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Video:How to Pronounce Difficult Consonants in Spanish

with Milo De Prieto

Learn how to pronounce difficult consonants in Spanish so that you speak clearly and accurately. Here are some tips for pronouncing difficult consonants in Spanish.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Pronounce Difficult Consonants in Spanish

Hola, I'm Milo for About.com and today we're talking about how to pronounce some difficult consonants in Spanish. Unlike English, Spanish pronunciation is far more consistent even though it is a global language. There are still distinct accents, but overall Spanish pronunciation is quite uniform. Some of these sounds might seem difficult to make at first, but you will be surprised at how fast you can get them down with practice.

Pronouncing Difficult "C" Consonants in Spanish

Sometimes in Spanish words will have two cs together. Pretty much the first c will be hard, and the second soft. Outside of Spain it will sound more like an x in English. In Spain the second will sound like a "th":

  • diccionario - dictionary
  • dirección - addresslección - lesson

On that note, only in Spain are the soft c and z pronounced like "th."

Pronouncing the Difficult "G" Consonant in Spanish

G in Spanish has two pronunciations. Usually it is like the g in fragile:

  • gamba - shrimp
  • seguir - to follow
  • seguro - insurance

But G can also be more forceful, like the Spanish J, when followed by e or i:

  • gemelo - twin
  • gente - people
  • gimnasio - gym

Pronouncing the Difficult "H" Consonant in Spanish

H in Spanish is always silent:

  • hambre - hunger
  • helado - ice cream
  • hoy - today

Pronouncing the Difficult "J" Consonant in Spanish

J in Spanish is similar to h in English if the h were stressed such as in hot, but with more air:

  • juego - game
  • Juan - John
  • hijo - son

Pronouncing the Difficult "LL" Consonants in Spanish

The double l in Spanish sounds like a y. Here are some common ones:

  • llamar - to call
  • lleno - full
  • llorar - to cry

Pronouncing the Difficult "Ñ" Consonant in Spanish

One sound unique to Spanish is the ñ, which sounds something like "ny" blurred together:

  • soñar - to dream
  • niño - child
  • doña - madame

Pronouncing the Difficult Rolled "R" Consonant in Spanish

One of the hardest sounds to make if you are not used to it is the rolled R. You do not roll the r as much as you might think. Some accents roll the r more than others, including when it is at the end of words. Normally you only roll it when it begins a word and when there are 2 rs together. Rolling the r can change the meaning of a word, such as:

  • pero - but
  • perro - dog

Here are a few rr words:

  • barril - barrel
  • carretera - freeway
  • torre - tower

Continue practicing and soon you'll be speaking with confidence in no time. For more information on Spanish, check us out at About.com.

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