Lesson 2


CLASE 2. Phonetics. Difficult sounds. Fonética. Sonidos difíciles.. Gramática

[t] and [d] sounds

In Spanish, all consonants are pronounced clearly, they are short and never aspired.

The sound [d] is represented by the letter D (de). It is similar to the English [d] in did. It should be pronounced short, without aspiration, tongue not moving.
The sound [t] is represented by the letter T (te). It’s pronounced in a similar way but not voiced.

  • 1. Read these international words:
  • Data. Pasta. Doctor. Fagot. Minuto. Piloto.


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  • 2. Now read these international words and names trying not to aspire the sounds [t], [d]:
  • Dentista, biblioteca, matemática, tema, sistema.

    Apetito, plástico, política, interés, disco.

    Antonio, Mateo, Teodoro, Daniel, Ada, Diana.


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  • 3. Read these short phrases:
  • Toco el piano – I play the piano

    Tomo té con tostadas – (Usually) I have tea with toasts

    No tengo tele – I don’t have a TV

    Mi tío tiene un disco con un tema interesante – My uncle has a CD with an interesting music theme


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    [r] and [rr] sounds

    The letter R (ere) represents two different sounds, [r] and [rr]. This contrast is a distinctive opposition, so it’s important to be able to pronounce and understand it.

    There are no sounds [r] and [rr] in English, the English [r] has nothing in common with the Spanish variants. The sound [r] is tap, it is articulated in the same place as the sound [l]. The tongue slightly touches the hard palate.

    The sound [r] cannot be at the beginning of the word, though it appears in all the rest positions:

    caro, parar, prado

    [Rr] it is articulated in the same place, though it is trill, more “growling” than in English. You must "roll" it.
    At the beginning of the word, or after the letters -n-, -s-, the letter r is always pronounced as [rr]:

    Roma [RRoma]
    Rita [RRita]
    Enrique [Enrrike]

    The sound [s] before [rr] is not pronounced:

    Israel [Irrael]
    las rosas [larrosas]

    The trilling [rr] between vowels is represented by double rr:

    perro, carro

    Use rr only between two vowels.

  • 4. Read these words. Don`t roll the r:
  • Cultura. Actor. Turista.

    Aeropuerto. Bar. Cafetería. Teatro. Ópera.

    Arquitecto. Ministro. Número. Mandarina.

    Andrea. Adriana. Pedro. María.


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  • 5. Now try to roll the [r]:
  • Rita, Rosa. Ramón, Ricardo.

    Roma, Rumanía, Rusia. Monreal, Enrique.

    Una rosa. Las rosas. Una rumana. Las rumanas. Un romano. Los romanos.


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  • 6. Paint according to the pronunciation of the R sound:
  • rosa
    israelí
    honrado
    hablar
    Ramón
    crema
    británico
    perro
    paro
    [rr][r]

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  • 7. Make a difference between the pairs of different words:
  • pero – perro, caro – carro, coro – corro, para – parra, mira – mirra, pera – perra


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  • 8. Listen and select the correct word:
  • bara

    barra


    gorro

    goro


    me pirro

    me piro


    clarro

    claro


    guitarra

    guitara


    rroble

    roble


    me paro

    me parro


    taro

    tarro


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    B and V

    There is no sound [v] in Spanish. Both letters B (be) and V (uve) represent the same bilabial sound [b]. This fact tends to arouse confusion and even mistrust, however, believe us, it’s true. Moreover, the Spanish themselves cannot distinguish by ear the bilabial [b] and dentilabial [v]. If they don’t know the spelling, the ask:

    ¿Se escribe con be o con uve? – Is it spelt with “b” or “v”?

    The letter n before b, v sounds like [m]:

    Un beso [umbeso]

    Convertir [combertir]

  • 9. Read making no difference between the letters b and v:
  • Banco. Bar. Fútbol. Álbum. Vino. Vals.

