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Flashcards in Basic Spanish Pronunciation Deck (86):
1

gato

Note that "a" is pronounced like the "A" in "father" [ɑ].

2

pelo

Note that "e" is pronounced like the "AY" in "pay".

3

amigo

Note that "i" is pronounced like the "EE" in "seen," but shorter [i].

4

ojo

Note that "o" is pronounced like the "O" in "go" [ō].

5

luna

Note that "u" is pronounced like the "OO" in "roof" [u].

6

boca

Note that "b" is pronounced like the "B" in "balcony" [b].

7

casa

Note that "c" is pronounced like the "C" in "call" [k].

8

cencerro

Note that "ce" is pronounced like the "S" in "song" + the "E" in "pet" [se̞].

In some regions of Spain, "ce" is pronounced like the "THE" in "thermal" [Θe].

9

cita

Note that "ci" is pronounced like the "S" in "song" + the "EE" in "seen," but shorter [si].

In some regions of Spain, "ci" is pronounced like the "THI" in "thing" [Θi].

10

chaleco

Note that "ch" is pronounced like the "CH" in "cheer" [tʃ].

11

dedo

Note that "d" is pronounced like the "D" in "duck" [d].

12

forma

Note that "f" is pronounced like the "F" in "father" [f].

13

gas

Note that "g" is pronounced like the "G" in "game" [g].

14

general

Note that "ge" is pronounced like the "H" in "house," but with a harsher "H" (bringing the back of the tongue up to nearly close the opening in the throat) + the "E" in "pet" [xe].

15

gis

Note that "gi" is pronounced like the "H" in "house," but with a harsher "H" (bringing the back of the tongue up to nearly close the opening in the throat) + the "EE" in "seen," but shorter [xi].

16

guerra

Note that "gue" is pronounced like the "G" in "game" + the "E" in "pet" [ge̞].

17

guitarra

Note that "gui" is pronounced like the "G" in "game" + the "EE" in "seen," but shorter [gi].

18

cigüeña

Note that "güe" is pronounced like the "G" in "game" + the "we" in "weather"

19

pingüino

Note that "güi" is pronounced like the "G" in "game" + the "w" in "we" + the "EE" in "seen".

20

hueso

Note that the "h" is silent.

In Spanish, the "h" is sometimes pronounced in foreign words, most of which come from English. 

21

jabón

Note that "j" is pronounced like the "H" in "house," but with a harsher "H" (bringing the back of the tongue up to nearly close the opening in the throat) [x].

22

koala

Note that "k" is pronounced like the "C" in "call" [k].

23

labios

Note that "l" is pronounced like the "L" in "lift" [l].

24

llamar

Note that "ll" is pronounced like the "Y" in "yes," but slightly harsher.

25

marzo

Note that "m" is pronounced like the "M" in "mother" [m].

26

nada

Note that "n" is pronounced like the "N" in "no" [n].

27

España

Note that "ñ" is pronounced like the "GN" in "consign," trying to pronounce both consonants in one sound; or like the "NY" in "canyon," with a very short "Y" sound.

28

peso

Note that "p" is pronounced like the "P" in "pin" [p].

29

quásar

Note that "q" is pronounced like the "C" in "call" [k].

In Spanish, the "q" is only found without "ue" or "ui" in foreign words.

30

queso

Note that "que" is pronounced like the "C" in "call" + the "E" in "pet" [ke].

31

quinto

Note that "qui" is pronounced like the "C" in "call" + the "EE" in "seen," but shorter [ki].

32

pera

Note that "r" is pronounced like the "R" in "ladder," but much shorter (as if it were cut before the sound was finished) [ɾ].

33

rama

Note that "r" at the beginning of a word is pronounced like the "R" in "rat," but stronger (similar to the "R" pronounced in a Scottish accent) [r].

34

perro

Note that "rr" is pronounced like the "R" in "rat," but stronger (similar to the "R" pronounced in a Scottish accent) [r].

