Posted by: janecronin | October 16, 2011

Letter C – Spanish pronunciation for English speakers


Here are the rules for pronouncing the letter C in European Spanish.  When the letter C appears before an “e” or an “i”, it is pronounced like the light English “th” sound in “thin” or “both”.   So we have cena (“supper”, pronounced “thena”) or fácil (“easy”, pronounced “fatheel”).  This is the case in standard Castilian Spanish, although in some accents, and notably in South American Spanish, the “ce” and “ci” are pronounced like an “s”.  When followed by other letters, the C is pronounced the same as our “k” sound, as in cama (bed) or con (with).  There is one more rule which is that when the C appears alongside the “h” to form “ch”, it is pronounced exactly the same as the English “ch”, as in “church”, for example: coche (car), chaqueta (jacket)That might all sound a bit complicated, but like all the other letters in Spanish, once you’ve got these three sounds firmly in your mind and realised that they are governed by hard and fast rules, you will find they are actually quite easy!  Most of us know how to say “café con leche, gracias” correctly.  Well this small phrase contains the three ways of pronouncing the Spanish “C”.

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