Pronunciation can be an intimidating thing when learning a language. However, the nice thing about Spanish is that it is not all that difficult to read and then know how to pronounce it. Your pronunciation does not have to be perfect, just good enough to be understood.
Unlike English, Spanish for the most part is written how it sounds. So, once you know a few basics about its pronunciation, you can figure out how words are pronounced even if you find yourself without an audio file handy. It always helps to hear it pronounced to really get it dead on, but sometimes that is just not possible.
So, here are some tips that will help you get it most of the time.
1. The Spanish vowels are – a (ah), e (eh), i (ee), o (oh), u (oo) – with their pronunciations in parentheses. Each vowel has only that sound (unlike English which can be a nightmare for those trying to learn our language!).
2. All the consonants are pronounced pretty much like in English, but here are the few to highlight that are different:
“j” sounds like an “h”
“ll” sounds like a “y”
“g” when followed by “a, o, u” has a hard “g” sound like in the English word “go”
“g” when followed by “e or i” sounds like an “h”
“c” when followed by “a, o, u” sounds like “k”
“c” when followed by “e or i” sounds like “s”
“h” is silent
“ch” sounds just like it does in English
There are more rules laid out in the Spanish for You! books, but if you know these, you should be able to navigate your way through words and be pretty accurate.
So, I hope this helps get you on your way to pronouncing. Oh, and remember to roll your “r”! It is a toughie, isn’t it? But, just do your best. Even some Spanish speakers have a hard time with it believe it or not.