Do you remember learning about vowels in English? You might remember it because English has 5 vowels, but they all make different sounds! In fact, there are 12 total vowel sounds in English. English has long and short vowels, meaning the sound changes depending on lots of factors. Here, we’ll give you the tools to master the 5 Spanish vowels so you can confidently practice what you’re learning, and decode new words with ease.
Spanish is a phonetic language
Maybe you’ve heard your teacher say that Spanish is a phonetic language. But what does that mean? When a language is phonetic, it means that letters represent a particular sound, and the sounds are pronounced consistently. Basically, it means that you can look at a word and know how it should be pronounced.
Of course, this is true as long as you know the rules! There are many rules in Spanish, but when you’re just starting out, focus on learning the simple ones first. You’ll be surprised how many rules you learn without even realizing it, too. The first phonetic rule that we’ll learn are the Spanish vowels.
Spanish vowels are easier than English vowels
English is not a phonetic language, meaning that you can’t just look at a word and know how it should be pronounced because the sounds aren’t consistent. For example, “thought” and “though” are pronounced very differently in English, even though the difference is just the letter “t” at the end!
In Spanish, every vowel is pronounced the same every time in a word. For example, the word “banana” in English has different pronunciations for the letter “a” throughout the word. The same word in Spanish uses the same pronunciation for each “a” sound.
The 5 vowels
In Spanish, the vowels are the same as English, just pronounced a little differently. We’ll give you some examples below:
- a– this is pronounced like the a in apple
- e– this is pronounced like the e in pen
- i– this is pronounced like the English ee, like keep
- o– this is pronounced like the o in orange
- u– this is pronounced like the oo in boot
Sometimes, your English brain is going to want to have you pronounce Spanish words with English vowels. Don’t fall into that trap! Remember, these Spanish vowels make the same sound every time.