The double "r" is only found between two vowels.

35

sapo

Note that "s" is pronounced like the "S" in "song" [s].

36

taza

Note that "t" is pronounced like the "T" in "train" [t].

37

vaca

Note that "v" is pronounced like the "B" in "boy" [b] with the lips held tightly.

38

wafle

Note that "w" is pronounced like the "W" in "water" [w].

The "w" is only found in Spanish in foreign words, most of which come from English. It is pronounced as in English.

39

examen

Note that "x" is sometimes pronounced like the "X" in "tax" [ks]*.

*The "x" in Spanish is tricky, since it can produce several sounds, and there is no set rule or norm for knowing which is which.

40

xico

Note that "x" is sometimes pronounced like the "H" in "house," but with a harsher "H" (bringing the back of the tongue up to nearly close the opening in the throat) [x].

41

Xochimilco

Note that "x" is sometimes pronounced like the "S" in "song" [s].

42

Xela

Note that "x" is sometimes pronounced like the "SH" in "should" [ʃ].

43

yegua

Note that "y" is pronounced like the "Y" in "yes," but slightly harsher. (Or like the "J" in "jelly", but slightly softer.)

44

zapato

Note that "z" is pronounced like the "S" in "song" [s].

In some regions of Spain, the "z" is pronounced like the "TH" in "thorn" [Θ].

45

What are diphthongs?

Diphthongs occur when an unstressed "i" or "u" (and in a few cases a "y") appears next to another vowel in the same syllable.

Their vowel sounds do not change, but they blend together to form a single syllable. The "weak" vowel ("i", "u" or "y") becomes much shorter and almost merges into the other vowel sound.

When a diphthong consists of two "weak" vowels, the second will take the role of the strong one.

46

baile

Note that "ai" and "ay" are pronounced like the "I" in "admire" [äi].

47

pausa

Note that "au" is pronounced like the "A" in "cat" + a very short, clipped "OO" in "foot" [äu].

48

media

Note that "ia" and "ya" are pronounced like the "YA" in "yarn," but shorter [jä].

49

cuatro

Note that "ua" is pronounced like the "WA" in "water," but shorter [wä].

50

reina

Note that "ei" and "ey" are pronounced like the "AY" in "say," but shorter [e̞i].

51

deuda

Note that "eu" is pronounced like the "E" in "pet" + the "OO" in "foot," but both sounds are very short [e̞u].

52

hielo

Note that "ie" and "ye" are pronounced like the "YE" in "yes" [je̞].

53

huevo

Note that "ue" is pronounced like the "WE" in "wet" [we̞].

54

hoy

Note that "oi" and "oy" are pronounced like the "OY" in "toy" [o̞i].

55

estadounidense

Note that "ou" is pronounced like the "O" in "shot" + the "OO" in "foot," but much shorter [o̞u].

These "ou" diphthongs are rare and mostly found in compound words or words of foreign origin. They are sometimes pronounced like the "OU" in "gourmet," only shorter.

56

idioma

Note that "io" and "yo" are pronounced like the "YO" in "yolk" [jo̞].

57

monstruo

Note that "uo" is pronounced like the "WO" in "wonder," but shorter [wo̞].

58

ruido

Note that "ui" and "uy" are pronounced like the "WEE" in "week," but shorter [wi].

59

ciudad

Note that "iu" and "yu" are pronounced like "you," but shorter [ju].

60

What are triphthongs?

Triphthongs are rare. They occur when three vowels blend together to form one syllable.

A triphthong must start and end with a "weak" vowel ("i", "u" or "y"), usually with a "strong" vowel ("a", "e" or "o") in the center.

The "weak" vowels ("i", "u" or "y") become much shorter and almost merge into the "strong" vowel sound.

61

Paraguay

Note that "uay" is pronounced like the "W" in "water" + the "I" in "admire" [wäi].

62

semiautomático

Note that "iau" is pronounced like the "YA" in "yarn" + the "OO" in "foot," but shorter [jäu].

