In the Destinos TV series you will have the opportunity to imitate Raquel’s and the other characters’ pronunciation. Nevertheless, in these notes we give you some clues about Spanish pronunciation of letters that could cause some confusion because of their difference with English. These notes should be a valuable help for you when preparing for oral and written exercises and exams. Let’s begin with the basic Spanish phonetics to help you with your pronunciation
casa - mamá - papá - papa
Pepe - pero - Perú - Argentina
Inés - María - Martínez - sí
no - febrero - oso - yo - color - doctor - señor
uno - universidad - unión - tú - Uruguay
cuesco - puerto - puerta - nuestro
guitarra - aguijón - Guillermo - Guinea - guisar -
vino blanco - viva Bolivia!
[car - cart - chocolate - cook]
[k] casa - chocolate - Cuba - Cuzco
c in front of e and i vowels has a soft sound (as [c] in Ceylon - city)
(s) cemento - celeste - cien - cielo
fantasía - felicidad - fiscal - foca - funeral - flores - Francisco
gata - gorila - gusto
g in front of e and i vowels sounds like “h” in Helen and he
gemelos - general - gitano - gigante
g with the combination ue and ui has a soft sound like in guest, guess, and guitar.... It becomes as soft as in “ga” “go” or “gu”
guerrero - guerra - guerrilla - guitarra - guisante - guinda
Note that in the examples above the “u” vowel is silent: guitarra (like in guitar).
There are certain occasions when the “u” in the combination “gu + e” or “gu + i ” is not silent: it must be pronounced. We must pronounce the “u”, by recognizing the “cremilla” (¨) the “u” bears on top.
Examples: vergüenza - bilingüe - coligüe - agüita - Camagüey - güelfo - güemul güimba - güiro - güillín
hospital - hotel - ahora - ahí
almohada - zanahoria - ahorrar
Jalisco - jefe - jirafa - José - Juan
añil - caña - cabaña - cañería - paño- Mañungo (short for Manuel)
In the combinations “gu + e” and “gu + i” the “u” is always silent.
It is a strong sound at the beginning of a word (as in Richard)
rosa - rico - Rubén - ruinas
arroz - arriba - garra - Rogelio - zamarra
(Spanish “rr” is never found as a first letter of a word.)
ya - yo - vaya - sayo - rayón
With these examples above, you should encounter no problem in the Spanish pronunciation exercises you are expected to do in the Spanish courses.