If you’re learning Spanish, you’ll want to take time to learn the Spanish alphabet. After all, letters are the building blocks of a language. Besides, it’s easy enough to learn, especially if you can already read Roman letters – you know, a, b, c… all the hits.
The majority of the letters in Spanish have their own special names and people use them all the time when spelling out words.
Today, you’ll practice spelling your name in Spanish. This is very useful when you are doing something like making hotel reservations on the phone, and in many other contexts.
Knowing the Spanish alphabet will help with your Spanish pronunciation.
So let’s dive in.
How many letters are there in the Spanish alphabet?
The only difference between the English and Spanish written alphabets is that Spanish has 27 letters, while English has only 26. The great news about the Spanish alphabet is that, from a reading perspective, it’s essentially the Latin alphabet we know and love. That’s the alphabet used in English, amongst many other languages – from the Germanic and Romance language families, and beyond.
See, there have been, historically, a few extra letters in Spanish – one of which still exists, and you’ve probably seen it before.
Meet ñ (“en-yeh”) – as in piña colada and España.
Despite looking distinctly like an n, ñ is its own unique letter. It’s pronounced, approximately, like the “ny” in lanyard or the “ni” in onion.
The history of ñ and the tilde
Ñ, which did not exist in Latin and is therefore not seen in other Romance languages, was originally created around the twelfth century by Spanish scribes. They used the tilde (that’s this symbol: ~) as short form for two of the same letter appearing in a row when they were copying Latin text. So, for example, the original Latin for year, annus, eventually became the Spanish año.
Over time, the tilde symbol fell out of use over other letters, but it remained on the n, taking on new meaning. It became used to indicate that specific “nyuh” pronunciation, becoming part of the unique fabric of the language.
Now is your turn!
STEP 1. Click on each vowel sound icon and practice!
And that’s the Spanish alphabet, covered
Now you know the ins and outs of the Spanish alphabet. You’re practically a master of letters and sounds. But, of course, that’s only the beginning.
CEO of The Spanish Tribe