Language is power, life, and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation - Angela Carter

Looking for Spanish classes near me to learn Spanish? You are at the right place then. With a Spanish language course on Superprof, you can learn all about the words, grammar, pronunciations, vocabulary, accents, and the rules of speaking the language. Considering that Spanish is such a popular global language, spoken officially in as many as 21 countries, there has never been a better time to take up Spanish lessons. Learning the language can prove to be a real asset in many aspects of your life - career, education, migration, marriage, etc.

So, where do you begin? Spanish is a multi-faceted language and highly nuanced. It is very similar to English, as you would find out in this article that delves into Spanish alphabets. But it is also quite different in the sense that it is very diverse. And just like learning any other language, learning Spanish also comes with its own set of challenges. But you can overcome those with the right guidance from a Spanish teacher. So, let's get started with the basics - Spanish alphabets.

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What are the Spanish Alphabets?

What is a diphthong in Spanish?
Learn Spanish alphabets with the help of online Spanish classes.

In Spanish, an alphabet is called abecedario or alfabeto. There are 27 alphabets in the Spanish language, of which 5 are vowels and 22 consonants. The way to master a new language is to first master the pronunciation of the alphabets. So, when you learn Spanish, all courses will first emphasize on this.

What are the Spanish Alphabets' Pronunciation?

As you may have noticed, the Spanish language has an additional letter compared to the English language. This is because, the former has ñ in the list of alphabets. In order to speak the Spanish language, take a look at how each alphabet is pronounced -

  1. A - a
  2. B - be
  3. C - ce
  4. D - de
  5. E - e
  6. F - efe
  7. G - ge
  8. H - hache
  9. I - i
  10. J - jota
  11. K - ka
  12. L - ele
  13. M - eme
  14. N - ene
  15. Ñ - eñe
  16. O - o
  17. P - pe
  18. Q - cu
  19. R - erre
  20. S - ese
  21. T - te
  22. U - u
  23. V - uve
  24. W - uve doble
  25. X - equis
  26. Y - i griega or ye
  27. Z - zeta

Things to Note

All the Spanish alphabets are referred to in the feminine form, that is, le emme, la hache, la uve, and so on. Also, B and V have the same sounds when they are pronounced, although used differently. The letter ce is pronounced as K when it is followed by the vowels a, o, or u. But when placed before e or i, it is pronounced as "TH". Hache is a silent alphabet, used in words without a sound, while jota is always pronounced as the English X. In essence, how you speak the Spanish language can be different from how you write the alphabets. And this is exactly what you will learn in your Spanish lessons.

Spanish Lessons to Learn Accents

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The Spanish language uses three diacritical marks, namely,

  1. Accent marks.
  2. Dieresis.
  3. Tilde.

Accent Marks in Spanish

Accents are used in a word to stress on the correct syllable. In Spanish, accent marks are inserted to help in the correct pronunciation of words. For example, árbol or "tree". You can use Spanish accents on the five vowels, á, é, í, ó, ú. You may also use accents to differentiate between similar-sounding words with different meanings. The latter are called homonyms. A few examples of Spanish homonyms are,

  • de, which is a preposition, and dé, which means to "to give".
  • el, a masculine article "The", and él, meaning "he".
  • si, or IF, and sí, or YES.
  • tu, meaning Your, and tú, meaning You.
  • mas, which means "but", and más, which means "more.

Dieresis in Spanish

Dierisis or Umlaut is placed over the u, when used with the g, like in the words, güe and güi. An umlaut is used to change the sound of gu to a more English w. Popular examples of Spanish umlauts are the words "penguin," pingüino, or averigüé, which means "found out about" or "verified."

Tilde in Spanish

A tilde is simply a curved line that you put over an "n", to separate n and ñ. It marks a change in how you pronounce the two alphabets in combination with other letters in a word.

Spanish-English Cognates

Cognates are words that are found both in the English and Spanish languages, having the same origin, and may have the same spelling as well. A few characteristics of Spanish-English cognates include,

  • In English, words of Greek origin has the "k" sound for "ch". But in Spanish, it is pronounced as qu. Example: architecture in English, but arquitectura in Spanish.
  • English uses "gn" to pronounce "ny". But in Spanish, you would use ñ. Example: campaign in English, but campana in Spanish.
  • Spanish words with a "k" that have been borrowed from the English vocabulary sometimes retain the "k". But in some cases, qu or c might be used. For example, kiosk in English, but kiosco or quiosco in Spanish.

Learn Fun Facts from Your Spanish Teacher

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A Spanish teacher can help you perfect your accents and marks during the course of your Spanish classes.

Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When you learn Spanish, you also learn about the history, evolution, and the current form of the language. And that can bring forth many fun and interesting facts. The way your Spanish teacher teaches, makes all the difference when it comes to learning the language properly. So, here are a few fun facts about the Spanish language, as a whole -

  • The number of Spanish alphabets: Ask any English-speaking individual about the number of English letters and you will get a straight 26! But ask people who speak in Spanish the same thing, and you will get an answer ranging between 25 and 30, depending on who you ask. Officially, there are 27 Spanish alphabets, as you already know by now.
  • No word of Spanish origin uses the letters k and w: Although these two letters are two different Spanish alphabets, both are borrowed from foreign vocabulary, and are hardly used in authentic Spanish words. And this is the reason why these two letters are also pronounced differently in Spanish.
  • LL and CH are no longer official alphabets of the Spanish language: Did you know that there was a major overhaul of the systems and principles of the Spanish language in 1994 by the Royal Spanish Academy. One of the major changes brought about at this time was the doing away with the letters ll and ch. This change was further reiterated in 2010, when the Academy issued the new and revised Spanish Spelling Manual. So, if you took Spanish lessons before 2010, make sure you are updated on how to speak Spanish in the current times.
  • The confusion with the RR: The history of the rr in Spanish is way more muddled than the confusion with ll and ch. It is said that rr has not been an official Spanish alphabet since the 1800s! This is because the use of r and rr interchangeably, can alter the meaning of an entire word. For example, the word pero means "but", but the word perro means "dog" in Spanish.
  • The only true Spanish letter: Ñ is probably the only Spanish alphabet with true Spanish roots. Most other alphabets either have a Latin or Greek or Arabic origin.
  • The question mark on H: There are now debates and discourses around the significance of having the letter H, and the complete removal of it from the Spanish vocabulary. Since it is used as a silent consonant everywhere, there is now a serious question mark on whether or not to keep it as an official Spanish alphabet.

Learn Spanish Words without An English Equivalent

Spanish word
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To learn Spanish is to open doors to a new world. The language is literally a global language with more than 400 million people in the world, who speak the language. And while the language may have borrowed significantly from other foreign languages like Latin or Arabic, and have many overlaps with the English language, it is interesting to learn about the differences with the English words. Here are a few Spanish words that you can ask your Spanish teacher about, that have no English equivalent -

  • Trasnochar, meaning "stay up late" in Spanish.
  • Madrugar, meaning "dawn" in Spanish.
  • Friolento, meaning "sensitive to the cold" in Spanish.
  • Soler, meaning "usually" in Spanish.
  • Tocayo, meaning "namesake" in Spanish.
  • Sobremesa, meaning "time spent socializing" in Spanish.
  • Entrecejo, meaning "space between the eyebrows" in Spanish.
  • Empalagarse, meaning "the feeling after eating" in Spanish.
  • Amigovio, meaning "a friend who shares a romantic relationship with you" in Spanish.
  • Tutear, meaning "to address someone with the informal tú" in Spanish.
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Krishna

Writer with an enthusiasm to learn more about SEO.