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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Spanish language pronunciations in resource articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to resource articles, see {{IPA-es}} and Resource: Manual of Style/Pronunciation#Entering IPA characters.

In general, Castilian Spanish is used in IPA transcriptions except for some words with /?/ and /?/:

  • For terms that are more relevant to regions that have undergone yeísmo (for example, haya and halla are pronounced the same), words spelled with ?ll? can be transcribed with [?].
  • For terms that are more relevant to regions with seseo, (for example, caza and casa are pronounced the same), words spelled with ?z? or ?c? (the latter only before ?i? or ?e?) can be transcribed with [s].

In all other cases, if a local pronunciation is made, it should be labeled as "local" (for example, {{IPA-es|...|local}}.

See Spanish phonology for a more thorough discussion of the sounds of Spanish, and Spanish dialects and varieties for regional variation.

IPA Examples English approximation
b[1] bestia, embuste, vaca, envidia, fútbol best
? bebé, obtuso, vivir, curva between baby and bevy
d[1] dedo, cuando, aldaba dead, but putting the tip of the tongue against the upper teeth
ð diva, arder, admirar this
f fase, café face
?[1] gato, lengua, guerra got
? trigo, amargo, sigue, signo go, but without completely blocking airflow on the g
?[1][2] ayuno, poyo you
[1][2] cónyuge, abyecto job
k caña, laca, quise, kilo scan
l lino, alhaja, principal lean
?[1][2] llave, pollo million
m[3] madre, comer, campo, anfibio mother
n[3] nido, anillo, anhelo, sin, álbum need
?[3] ñandú, cañón, enyesar canyon
?[3] cinco, venga, conquista sing
p pozo, topo spouse
r[4] rumbo, carro, honra, subrayar trilled r
?[4] caro, bravo, partir batter (American English)
s[5][6] saco, espita, xenón sack
?[5] cereal, encima, zorro, enzima, paz thing
t tamiz, átomo stand, but putting the tip of the tongue against the upper teeth
t? chubasco, acechar choose
v[7] afgano van
x jamón, general, México,[8]hamster[9] Scottish loch
z[7] isla, mismo, deshuesar quiz
Marginal phonemes
IPA Examples English approximation
?[10] show, Rocher, Freixenet shack
ts abertzale, Pátzcuaro cats
IPA Examples English approximation
a azahar father
e vehemente set
i dimitir, mío, y see
o boscoso more
u cucurucho, dúo food
IPA Examples English approximation
j aliada, cielo, amplio, ciudad yet
w[12] cuadro, fuego, Huila, arduo, pingüino wine
Stress and syllabification
IPA Examples English approximation
' ciudad [?ju'ðað] domain
. o ['mi.o] Leo


  1. ^ a b c d e f /b, d, ?, ?/ are pronounced as fricatives or approximants [?, ð, ?, ?] in all places except after a pause, /n/, or /m/, or, in the case of /d/ and /?/, after /l/. In the latter environments, they are stops [b, d, ?, ] like English b, d, g, j but are fully voiced in all positions, unlike in English. When it is distinct from /?/, /?/ is realized as an approximant [?] in all positions (Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté 2003:257-8).
  2. ^ a b c Most speakers no longer distinguish /?/ from /?/; the actual realization depends on dialect, however. See yeísmo and Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258) for more information.
  3. ^ a b c d The nasal consonants /n, m, ?/ contrast only before vowels. Before consonants, they assimilate to the consonant's place of articulation, which is partially reflected in the orthography. The three do not contrast at the end of a word; depending on dialect, the neutralized nasal may appear as [n], [?], or nasalization of the preceding vowel.
  4. ^ a b The rhotic consonants [r] and [?] contrast only word-medially between vowels, where they are usually spelled ?rr? and ?r?, respectively. Otherwise, they are in complementary distribution: Word-initially, stem-initially, and after /l, n, s/, only [r] is found; before a consonant or pause, the two are interchangeable but [?] is more common (hence so represented here); elsewhere, only [?] is found. When two rhotics occur consecutively across a word or prefix boundary, they result in one long trill, which may be transcribed as [?r]: dar rocas [da? 'rokas], super-rápido [supe?'rapiðo] (Hualde 2005:184).
  5. ^ a b Northern and Central Spain distinguish between ?s? (/s/) and soft ?c? or ?z? (/?/). Almost all other dialects treat the two as identical (which is called seseo) and pronounce them as /s/. Contrary to yeísmo, seseo is not a phonemic merger but the outcome of a different evolution of sibilants in southern Spain in comparison with northern and central dialects. There is a small number of speakers, mostly in southern Spain, who pronounce the soft ?c?, ?z? and even ?s? as /?/, a phenomenon called ceceo. See phonological history of Spanish coronal fricatives and Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258) for more information.
  6. ^ In much of Hispanic America and in the southern half of Spain, /s/ in syllable-final positions is either pronounced as [h] or not pronounced at all. In transcriptions linked to this key, however, it is always represented by [s].
  7. ^ a b [v] and [z] are allophones of /f/ and /s/, respectively, found before voiced consonants.
  8. ^ The letter ?x? represents /x/ only in certain proper names like Ximena and some placenames in current or former Mexico (Oaxaca, Texas).
  9. ^ The letter ?h? represents /x/ only in loanwords; in native words, it is always silent.
  10. ^ /?/ is used only in loanwords and certain proper nouns. It is nonexistent in many dialects, being realized as [t?] or [s]; e.g. show [t?ou]~[sou].
  11. ^ The semivowels [w] and [j] can be combined with vowels to form rising diphthongs (e.g. cielo, cuadro). Falling diphthongs (e.g. aire, rey, auto) are transcribed with [i] and [u].
  12. ^ Some speakers may pronounce word-initial [w] with an epenthetic [?]; e.g. Huila ['?wila]~['wila].


External links

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