More Rules with Spanish Pronunciation: Spanish Lesson 44

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This is the forty-fourth lesson in our beginner level Spanish course and we will look at More Rules with Spanish Pronunciation.

In our previous lesson we started looking at Spanish Pronunciation. We learned that on the whole Spanish pronunciation is very straightforward with most of the letters retaining one distinct sound in whichever words they are found. Alas, as is usually the case, there are exceptions to the rule and we will now delve a bit deeper and learn more Rules with Spanish Pronunciation to make sure you are confident with some of the letters which have more than one sound.

rules with Spanish Pronunciation

  • Spanish letter C

The Spanish letter C can be pronounced in two different ways. When it comes before the vowels “A”, “O” and “U” it has a similar sound to the English “K” or hard “C”.

Have a go:

Casa: house
Cuatro: four
Color: colour
Coliflor: cauliflower
Cara: face

If the “C” comes before an “E” or an “I” its pronunciation is slightly different depending on whether the speaker is Spanish or Latin American. In most of Latin America, the “C” has an English “S” sound when it comes before an “E” or an “I”. In most of Spain, the “C” before an “E” or an “I” is pronounced like the soft English “TH” in “through” or “think.” Contrary to common belief, this is not a lisp.

Have a go:

Cerilla: match
Once: eleven
Diciembre: December
Marcela: female name “Marcela”
Gracias: thank you

It should also be noted that according to the rules of the Spanish pronunciation the “CH” is considered a separate letter with its own distinct sound.

  • Spanish letter G

The Spanish letter G has various different pronunciations depending on its location in a word. When you combine a “G” with a consonant or when the “G” is located in front of an “A”, “O” or “U”, it sounds like an English “G” such as that found in words like “game”.

Have a go:

Gato: cat
Gusano: worm
Gota: drop
Ganso: goose
Grano: grain

The “G” sound changes when it is located in front of an “E” or an “I” and sounds more like the Spanish “J”, or the English “H”.

Have a go:

Generoso: generous
General: general
Gitano: gypsy
Agitar: to shake
Girar: to turn

When the “G” is located in front of an “UE” or “UI” its sound is like an English “G” again. In these instances the pronunciation of the “U” is silent.

Have a go:

Guitarra: guitar
Guerra: war
Manguera: hose
Águila: eagle
Hamburguesa: burger

  • Spanish letter R

The Spanish letter R has two distinct pronunciations, one hard and one soft. The single, soft, Spanish “R” sounds much like the English “D” or the English “TT” heard in English words such as “little”. It is formed by hitting the tongue, with a single tap, against the front ridge at the top of the mouth.

Have a go:

Cuchara: spoon
Caro: expensive
Trabajo: work
Triste: sad
Escribir: to write

The hard Spanish pronunciation rule, rolling Spanish “R” is heard when the “R” is doubled and with a single “R” that is located at the beginning of a word or after an “L”, “N” or “S”. It is a trilled sound formed by flapping the tongue against the front roof of the mouth. It might help you to think of the purring of a cat, a helicopter or the revving of a car motor. Try loosely holding the tip of your tongue to the front roof of your mouth and then blow air through, with a relaxed tongue.

Have a go:

Cerrar: to close
Perro: dog
Parrilla: grill
Torre: tower
Carro: car / cart

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