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Pronouncing the 'A'

Vowel Has Clear Sound Even When Unstressed

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The Spanish a is pronounced much like the English "a" in words such as "father" or the "o" in "loss." It is not pronounced like the "a" in words such as "fast" and "grab" (although in some regions you may hear some speakers use a sound somewhere between the "a" of "father" and the "a" of "grab").

The important thing to keep in mind when pronouncing the a is that its sound is always distinct, even when it's not stressed, unlike in English where unstressed vowels often receive a vague sound called the schwa. In the accompanying audio file, you can hear how a native speaker pronounces the a the same whether it's in adelante, where the a is stressed, and in gusta, where it is not.

Words or phrases spoken by native speakers in our brief audio lesson on pronouncing the a are adelante (go ahead), le gusta (he/she likes it) and otra vez (again).

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