Help:IPA for Spanish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Spanish language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles.

In general, Castilian Spanish is used in IPA transcriptions. Deviations from this may occur in words with /θ/, /ʎ/ and /x/:

  • For terms that are more relevant to regions that have undergone yeísmo (so that, for example, hoya and holla are pronounced the same), words spelled with ll can be transcribed with [ʝ]
  • For terms that are more relevant to regions with seseo, (so that, for example, caza and casa are pronounced the same), words spelled with z and with soft c (i.e. where c occurs before i or e) can be transcribed with [s]
  • In South Spain, Canarias and Caribbean countries, the phoneme /x/ (j, soft g) is often realized as [h]

See Spanish phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Spanish.

IPA Examples English approximation
b[1] bestia; embuste; vaca; envidia best
β bebé; obtuso; vivir; curva between baby and bevy
d[1] dedo; cuando; aldaba dead
ð diva; arder; admirar this
f fase; café face
ɡ[1] gato; lengua; guerra got
ɣ trigo; amargo; sigue; signo roughly like go, but without completely blocking air flow on the g
ʝ[1][2] ayuno; poyo; maracuyá roughly like you
k caña; laca; quise; kilo scan
l lino; alhaja; principal lean
ʎ[2] llave; pollo Italian famiglia
m[3] madre; comer; campo; convertir mother
n[3] nido; anillo; anhelo; sin; álbum need
ɲ[3] ñandú; cañón; enyesar roughly like canyon
ŋ[3] cinco; venga; conquista sing
p pozo; topo spouse
r[4] rumbo; carro; honra; subrayo trilled r
ɾ[4] caro; bravo; amor eterno ladder (American English)
s[5] saco; espita; xenón sack
θ[6] cereal; encima; zorro; enzima; paz thing
t tamiz; átomo stand
chubasco; acechar choose
x[7] jamón; eje; reloj; general; México[8] German Buch or Scottish loch[9]
z[10] isla; mismo; deshuesar prison
Marginal phonemes
IPA Examples English approximation
ʃ[11] abacaxi; Shakira; show shack
tlapalería; cenzontle; Popocatépetl no English equivalent (from Nāhuatl)
ts Ertzaintza; abertzale; Pátzcuaro[12] cats
IPA Examples English approximation
a azahar father
e vehemente set
i dimitir; mío; y[13] see
o boscoso roughly like boring
u cucurucho; dúo pool
IPA Examples English approximation
j aliada; cielo; amplio; ciudad yet
w[15] cuadro; fuego; Huila arduo wine
Stress and syllabification
IPA Examples English approximation
ˈ ciudad [θjuˈðað] domain
. o [ˈmi.o] Mayan


  1. ^ a b c d /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ and /ʝ/ are fricatives or approximants ([β̞, ð̞, ɣ̞, ʝ̞]; represented here without the undertacks) in all places except after a pausa, after an /n/ or /m/, or—in the case of /d/ and /ʝ/—after an /l/, in which contexts they are stops [b, d, ɡ, ɟʝ], not dissimilar from English b, d, g, j, except that they are fully voiced in all positions, unlike their English counterparts (Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté 2003:257-8).
  2. ^ a b Most if not all Spanish speakers no longer distinguish /ʎ/ from /ʝ/; the actual realization depends on dialect, however. In Rioplatense Spanish (roughly southern South America), the ll is typically pronounced [ʃ] or [ʒ]. See yeísmo and Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258) for more information.
  3. ^ a b c d The nasal consonants /n, m, ɲ/ only contrast before vowels. Before consonants, they assimilate to the consonant's place of articulation. This is partially reflected in the orthography. Except in loanwords and proper nouns, only /n/ (that may also be produced as [ŋ] or nasalization of the preceding vowel, depending on dialect) occurs at the end of a word.
  4. ^ a b The rhotic consonants /ɾ/ ‹r› and /r/ ‹rr› only contrast between vowels. Otherwise, they are in complementary distribution as ‹r›, with [r] occurring word-initially, after /l/, /n/, and /s/, and also represented here as before consonants, and word-finally (positions in which they vary); only [ɾ] is found elsewhere.
  5. ^ Northern and central Spain still distinguish between "s" (/s/) and "soft c"/"z" (/θ/). Almost all other dialects treat the two as identical (which is called seseo) and pronounce them as /s/. There is a small number of speakers, mostly in southern Spain, who pronounce the soft "c", "z" and even "s" as /θ/, a phenomenon called ceceo. See seseo and Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258) for more information.
  6. ^ /θ/ has merged into /s/ in virtually all dialects outside of northern and central Spain. The only other exception is found in some southern communities where ceceo occurs and /s/ has actually merged into /θ/. See seseo and Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258) for more information.
  7. ^ /x/ is generally pronounced [h], as in the English word ham, in South Spain, Canarias and Caribbean countries.
  8. ^ The letter "x" only represents this sound in certain proper names like Ximena and some place names in current (Oaxaca) or former Mexico (Texas).
  9. ^ There is no native English-language equivalent for this sound in the majority of modern dialects. See voiceless velar fricative for more information.
  10. ^ Allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants.
  11. ^ Only used in loanwords and certain proper nouns. In many dialects, /ʃ/ is replaced by [] or [s]; e.g. show [tʃou]~[sou].
  12. ^ Only used in loanwords and proper nouns from pre-Columbian indigenous languages
  13. ^ The only time that the letter y ever indicates this sound alone is when it is used by itself as a word, meaning "and".
  14. ^ In Spanish, the semivowels [w] and [j] can be combined with vowels to form rising diphthongs (e.g. cielo, cuadro). Falling diphthongs (e.g. aire, rey, auto) are transcribed with /i/ and /u/.
  15. ^ Some speakers may pronounce word initial [w] with an epenthetic /ɡ/; e.g. Huila [ˈɡwila]~[ˈwila].


  • Martínez-Celdrán, Eugenio; Fernández-Planas, Ana Ma.; Carrera-Sabaté, Josefina (2003), "Castilian Spanish", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 33 (2): 255–259 

External links[edit]