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How to Spell in Spanish

Introduction

Although Spanish and English languages are very close to each other, they have a lot of distinctions. If you are new to Spanish, you would have certain difficulties with spelling Spanish words because some vowels and consonants are not pronounced in a way we pronounce them in English. However, with a little bit of practice you will find out that Spanish language is very natural to your tongue and the words come out easily and naturally. This article will help you familiarize your tongue with Spanish sounds and speak this language fluently.

Similarity and difference

Many Spanish words sound very similar to English ones and only differ in terms of suffixes and pronunciation.

Nouns

  • Cion vs –Tion. This suffix is pronounced like “-tsion” and always stressed: Agitación.
  • T vs Th: Teoría.
  • Dad vs –Ty. In some nouns that end up with –ty in English, we would use –dad in Spanish: Libertad.
  • Ist vs Ista: Dentista.
  • Ology vs –Ologia: Geologia.

Adjectives

  • Ly vs –Mente: Rápidamente.
  • Ous vs -Osa: Nervioso.

Others

  • F vs Ph. F is often used instead of the English “ph”: Foto.
  • Spanish tends to simplify the spelling. Thus, double consonants are often reduced: Colaborar.

Specific sounds

Ñ

This sound is pronounced like “nj” in the word “onion”: Niño.

R and RR

Many native English speakers have a hard time pronouncing these sounds (that are also typical for many other languages) because they are really tough and untypical for English pronunciation. Double “r” sound is the result of flapping of the tongue against the front roof of your mouth. That’s how you pronounce the sound when you see “rr” is the text. You also pronounce a single “r” this way when it’s in the beginning of the word or comes after “l”, “s”, or “n”: Torre.

H

We don’t pronounce this letter in Spanish. It’s always silent: Hermano.

CC

If you see double “c” in a Spanish word, it would be pronounced almost like an English “x”, where the first “c” sounds like “th” and the second one sounds like “s”: Direccion.

LL

As weird as it may sound, the double “l” is pronounced like “y” is the word “yell”: Calle.

G

In some cases, Spanish “g” is pronounced like one in the English word “Grill”, but when this letter is followed by “e” or “i”, it would be pronounced like Spanish “J” (which is basically a heavily aspirated “h”): Gente.

J

This letter sounds like the English “h”, but it is pronounced with more aspiration: Julio.

  • Don’t apply these rules in each and every case. There are exceptions, so check with your dictionary first.
  • Don’t study Spanish on your own. Find a teacher or ask a native speaker to help you.

Video

Conclusion

Spanish is a #3 most widely spread language in the world and learning it is doubtlessly a great idea. As a beginner, you will have certain difficulties with the spelling, but once you get the grasp of things and apply this knowledge on practice, it would come out as natural as breathing. Use this article to learn the differences and familiarities of English and Spanish and also find out the peculiarities of Spanish consonants.

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