Learn How To Speak Spanish: Vowels

The video appears below, after the written lesson.

1. The first concept to conquer if you want to learn how to speak Spanish is vowel and consonant pronunciation. Unlike English, Spanish vowels always sound the same–no long vowel sounds.

  • a sounds sort of like the a in father
  • e sounds sort of like the e in let
  • i sounds sort of like the ea in tea
  • o sounds sort of like the o in hope
  • u sounds sort of like the u in super

2. Spanish vowels have a short crisp sound. Use loudness to indicate the stressed syllable rather than increasing the length and sound of the stressed vowel as in English.

Consider the word banana. Now pronounce it in Spanish. Yes, I know it’s really plátano, but the example shows you how to increase the volume of the stressed vowel, not change the sound. To learn how to speak Spanish, it’s imperative that you understand and practice this concept.

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3. A diphthong is when an unstressed i or u combines with another vowel in a syllable. The diphthong is pronounced as one syllable. To speak Spanish properly, do not change the sounds of the vowels, simply flow them together.

Try it:

siete — seven
ciudad — city

A stressed vowel between unstressed i or u in the same syllable is called a triphthong–as in the name of this country: Uruguay.

4. With the exception of the combinations iu and ui, stressed i and u do not form diphthongs with other vowels.

Example:

día — day

Watch: Learn Spanish Vowels Video



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