Spanish Pronunciations for Hindi speakers
Every resource that I came across tries to teach Spanish to English speakers. Those who already know Hindi/Devanagari have certain advantages. Both in terms of producing the correct Spanish pronunciation as well as being able to read/speak the Spanish language. Like Hindi, Spanish is much more phonetic and rule-based than English.
Many alphabets in Spanish are pronounced similar to English, so, let me just present you the subtle differences
- Spanish A, is pronounced like Hindi अ unlike English A (ए)
- Spanish B, like Hindi ब, is soft. English B is plosive, that is, pronounced with a gush of air.
- Spanish C, like English C, varies between क and स. Specifically, ca -> का, co -> को, cu -> कु, ch -> च, in all other cases, it is pronounced स.
- Spanish D is pronounced द. English D is a non-retroflex ड.
- Spanish E is pronounced ए.
- Spanish F, similar to English is labio-dental, so, same as Hindi’s फ़.
- Spanish G has two different pronunciations.
- When it is ज in English, it becomes ह in Spanish. For example, English general is pronounced general (हेनेराल)
- When it is ग in English, it remains ग. For example, the English word global is pronounced global(ग्लोबाल) in Spanish.
- Spanish H is always silent, except for “ch” where it forms च sound.
- Spanish J is pronounced ह in Latin America. And in Spain as ख़ – the guttural sound common in words of Persian origin.
- Spanish LL (two l’s) was once considered a single letter. Its pronunciation varies from ज to य to ल्य across different parts of the world. All words in a region will use the same pronunciation though. ज to य variance is common in Hindi as well, for example, जोगी – योगी, जमुना – यमुना.
- Spanish Ñ is pronounced ञ.
- Spanish P like Hindi प is never aspirated. Contrast this with English P, which at the beginning of a word, is pronounced प्ह.
- Spanish Q is always followed by u and together forms qu -> क.
- Spanish R is pronounced like Hindi र in front of the mouth. Contrast this with the English R involves a curl and is pronounced in the middle of the mouth.
- Spanish RR, called trilled r, is hard for English speakers. It is easy for Hindi speakers. It is just र्र sound.
- Spanish T is pronounced त. English T sounds don’t exist in Spanish.
- Spanish V depending on the word pronounced व or ब. To a great extent, the two sounds are interchangeable for a Spanish speaker. Like Hindi, Spanish does not have a labio-dental व़
- Spanish does not have W except in imported words. And in those, it is the same as English W (व).
- Spanish Z is pronounced स in Latin America and थ in Spain. Spanish does not have ज़ sound.
- Spanish is way more phonetic than English.
- Spanish is only slightly less phonetic than Hindi.
- Spanish hates consonant clusters as well as repeated letters. “School” becomes Escuela. “Spanish” becomes “Español”.
- There are almost no silent letters in Spanish. Except for h. So, metal is pronounced मेताल.
- There are no unwritten sounds in Spanish words. So, University -> Universidad is pronounced ऊनीवर्सीदाद. The English word has a य sound leading to यूनिवर्सिटी.
- English has a mix of Germanic and Latin words.
- The Latin word is usually considered more formal in English. For example, find and encounter.
- The Latin word usually hints at what the Spanish word might be. The Spanish word for find is encuentre (ऐनकुएंत्रे).
- Spanish unlike Hindi is a stressed language. By default, the second-last syllable is stressed. Any other stress is marked with a tick (´) over the syllable. Its usage change the sentence meanings. For example,
I speak -> hablo(आब्लो)while
He spoke -> Habló(आब्लोऽ)
In a follow-on post, I will give an example of introductory Spanish sentences to get by in Latin America.