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INTRODUCTION

This chapter was designed for the health care workers’ (HCW) need for simple and to-the-point grammar. Here you will find useful information about how to pronounce the Spanish alphabet, as well as how to understand some of the simplest grammar concepts of the language. This chapter will provide particular conjugations as well as information about basic mechanics of the Spanish language.

PRONUNCIATION

The Alphabet

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Letter

Pronunciation

Letter

Pronunciation

a

ah

n

eneh

b

beh

ñ

en-yeh

c

seh

o

oh(au)

ch

che

p

peh

d

deh

q

ku

e

eh

r

ere

f

eh-feh

s

ese

g

heh

t

teh

h

ah-che

u

oo

i

ee

v

veh

i

houtah

w

doble veh

k

kah

x

eh-kees

l

ele

y

ee-griegah

ll

eh-yeh

z

zeh-ta

m

emeh

Vowels

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Vowel

Pronunciation

English Examples

Spanish Examples

A

ah

father

paso, arte, alma

E

eh

met

peso, estilo

I and Y

ee

machine and corky

piso, Díos, Ynez

O

oh

sold, note

pozo, olmo

oo (rare) is pronounced as a long O

U

oo

like oo in moon and moot

puso, unido (never like U in mute)

between G and E or I, it is not pronounced, as in guest, guide

guerrilla

Consonants

There are a number of hard and soft sounding consonants based on vowel combinations that are easy to confuse while speaking.

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Consonant/consonant-vowel combination

Hard or Soft

Pronunciation

i

hard

h

ba; ca

hard

bah; cah

be; ce

soft

beh; seh

bi; ci

soft

bee; see

bo; co

hard

boh; ko

bu; cu

hard

boo; coo

There are also a number of rules that determine the way certain consonants are pronounced.

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Consonant

English Examples

Spanish Examples

C plus A, O, U or a consonant

Like hard C in cat, copy, and cooper

cama, como, cura, cual, clamor, acción

C plus E or I

Like soft C in certain

centro, cero, hacer, decir

CH

Like ch in church

chocolate, leche, churro

G plus A, O, U or a consonant

Like hard G in gate

García, golfo, gusano, amigo, gracias (The G in the gua combination is pronounced so softly by some that it sounds almost like wah, as in Guadalupe, guayabera)

G plus E or I

like hard H in hag, hog, hug

gente, ingeniero, gitano, agitar

H

not pronounced, as in heir

hiio, hotel, herencia, humano

J

like hard H in hot, harp

José, Jesús, Guadalaiara

LL

Y sound, as in yes

calle, llano, llave

Ñ

like NI in onion and NY in canyon

cañon, España, tamaño

...

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