The key, then, to learning Spanish spelling is to learn how each letter is pronounced. You can find guides to each of the letters on the following pages:
- Pronouncing the vowels: A, E, I, O, U, Y
- Pronouncing the easy consonants (ones pronounced roughly like they are in English): CH, F, K, M, P, Q, S, T, W, Y
- Pronouncing the difficult consonants (ones pronounced differently than in English): B, C, D, G, H, J, L, LL, N, Ñ, R, RR, V, X, Z
- The vowel sounds of Spanish are usually purer than those of English. Although the vowel sounds of English can be indistinct - the "a" of "about" sounds much like the "e" of "broken," for example - that isn't the case in Spanish.
- It is very common for sounds of words to blend together, especially when a word ends in the same latter that begins the next word. For example, helado (ice cream) and el lado are pronounced identically. This process is known as elision.
- Sounds of consonants tend to be softer or less explosive than they are in English. One notable example is the sound of the h, which has become so softened over the centuries that it is silent in modern speech.
- The rules on which syllable is stressed are clear and unambiguous in Spanish. If a word has a nonstandard stress, an written accent can be placed over a vowel to indicate the correct stress.