The Spanish Alphabet

In addition to the web version, you can download the lesson as a PDF, found at the bottom of the page.

Be sure to listen and practice with the audio throughout the lesson.​

The Spanish Alphabet

One of the most common ways to look at the Spanish alphabet is by using 27 distinct letters—five vowels and 22* consonants.

However, oftentimes you’ll see three more pairs (green) added to the alphabet.

the spanish alphabet
I swear this image is level...

As you’ll see next, these (green) letters already exist individually within the 27-letter alphabet.

It’s true that each make a unique sound when combined—but this can be said about any combination of letters, so we’re not including them in the ‘official’ count.

Let’s look at the 27 different letters with examples in the table. Practice their pronunciation as you go along.

Translations can be found at the bottom of the page.

Spanish Alphabet

a
la abuela
acabar


b
la biblioteca
buscar


c
el chico
creer

d
el dedo
decir

e
el elefante
empezar

f
el fuego
firmar

g
el globo
gustar

h
el helado
hablar

i
la iglesia
ir


j
el jarabe
jugar


k
el kilo
el kiwi*


l
el libro
leer


m
la mujer
mirar


n
la naranja
nadar


ñ
la ñapa
engañar


o
el ojo
olvidar


p
el perro
pedir


q
el queso
querer


r
la rana
regresar


s
el sol
salir


t
la tortugar
tratar


u
la uva
usar


v
la vaca
volver

w
el wafle
el whisky*


x
el xilófono
examinar


y
el yate
desayunar


z
el zapato
zumbar


letter
noun
verb

x
el xilófono
examinar


y
el yate
desayunar


z
el zapato
zumbar


letter
noun
verb

* k and w are used almost exclusively with foreign words, like kilo and whisky in Spanish

Although the Spanish alphabet has 27 letters*, there’s actually 35+ different sounds that these letters can produce, depending on region and speaker.

The same letter can produce multiple, distinct sounds. Therefore, it’s important to not only recognize the alphabet, but also all of its sounds.

This is an important step to learning Spanish and any other language for two big reasons:

You’ll likely substitute the English-equivalent sounds

This happens if you read the words without knowing how they sound. And it won’t end well for your pronunciation either, as it could take twice as long to undo and relearn them correctly.

You won’t be able to hear the words.

You have to adjust your ear to Spanish. That’s why more listening and less reading can really help accelerate your ability to reach a conversational level when you begin studying.

Although this course mixes listening and reading, the audios in the Beginner Series are more effective in getting you out of the beginner stage of Spanish and progressing to basic conversation.

In the next lesson, you’ll learn the vowels that use accent marks, as well as how these marks can change the meaning of a word. We’ll also touch on the three green letters from before—ch, ll and rr.

English Translations

a
grandmother
to finish

b
library
to look for

c
boy
to believe

d
finger
to say, tell

e
elephant
to begin

f
fire
to sign

g
balloon
to like

h
ice cream
to talk

i
church
to go

j
syrup
to play

k
kilo
kiwi*

l
book
to read

m
woman
to look, watch

n
orange
to swim

ñ
freebie
to deceive

o
eye
to forget

p
dog
to ask, request

q
cheese
to want

r
frog
to come back

s
sun
to leave

u
grape
to use

t
turtle
to try

v
cow
to return

w
waffle
whiskey*

x
xylophone
to examine

z
shoe
to hum, buzz

y
yacht
to eat breakfast