    Buda, Bárbara, Víctor, Verónica, Victoria.

    Vaso – Beso. Vaca – Baca.

    Un vaso – un beso. Invertir – imbécil.


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    [g] sound

    The sound [g] is represented by the letter G (ge) [xe] before the vowels a, o, u and by the combination GU before e, i:

    gas – [gas]
    gol – [gol]
    guitarra – [gi`tarra]
    guerra – [`gerra]

    Unlike the English [g], the Spanish sound is pronounced slightly deeper.

  • 10. Listen and repeat the following words:
  • Gabriel, Gregorio, Gustavo.

    Gol, gas, egoísta, guitarra, gueto, gastritis.


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  • 11. Fill in with g or gu representing the sound [g]:
  • erra

    orro

    leal

    apaé

    irnalda

    paar

    itarra

    braeta

    usano

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    [β], [γ], [δ] sounds

    The occlusive consonants [b], [g], [d] have weak variants [β], [γ], [δ] articulated in a more relaxed way: the airflow of the vocal tract is hardly occluded (blocked) and quickly unblocked. Such articulation is in the intervocal position (between vowels) and at the end of the word.

    The consonant [γ] is similar to when we put some very hot food in the mouth and try to cool it.

    gata [gata] – una gata [unaγata]

    vaca [baca] – una vaca [unaβaca]

    doctora [doctora] – la doctora [laδoctora]

    The consonant [d] at the end of the word and in –ado, –ido is so weak that is hardly articulated (some Spanish-speakers substitute it for the sound [θ], like in English theater):

    Madrid [Madriθ] / [Madriδ]

    hablado [hablaδo] / [hablao]

  • 12. Read making difference between [β] and [b]:
  • Beca – la beca. Vaca – la vaca. Victoria – la victoria.

    Boca – una boca. Vela – una vela.

    ¡Bravo! Móvil. Bebé. Viví.


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  • 13. Read making difference between [g] and [γ]:
  • Gata – la gata. Gota – la gota. Goma – la goma.

    Pego, pago, digo. Miguel. Gúgol. Colgué, pagué.


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  • 14. Read making difference between [d] and [δ]:
  • Dedo, dado, duda.

    Hablado, comido, pensado, vivido.

    Verdad, bondad, universidad.

    Hablad, comed, vivid.


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    [Ɵ] sound

    The following sound can help you to find out whether your interlocutor is Spanish or Latin American.

    The sound [Ɵ] in Spain is articulated by placing the tip of the tongue between the top and the bottom front teeth, like the English th in the word theatre. This sound before a, o, u is represented by the letter Z (ceta), and before e, i by the letter C (ce):

    cero – [Ɵero]
    zoo – [Ɵoo]

    In Latin America, this sound is pronounced like the English “s”:

    ESPAÑA: caza [caƟa] ≠ casa [casa]
    AMÉRICA LATINA: casa = caza [casa]

     Why don’t we learn the Latin American variant, it’s much more simple, you might ask? First, learning the Spanish variant, you’ll learn to distinguish the words containing the two different phonemes – and at the same time you’ll learn the spelling. Second, the Spanish variant is an international standard, while each Latin American country has its own variant. However, if you’re going to live in a certain country, you should definitely learn the peculiarities of its pronunciation.

    There is no combination ze, zi in Spanish, except for

    Nueva Zelanda
    zinc
    zen
  • 15. Listen and repeat:
  • Cine. Centro. Circo. Cero. Ciclo. Cebra.

    Horizonte. Acento. Zona. Zoo. Zombi. Zapping.


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  • 16. Fill in with Z or C representing the sound [Ɵ]:
  • ero

    urdo

    irco

    enia

    oo

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    Words that end with -ción, -cia

    English words ending with –tion in Spanish usually end with –ción:

    (español) nación = (English) nation

    English words that end with –cy/–ce in Spanish usually end with –cia:

    competencia = competence
  • 17. Listen and repeat:
  • Policía. Tendencia. Competencia. Conferencia.

