Spanish Pronto!: New Spanish Alphabet


The Spanish alphabet—by agreement of the 22 member countries of the Association of Spanish Language Academies on November 28, 2010, at the Guadalajara International Book Fair—has been changed as follows:

"Ch" and "ll," which had earlier ceased to be considered letters for purposes of alphabetization but had remained letters of the alphabet, are now "formally" eliminated from the Spanish alphabet, leaving it with just the following 27 letters (the 26 letters of the English alphabet, plus the letter ñ [spelled "eñe" and pronounced "enye"]):

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, ñ, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.


LETTERS

The names for the Spanish letters, in order, are the following:

a (a), be (b), ce (c), de (d), e (e), efe (f), ge (g), hache (h), i (i), jota (j), ka (k), ele (l), eme (m), ene (n), eñe (ñ), o (o), pe (p), cu (q), erre (r), ese (s), te (t), u (u), uve (v), doble uve (w), equis (x), ye (y), ceta (z)

"W" is, as of November 28, 2010, officially called "doble uve" (although in the past it has also been called "uve doble," "doble ve," and "doble u"), and "y" is now officially called "ye" (because it is used more often as a consonant than as a vowel, although it has traditionally been called "i griega"). These official uses are considered recommendations, not requirements (i.e., the other names are not considered "wrong"), but the expectation of the RAE is that teachers will teach the official version which, in the RAE's view, should make things simpler for students of Spanish.

These letter names are, of course, prounounced with Spanish pronunciation; not "ay," "bee," "cee," (as in English), but:

ah (a), bay (b), say [thay, in Spain] (c), day (d), ey (e), EY-fay (f), hay (g), AH-chay (h), ee (i), HOH-tah (j), kah (k), EY-lay (l), EY-may (m), EY-nay (n), EY-nyay (ñ), oh (o), pay (p), coo (q), EY-rray (r), EY-say (s), tay (t), oo (u), OO-vay (v), DOH-blay OO-vay (w), AY-kees (x), yay (y), and SAY-tah [THAY-tah, in Spain] (z).

For information on how to pronounce these letters when they appear in words (as opposed to pronouncing their names), see the pronunciation guide at Spanish Pronto!: Basic Study Reference


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Revised -- 2011-04-02