spanish alphabet letters, you will be able to quickly transition into words, phrases, and sentences.

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Spanish alphabet and pronunciation

One of the most noticeable differences between the English and Spanish alphabets is that the Spanish alphabet’s pronunciation is fairly consistent. Almost every letter is associated with a single phoneme, so once you know the sound of a letter, you can read it in the vast majority of words without having to listen to it.

Aaaraña (spider)Ñeñe (en-yeh)niña (little girl)
Bbe (bea)bota (boot)Oootoño (autumn)
Cce (say for LatAm, thay for European)casa (home), cena (dinner)Ppe (pay)perro (dog)
Dde (dei)dulce (candy/sweet)Qcu (ku)quesadilla (quesadilla)
Eeelefante (elephant)Rerre (er-reh)radio (radio)
Fefe (eh-feh)fuego (fire)Sese (es-eh)sangría (sangria)
Gge (hei)gallo (rooster), gente (people)Tte (teh)tiburón (shark)
Hhache (ach-ay)hielo (ice)Uu (oo)uvas (grapes)
Ii (ee) or i latinainsecto (insect)Vuve (oo-veh for European), ve corta, ve chica, or ve bajaventana (window)
Jjota (hotta)jirafa (giraffe)Wuve doble (oo-veh dob-leh), doble uve, doble ve, or doble uwafle (waffle)
Kka (ka)koala (koala)Xequis (eh-kees)xenofobia (xenophobia)
Lele (el-eh)libro (book)Yye>/i> (LatAm) or i griega (Europen: ee-griega)yogur (yoghurt)
Meme (em-eh)manzana (apple)Zzeta (the-ta/se-ta)zorro (fox)
Nene (en-eh)nube (cloud)

Exceptions to the rules

While the table above will get you started with the basic sounds of Spanish, there are exceptions, as with any language. Consider a non-English speaker attempting to pronounce “rhythm” with only a simple English alphabet chart to guide them. So, let’s look at when the chart doesn’t quite match how the language is used.

While the pronunciation of most letters will remain consistent, combining two letters can result in something unexpected. Here are the most common examples of this phenomenon in Spanish, three of which you might recognize if you read the first section on Spanish alphabet letters.

In Spanish, g varies its sound depending on the vowel that follows it.

G+ vowels

Before a, o, or u“g” as in “good”gol (goal)
Before i or eA raspy “h”gente (people)

Ch sound

Ch, formerly the letter che, takes on the English “ch” sound you hear in “choo-choo’ or “cheese”. Consider chicharron or chica in Spanish.

Meanwhile, depending on where you are in the world, doble ele is pronounced differently. In the Spanish-speaking world, it is most commonly pronounced as a ‘y,’ as opposed to the ‘l’ in loco or lugar.

However, in parts of México, Central and South America, it can sound like a soft ‘j’ or even a’sh’. The letter ‘j’ is most commonly used in Mexico and Colombia, while the letter ‘sh’ is most commonly used in Argentina and Uruguay. It can even sound like a ‘ly’ in some places (including the Philippines) – as in millions or the Italian famiglia – but that is probably the least common variation.

Different pronunciations of Ll

pollo (poyo)pollo (pojo)pollo (posho)
lluvia (yuvia)lluvia (juvia)lluvia (shuvia)

Different pronunciations of X

x as ‘ks’examen, taxi (European pronunciation)
x as “‘sh’Xela (a city in Guatemala)
x as ‘h’México, Oaxaca (a city in Mexico)
x as ‘s’xilófono (LatAm pronunciation)

Now you can learn Spanish easily as there is plenty of Spanish material available online. Set up a learning schedule and follow it consistently. Consistency is the key to learning a new language. Make notes for yourself and try to enrich your Spanish vocabulary on daily basis.

Tips for learning the Spanish alphabet

Disassociated it from English. Approach the Spanish alphabet as if it were a completely new alphabet that you were learning from scratch. Even though it shares the same letters as the English alphabet, the sounds, and relationships of the letters are completely different.

Practice aloud. Speaking is the best way to improve your speech. Even if your brain can internally replicate the sounds it hears, your tongue requires some training as well. Practicing the Spanish alphabet as much as possible will gradually condition your mouth muscles to produce all of the new sounds you’re learning.

Enjoy your learning journey. Learning a new language should be a fun, exciting, and refreshing experience, so try incorporating things you enjoy into your daily practice.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How do you say “alphabet” in Spanish?

A. The word is “alfabeto” in Spanish. It derives from the same Greek word. There is also the word “abecedario,” which has a Latin root.

Q. What is the number of letters in the Spanish alphabet?

A. According to the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy), there are 27 letters, excluding “Ch,” “Ll,” and “Rr,” which are digraphs (two letters that represent a single sound).

Q. What letter isn’t pronounced in the Spanish alphabet?

A. The “H”. Many Spanish speakers even call it silent H or mute H. The letter “u” is also silent when it is in between the letters “q” or “g” and the vowels “e” or “i”.


Learning the Spanish alphabet should be your first step to learning Spanish. Letters are like the building blocks of a language. You need to learn them in order to structure your sentences and to hold Spanish conversations.

If you want to learn Spanish in a year, set up a good learning schedule for yourself.  Take advantage of different learning tools available online and keep yourself motivated by setting up realistic learning milestones.

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