PRONOUNCING SPANISH VOWELS
Learn the pronunciation of the Spanish vowels are easy for English speakers because they have a similar pronunciation to English vowels with some differences in the E and U. One thing that you must remember about Spanish vowels is that they have a only way to pronounce it; they don’t have changes in any context, for example the “a” in Spanish language always will sound like “a” in the English word “car”. In Spanish language there are few words that can vary slightly depending of the letters that are around it.
First, the more or less invariable sounds
- A: Spanish people pronounce this vocal like “a” in “car” or in “math” some examples in Spanish are: padre, madre, cara, etc. Remember that there are some people who speak fast and they don’t let understand what they are saying.
- I: This vowel is pronounced like the “ea” in “meat” or the “i” in “kill”, here we have some examples : caminar, morir, etc.
- O: Learn to speak correctly, you only have to learn how you can pronounce it. It sounds like “o” in “lock” or “robot”.
The two vowels whose sound can change
- E: This vowel is pronounced like the “e” in “really” or in “beat”; for example: comer, ver, saber, etc. This is vowel could have a confusing pronunciation in special sentences where it is combined with some specific letters for example: peine, feudo. Remember that when it’s at the end of the word, in a sentence it may sound more like the “e” of met. For example, in a phrase such as de vez en cuando, each e has approximately the same sound.
- U Spanish people pronounce this vowel like the “oo” in “roof” or “u” in “skull”; for example: uniforme, lucir, lustre, etc. When this vowel is used with the combinations “gue”, “gui”, “que” and “qui” the vowel “u” is silent; for example: guerra, queso, quiero, etc. But there is some situations when the “u” have to be pronounced, in these situations you have to use ¨ (dieresis) over the u; for example: vergüenza, lingüistica, etc.
Diphthongs and triphthongs: It is created when two or three vocals stay together to make one syllable. First we have to recognize the strong and weak vowels; the strong vowels are “a, e, o” and the weak vowels are “i, u”. The Diphthong is made by a weak vowel with a strong vowel or by two weak vowels; for example: caiman, cuaderno, cuidado, cuerpo, etc. The Triphthongs are made by a strong vowel with two weak vowels or made by three weak vowels; for examples: riais, semiautomatico, miau, etc. The letter Y: This letter is usually used as consonant, but there are some situations when people use it as a vocal, especially when this letter is at the end of the word; for example: soy, rey, etc. this use is very common for the words that comes from English and maintain their pronunciation; for example: sexy, etc.