Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Spanish Language Survival Guide

Spanish is not a difficult language for English speakers, once the pronunciation of different sounds is mastered. This skill begins with the consonants, ALL of which are pronounced in a word as follows:

f. k, I, m, n, p, t, x, y: as in English
b: generally as in English b  e.g. bueno, (good), pronounced bwayno between vowels, a sound between b and e.g. bebida, (drink) pronounced baybveedhah
c: centre (centro), pronounced thayntro otherwise, like k in kit e.g. como (how), pronounced komo
ch: as in English e.g. mucho (much), pronounced  moocho
d:  generally as in dog, e.g. donde (where) pronounced  donday; between vowels and at the end of a word, like th in this e.g. edad (age) pronounced aydhahdh
g:  before e and i, like ch in Scottish loch e.g.  urgente (urgent) pronounced oorghayntay; between vowels and sometimes inside a word, similar to the hard English g, e.g. agua (water) pronounced ahgwah
h: always silent e.g. hombre (man) pronounced ombrray
j: like ch in Scottish loch e.g. bajo (below) pronounced bahkho
ll: like lli in million e.g. Ileno (empty) pronounced lyayno
ñ: like ni in onion e.g. señor (Mr.) pronounced sayniyor
qu: like k in kit e.g. quince (fifteen) pronounced keenthay
r: more strongly trilled e.g. rIo (river) pronounced rreeo
rr: even more strongly trilled e.g. arriba (above) pronounced ahrrreebhah
s: always like the S in sit, e.g. cuantos (how much/many) pronounced kwahntoss
v: tends to be like b in bad e.g. viejo (old) pronounced  beeaykho
z: like th in thin e.g. brazo (arm) pronounced brahtho
a: like ar in cart, but fairly short e.g. graclas (thank you) pronounced grahthyahss 
e: like a in late e.g. de (of,from) pronounced day; less often, like e in get e.g.llover (to rain) pronounced lyobhehr
i: like ee in feet e.g. si (yes) pronounced see
o: like oa in boat, e.g. sopa (soup) pronounced soapah or like o in got e.g. dos (two) pronounced doss
u: like oo in boot e.g. una, (one), pronounced oonah
y: like ee in feet e.g. y (and) pronounced ee



in words ending with a consonant (non-vowel), the last syllable is stressed, e.g. señor pronounced sayñor
in words ending with a vowel, the next to last syllable is stressed, e.g. mañana pronounced mahniyahnah


Spanish alphabet

A ah
B bay
C thay
CH chay
D day
E ay
F ayffay
G gay
H ahchay
I ee
J khoatah
K kah
L aylay
LL aylyay
M aymmay
N aynnay
Ñ aynyay
O oa
P pay
Q koo
R ayrray
S ayssay
T tay
U oo
V bhay
W bhay doablay
X aykheess
Y eegryaygah
Z thaytah



0  cero thayroa
1  uno oonoa
2  dos doss
3 tres trayss
4 cuatro kwahtroa
5  cinco theenkoa
6 seis sayss
7  siete syaytay
8  ocho oachoa
9  nueve nwaybhay
10 diez dyayth
11 once onthay
12 doce doathay
13 trece traythay
14 catorce kahtorthay
15 quince keenthay
16 dieciséis dyaytheessayss
17 diecisiete dyaytheessyaytay
18 dieciocho dyaytheeoachoa
19 diecinueve dyaytheenwaybhay
20 veinte  bayntay

Twenty expressions to use during your stay

English Spanish Pronunciation
Yes Si see
No No noa
Please Por Favor por fahbhor
Thank you Gracias grahthyahss
You're welcome De nada day nahdhah
Good morning Buenos dias bwaynoass deeahss
Good afternoon/evening Buenos tardes bwaynoass tahrdayss
Good night Buenos noches bwaynoass noachayss
Good-bye Adios ahdhyoss
Do you speak English? Habla ingles? ahblah eenglayss?
Where is..? Dondé está..? doanday aystah?
Have you...? Tiene..? tiaynay?
Please write it down Por favor, escribalo por fahbhor, ayskreebhahloa
I would like.. Quisiera keessyayrah
How much is it? Cuánto es? kwahntoa ayss?
Can you give me..? Puede darme  ? pwaydhay dahrmay?
I'm sorry, I don`t understand Lo siento, no comprendo loa syaynto noa komprayndoa
Can I have the key for room.... Puede darme la llave por habitación.... pwaydhay dahrmay lah lyahbhay por ahbheetahthyon...
Where are the toilets? Dónde están los servicios? doanday aystahn loass sayrbeethyoass?

Expressions to avoid using!

English Spanish Pronunciation
I'm lost Me he perdido maay ay payrdeedhoa
Leave me alone Déjeme en paz daykhaymay ayn pahth