El Abecedario

by Nov 21, 2016

El abecedario / El alfabeto

The English alphabet has 26 letters compared to the modern Spanish alphabet which has 27 letters.  The traditional Spanish alphabet had an additional three letters for a total of 30.  The four additional letters are Ñ,ñ | Rr, rr | Ch, ch | Ll, ll.  The Real Academia officially removed rr, ch and ll as letters in the Spanish language, but for pronunciation purposes we are going to continue to treat them as individual letters.

A, B, C, CH, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, Ll, M, N, Ñ, O, P, Q, R, RR, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

a, b, c, ch, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, ll, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, rr, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z

The Spanish vowels are the same as the English alphabet except y is never a vowel.

A  E  I  O  U

Letters

Unlike the English alphabet the letters of the Spanish alphabet have names.

a = a b = be, be grande c = ce ch = che d = de e = e
f = efe g = ge h = hache i = i, i latina j = jota k = ka
l = ele ll = elle m = eme n = ene ñ = eñe o = o
p = pe q = qu r = ere rr = erre s = ese t = te
u = u v =  ve, ve chica, uve w  = doble ve x = equis y = i griega z = zeta, ze

Pronunciation

The letters of the Spanish alphabet are always pronounced the same.  The exception to this rule is c and g.  These two letters change pronunciation depending on the vowel following these letters.

c = for ca / co / cu

café / copa / cuaderno

c = for ce / ci

cebolla / ciencia

g= g   for ga / go / gu

gato / gobierno / guapo

g = h   for ge / gi

gente / gigante

There are four combinations of three letters that have their own pronunciation.

que = kay       porque

qui = key        aquí

gui = gee       guía

gue = gay      guerra

La pronunciación puertorriqueña

Languages adapt and change over time.  Geographic separation and isolation has lead to a variety of dialects to appear in any given langauge.  Spanish is no exception to this process.  The Spanish dialect spoken in Puerto Rico is unique and is believed to have strong roots from the dialect of Andalusia in southern Spain.

R to L

The most notable feature of the Puerto Rican dialect is the pronunciation of the r.  The common preception is that Puerto Ricans pronounce the r as an l; however, this generalization is only particially correct.  There are specfic rules around when the is pronounced as an l.

  1. When r is the last letter of the word. (ej. caminar)
  2. When r is followed by a consonant.  (ej. puerto)

The rr is never pronounced as l.  It retains the standard pronunciation or a glottal stop sound.

S to soft h

  1. When s comes at the end of the word it has a very soft “ha” sound almost like it is being swallowed.  (ej. las casas).
  2. Sometimes the s inside of a word will also change to a soft “ha” sound. (ej. esta mujer)

When s is the first letter in a word it retains the traditional s pronunciation. (ej. los sueños)

-udo | -uda | -ado | -ada

These four suffixes have pronunciation changes.

-udo is pronounced -úo or -ú (ej. peludo)

-uda is pronounced -úa (ej. peluda)

-ado is pronounced -ao (ej. cansado)

-ada is pronounced -a’a (ej. cansada)

 

Para

When speaking para often becomes pa’ and para el becomes pal’.

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