Spanish Alphabet

Learning the Spanish alphabet requires only learning three more letter than are found in the English alphabet. These include ch (che), ll (elle) and ň (eňe). The fit into the alphabet in an order that also makes sense, following the letter from the English alphabet that starts with the same similar letter. Here is the order they appear in:


Letters Not A Part of the Alphabet

There is some controversy, believe it or not over a couple of the letters that come from other languages of similar origin. This lies with the letters “w” and “k.” There are not any Spanish words that contain these letters, unless they were added to the language from some foreign translation. In addition the letter “rr” not in our list above is used in some versions of the Spanish alphabet. It is used to make a stronger “r” sound, usually in the case where the “r” is drawn out in a rolling sound.

Putting Things in ABC Order

A Spanish dictionary may add more confusion to the inclusion of some letters of this language’s alphabet. For example, older edition dictionaries might list all the words containing “ch” after all “c” words. In newer versions, the words containing “ch” go in alphabetical order just like in English. The opposite is true when it comes to “n” and “ň.” In this case “ň” comes after “n.” This whole change took place as recently as 1994.

Not officially a part of the Spanish alphabet, there are many other “letters” created by the addition of accents. Many vowels such as o, e, or u have accents added which change the pronunciation and also the meaning. Many other languages treat accented letters as separate letters and add them to their alphabets. This is not true of Spanish.

What Spanish Letters Sound Like

English letters are not given names and neither are Spanish letters. However, when you say the letter it has a pronunciation all its own that could be thought of as its name. The following is the Spanish alphabet with a pronunciation guide. Remember, this is not a phonetic pronunciation, even though some of the English letters will have a similar sound. And of course, you need to take into account the Spanish accent.

A: a
B: be
C: ce
CH: che
D: de
E: e
F: efe
G: ge
H: hache
I: i
J: jota
K: ka
L: ele
LL: elle
M: eme
N: ene
Ñ: eñe
O: o
P: pe
Q: cu
R: ere
S: ese
T: te
U: u
V: ve
W: doble u
X: equis
Y: i griega
Z: zeta

If you speak English (and that’s a good assumptions since you are reading this in English) then you already know many Spanish words. Spanish and English have the same basis as all Romance languages. The spelling may be different such as between the words baby in English and bebe in Spanish but the pronunciation is very close, differing only in the accent given the words.

Once you have mastered the sounds of each letter it is easy to begin learning Spanish. You’ll be prepared for your next vacation to Spain, or at the very least, be able to help your kids with their homework!

The Spanish people are warm and welcoming to American or other visitors. They will be flattered that you are making an effort to communicate with them in Spanish, but in tourist or cosmopolitan areas, you will find everyone also speaks fluent English. Don’t let that discourage you. Keep practicing you Spanish for your next visit to Spain.