    Revolución. Estación. Lección. Nación.


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  • 18. Listen and fill in with Z, C or S:
  • constituión

    mea

    mao

    orro

    maeta

    coa

    caa

    éar

    eo

    uio

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    [x] and [ks] sounds

    The sound [h] is slightly similar to the English «h» though is pronounced deeper, "with rattle”, as if you were gargling your throat with no liquid or wanted to clear your throat. It sounds harsh to an English-speaking person – do not be shy to pronounce it. It is the sound most male names in Spain start with!

    Javier, José, Juan, Jaime, Joaquín, Germán, Gerardo

    This sound is represented by two options: before e, i it is represented by the letter G (ge [hе]), and before the other vowels, by J (jota [hota]). This letter sometimes appear before e, i, for instance, in the suffix –aje:

    garaje – garage

    The sound combination [ks] is represented by the letter X (equis):

    examen – exam

    However, in the words México, mexicano you must read it as [x]:

    México [`Mexiko]

    The letter combinations сс, xc are pronounced as two different sounds:

    acceso [ak`Ɵeso]
    excusa [eks`kusa]
    exceder [eksƟe`der]
  • 19. Listen and repeat:
  • Javier, Jesús, José, Juan, Jaime, Joaquín, Jorge, Germán.

    Gimnasia. Gesto. Geógrafo. Genocidio.

    Religión. Lógico. Garaje. Equipaje.


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  • 20. Listen and repeat:
  • Examen. Léxico. Tóxico. Máximo. Éxito.

    Acceso. Excusa. Exceder. Ascensor. Piscina.


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    J in English loans

    In English loans the letter J (jota) must be read as [y]:

    jazz [`yaƟ]
    John [`yon]
  • 21. Listen and repeat:
  • Jazz. Jack. Tom y Jerry. Jim Morrison. New Jersey.


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    Consonant + vowel pronunciation:

    G A,O,U [g]
    G E,I [x]
    J   [x]
    QU E,I [k]
    C A,O,U [k]
    C E,I [Ɵ]
    Z A,O,U [Ɵ]

    There is no qua, quo, ze, zi.

  • 22. Paint according to the reading:
  • z [Ɵ]
    qu [k]
    c [Ɵ]
    g [x]
    g [g]
    c [k]
    gu [gw]
    gu [g]
    + a, o, u+ e, i

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    [ɲ] sound and Ñ letter

    The letter Ñ (eñe) represents the sound [ɲ]. It has no equivalents in English and is similar to Italian [gn] in signore. Touch the roof of the mouth with the back of the tongue and unblock the occlusion with force.
    By no means should you read this sound as [ny], don’t read mañana, señor as [manyana] and [senyor].

  • 23. Listen and repeat:
  • Niño, niña. Señor, señora. Ñoño, ñoña.

    Mañana. Castaño. Moño. Baño.


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    Spanish alphabet

    a a j jota r ere
    b be k ka s ese
    c ce l ele t te
    d de m eme u u
    e e n ene v uve
    f efe ñ eñe w uve doble
    g ge o o x equis
    h hache p pe y i griega
    i i q cu z ceta

    The letter combination Ll is called "doble ele", while Ch is called "ce hache".

    There are no Spanish words using W, it is used in loans.

    Deletrear means to name all the letters of a word, like

    María – eme a ere i a
  • 24. Which letter does she name?
  • x
    s
    l
    g
    b
    y
    c
    z
    ñ
    r
    n
    v
    i
    j
    k

    1.  

    2.  

    3.  

    4.  

    5.  

    6.  

    7.  

    8.  

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  • 25. Listen and write down spelled names:
  • 1.

    2.

    3.

    4.

    5.

    6.

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    Repaso

  • 26. Write down the word you hear and look it up in the dictionary:
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