Spanish Alphabet: Chart, Pronunciation & Word Examples

I know, I know. The Spanish alphabet may not seem like a high priority when learning Spanish. However, the alphabet is the backbone of your pronunciation. To put it simply, if you want to have good pronunciation, you must take your time to understand the sounds of the alphabet in Spanish. 

Since this is such a crucial topic, you’ll find key information about the Spanish alphabet in this guide. I’ll include charts and recordings so you can check the pronunciation, word examples, and notes about the letters and their sounds.  

Here is an overview of the topics we’ll cover:

How to Say the Alphabet in Spanish

The table below contains the letters that make up the alphabet and how they are spelled. To provide some examples, you’ll also find a word for each letter in the Spanish alphabet and a recording so you can check the pronunciation.

LetterNameWord Example(s)
CCeCabello / Cena
GGeGato / Gente
II / I latinaIglesia
VUve / Ve chicaVaca
WDoble u / doble veWashington
YI griega / YeYoga

Here is a recording where you can check the pronunciation of the alphabet in Spanish. 

You can also use the graphic below to see examples of English words that share the same sounds. 

graphic showing how to pronounce the Spanish alphabet

Pronunciation Tips

Here are some notes about the pronunciation of the Spanish alphabet that you want to keep in mind. 

Pronouncing vowels in Spanish

Vowels in Spanish sound exactly the same regardless of the consonant that precedes or follows them. So, unlike English, Spanish vowels do not have a long sound.

VowelSounds like

In this recording, you can check how Spanish vowels sound:

Silent H

In Spanish, the letter h is silent. To put it simply, ha, he, hi, ho, and hu sound like a vowel. However, the letter ‘h’ has a sound when preceded by the letter ‘c’ (ch). 

For example:

Silent HCh

 You can check the pronunciation in this recording. 

‘C’ sounds in Spanish

Like in English, the letter ‘c’ in Spanish has two sounds. It sounds hard when followed by ‘a’, ‘o’ or ‘u’. And it has a soft sound, when followed by ‘e’ or ‘i’.

Hard soundSoft sound

Take Note: Castilian Spanish distinguishes certain sounds (c and z). Making or not making this distinction will not affect your communication with Spanish speakers. However, if you’re focusing on Castilian Spanish, you may want to consider learning these sounds. 

Pronouncing ‘g’ in Spanish

The letter ‘g’ in Spanish also has a different pronunciation depending on the vowel that follows it. If working with ‘a’, ‘o’ or ‘u’, it has a soft sound. However, when working with ‘e’ and ‘i’ it has a fricative sound

Soft soundHard sound (fricative)

Pronouncing letter ‘j’ in Spanish

In Spanish, the letter ‘j’ always has a fricative sound. In other words, it sound similar to the English ‘h’ in hard, hell, and hit. 

  • Jarra
  • Jefe
  • Jirafa
  • Jota
  • Junta

Double ‘l’ sound

Although the double ‘l’ (ll) is not part of the Spanish alphabet, it’s still a common sound in this language. The double ‘ll’ sounds exactly like the ‘y’. 

Ll soundY

Pronouncing letter ‘x’ in Spanish

In Spanish, the letter ‘x’ sounds like the English ‘x’ for the most part. However, with certain names it’s pronounced like the Spanish letter ‘j’. 

  • México 
  • Ximena
  • Texas

Take Note: Mexican Spanish has many words that come from nahuatl. Nahuatl words that contain ‘x’ can sound like an ‘s’ or ‘ch’. 

  • Xótchil 
  • Xoloitzcuintle

Activities to learn the alphabet

Here are some activities that you can use to learn or teach others the Spanish alphabet:

  • Sing the alphabet song: singing is a great way to make sounds and words stick. If you’re struggling with the vowels in Spanish, you can check this famous song for children, which will also help you practice the ‘j’ sound. 
  • Write flashcards: if you’re a visual learner, you may want to prepare some flashcards with words for each letter of the alphabet in Spanish. Below the Spanish term, you can add a word in English (or your language) that shares the same sound. For example, amigo and apple. 
  • Play games: many games require you to use the alphabet. On top of increasing your vocabulary, these games will also help you practice your spelling and ABC. Some examples are ¡basta!, hangman, and word search.  

Interesting Facts About the Alphabet

Below are some facts about the Spanish alphabet that will help you understand and use it better. 

  • All Spanish letters of the alphabet are feminine.
  • If talking about a letter, you must precede its name with the definite article ‘la’. For example: “la a es la primera letra del alfabeto”. 
  • ‘Abecedario’ and ‘alfabeto’ are the two ways to say ‘alphabet’ in Spanish. 
  • Double ‘l’ and ‘ch’ used to be part of the Spanish alphabet until 1994. Although they’re no longer listed in the alphabet, they are still common Spanish sounds. 
  • Accent vowels in Spanish don’t change their sound. Instead, the stress of the pronunciation will fall on such vowels. Papa vs papá.  
  • The letter ‘ñ’ is the only different letter between the English and Spanish alphabets. 
  • When spelling words to others, Spanish speakers may say each letter and a word that starts with that letter to help the other person. For example, if I want to spell Shrute, I would say:
    • Ese de sopa
    • Ache de hospital
    • Erre de rana
    • U de uva
    • Te de taza
    • E de elefante
graphic of spanish alphabet with words

Wrapping Up

The alphabet in Spanish is the foundation for good pronunciation. So, make sure you take enough time to understand and master this topic. As a quick summary, here’s a recording of the alphabet and some word examples. 

If needed, go back and check the pronunciation notes in this guide. ¡Buena suerte!

Downloadable Alphabet Cheat Sheets

Download a copy of the Spanish Alphabet PDF Cheat sheets including charts and pronunciation tips to study later!

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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