Spanish phonology

The Spanish pronunciation differs in part considerably from the German language. So, for example, occur in many Spanish German foreign rubbing and dentals on. Many Spanish consonants must be pronounced differently than in English to be understood or to avoid misunderstandings.

  • 4.1 Historical developments

Relationship between pronunciation and spelling

With few exceptions, his pronunciation is well defined because of the spelling of a Spanish word. Conversely, are largely closed by listening to a word on the spelling.

Accordingly, very quickly adapted to the Spanish spelling of the Spanish foreign words usually, if they are not replaced by an equal -Spanish words. So it is quite natural English expressions such as " whiskey " or "standard" " güisqui " or " estándar to write ". Even abbreviations such as "CD -ROM" can transform to " cederrón " as it is spoken.


Spanish words are stressed usually on the penultimate syllable if it s in a vowel or the letter or ending s. You are stressed on the last syllable, when they ( except n and s) in a consonant end. In all cases deviating from the emphasis is indicated by an accent ( acute ).


In Spanish, unlike in English, no distinction is made between short and long vowels. The vowels are pronounced always half long.


The Spanish has five monophthongs.

Pronunciation help for German language:

  • A, pronounced as in the German word barrel
  • E, medium speaking, between the bed and bedding
  • I, as in the German spoken word song
  • O, medium spoken between God and death
  • U, spoken as in the German word courage


In some cases, where one syllable with Gue or Gui starts, an Umlaut ( dieresis ) is used to uniquely identify the pronunciation used: guey is like gej, güey as gwei pronounced.


Triphthongs in Spanish are: uei ( uey ) as buey ( " ox " ) occurs in the word and uai ( UAY ), as in the word Uruguay.


The Spanish language has 24 consonants. The fricatives [ β ð ɣ ] are allophones of / bdg /.

Source: SAMPA for Spanish ( English)

A distinction of the sounds / ʎ / and / ʝ / and / j / does not occur in the entire Spanish-speaking world, see the article for yeismo.

Originally x pronounced like the German sch as [ ʃ ] in Spanish, in the course of time, however, the pronunciation of this sound came about in today's [x] and was ultimately written as j. In some historically significant words such as México ( = Méjico ) the former spelling still lives on.

Historical developments

The system of consonants of Spanish underwent numerous changes since the 16th century:

  • The voiced bilabial fricative / β / (generally written with u or v) coincided with the bilabial voiced plosive / b / together. The letters v and b are today either for different sounds, even for sounds of medieval Spanish. It is an etymological distinction with roots in Latin.
  • The voiced alveolar fricative [z ] ( which as s between vowels writes or wrote ) coincided with the voiceless [s ] together ( between vowels originally written ss ).
  • The voiced alveolar fricative [ ʣ ] (written z) coincided with [ ʦ ] together (written with cedilla ç, or c before the vowels e and i). [ ʦ ] then shifted to [ θ ], the z writes itself, or c if it is preceded by e or i. In America, Andalusia and the Canary Islands this also fell sound [s ] together ( Seseo ).
  • [ ʒ ] (written j, or g before e or i ) was voiced postalveolar fricative, but fell with the unvoiced / ʃ / together (written x, eg Quixote ), and was in the 17th century to the present velar sound [ x]. In many Latin American countries, these letters stand for the sound [ h].

Not too long ago, both in parts of Spain and America, found a collapse of the palatal lateral and not lateral consonants instead (originally [ ʎ ] and [ j], now just [j]). This collapse is called yeismo, according to the letter y.


  • .? Adiós, hasta mañana / i (27 KB ) - " Goodbye, see you tomorrow. "
  • ? ¿ Qué hay de nuevo / i (24 KB ) - " What's new? "
  • ? Yo estoy bien, gracias, ¿ y tú / i (29 KB ) - " Thank you, I'm fine, and you? "

Voiced by a people of Madrid.

Examples: The Little Prince in Spanish


  • (Barcelona, Spain)


  • ( Sinaloa, Mexico)

The difference in these two examples is the European and American Spanish.

See: Seseo