63

buey

Note that "uey" is pronounced like the "W" in "water" + the "AY" in "say" [we̞i].

64

What is a hiatus?

A hiatus is when two "strong" vowels ("a", "e" or "o") are side by side. The sounds don't merge into one syllable, but remain separate in two syllables.

Sometimes, "weak" vowels ("i" and "u") can be made strong by placing the accent of a word on them. In these cases, they are also pronounced as two separate sounds, rather than one syllable.

The vowels in a hiatus can be separated by a silent "h."

65

leer

Note that "ee" is pronounced like the "E" in "pet," pronounced twice, with the sounds clearly separated [e̞e̞].

66

azahar

Note that "aha" is pronounced like the "A" in "cart," pronounced twice, with the sounds clearly separated [ää].

Note how the vowels in a hiatus can be separated by a silent "h."

67

alcohol

Note that "oho" is pronounced like the "O" in "shot," pronounced twice, with the sounds clearly separated [o̞o̞].

68

caer

Note how "ae" is pronounced like the "A" in "cat" + the "E" in "pet" [äe̞].

69

bl

Note that "aú" is pronounced like the "A" in "cat" + the "OO" in "foot," but shorter [äu].

70

ps

Note that "aí" is pronounced like the "A" in "cat" + the "EE" in "seen," but shorter [äi].

71

How does accentuation work in Spanish?

In Spanish, all syllables are equally long. However, there can be a variation of stress, or accent. Every word in Spanish has one (and only one) stressed syllable.

The stress can fall on any syllable, but it's most common on the next-to-last syllable. Most words follow a predictable pattern and they do not need a written accent, or "tilde." When words fall outside the pattern, a tilde is used to tell the reader where the stress falls. The tilde is placed over the vowel in that syllable.

72

barril

Note how the accent is on the last syllable: barril.

73

joven

Note how the accent is on the next-to-last syllable: joven.

74

tren

"Tren" is a monosyllable -- a word that has only one syllable. Monosyllables are always stressed and usually don't need a written accent or tilde.

75

amistad

Note how the accent, or stress, is placed on the last syllable: amistad. When the accents falls on the last syllable and the word ends in a consonant other than "n" or "s," no tilde is needed.

76

tiburón

A written accent, or tilde, is added to the vowel in the last syllable if the word ends in "n", "s" or a vowel.

77

camino

Most words in Spanish have the stress on the second-to-last syllable. They usually don't need a tilde.

78

difícil

Words with stress on the second-to-last syllable need a tilde when they end in a consonant that is NOT "n" or "s."

79

propósito

Words with stress on any syllable that is not the last or second-to-last syllable always have a tilde.

Adverbs ending in "-mente" are an exception; they follow the accentuation rules of the adjective they are derived from.

80

camión

Diphthongs (and triphtongs) can have tildes when they are required. The tilde will always be placed on the "strong" vowel ("a", "e" or "o").

When the diphthong is made up of only "weak" vowels ("i" or "u"), the tilde is placed on the second vowel.

81

día

A tilde, or written accent, is sometimes used to "break" a diphthong and create a hiatus. It will always be placed on the "weak" volwel ("i" or "u"), and this will always be the stressed syllable.

82

What are diacritical accents?

Sometimes, tildes, or written accents, are used to differentiate homonyms, or words that are written and sound alike, but have different meanings. These are known as diacritical accents or tildes.

83

What is the difference between qué and que?

qué - what

que - that

Question words like qué always have a tilde, while the same words, when used as conjunctions, do not. The context will usually let you know which is which.

84

What is the difference between and tu?

- you

tu - your

 as a personal pronoun always has a tilde, while tu as a possessive pronoun does not.

85

What is the difference between él and el?

él - he

el - the

Él as a personal pronoun always has a tilde. If it is an article, el does not.

86

What is the difference between más and mas?

más - more

mas - but

Of course, pero is a much more common translation for "but."