Help:IPA for Spanish

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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Spanish language pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see {{IPA-es}} and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation#Entering IPA characters.

In general, Castilian Spanish is used in IPA transcriptions except for some words with /θ/ and /ʎ/:

  • For terms that are more relevant to regions that have undergone yeísmo (so for example, haya and halla are pronounced the same), words spelled with ⟨ll⟩ can be transcribed with [ʝ]
  • For terms that are more relevant to regions with seseo, (so for example, caza and casa are pronounced the same), words spelled with ⟨z⟩ and with ⟨c⟩ (only when it occurs before ⟨i⟩ or ⟨e⟩) can be transcribed with [s]

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

IPA Examples English approximation
b[1] bestia; embuste; vaca; envidia; fútbol 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 like go, but without completely blocking air flow on the g
ʝ[1][2] ayuno; poyo you
ɟʝ[1][2] cónyuge; abyecto job
k caña; laca; quise; kilo scan
l lino; alhaja; principal lean
ʎ[1][2] llave; pollo million
m[3] madre; comer; campo; anfibio mother
n[3] nido; anillo; anhelo; sin; álbum need
ɲ[3] ñandú; cañón; enyesar canyon
ŋ[3] cinco; venga; conquista sing
p pozo; topo spouse
r[4] rumbo; carro; honra; amor; amor eterno trilled r
ɾ[4] caro; bravo; amor eterno batter (American English)
s[5] saco; espita; xenón sack
θ[5] cereal; encima; zorro; enzima; paz thing
t tamiz; átomo stand
chubasco; acechar choose
v[6] afgano van
x jamón; general; México;[7] hamster[8] Scottish loch
z[6] isla; mismo; deshuesar quiz
Marginal phonemes
IPA Examples English approximation
ʃ[9] show; Rocher; Freixenet shack
ts abertzale; Pátzcuaro cats
IPA Examples English approximation
a azahar father
e vehemente set
i dimitir; mío; y see
o boscoso sole
u cucurucho; dúo food
IPA Examples English approximation
j aliada; cielo; amplio; ciudad yet
w[11] cuadro; fuego; Huila; arduo; pingüino wine
Stress and syllabification
IPA Examples English approximation
ˈ ciudad [θjuˈðað] domain
. o [ˈmi.o] Mayan


  1. ^ a b c d e f /b, d, ɡ, ʝ/ are pronounced as the fricatives or approximants [β̞, ð̞, ɣ˕, ʝ˕] (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], like English b, d, g, j, except that they are fully voiced in all positions unlike their English counterparts. When distinct from /ʝ/, /ʎ/ is realized as an approximant [ʎ] in all positions (Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté 2003:257-8).
  2. ^ a b c Most Spanish speakers no longer distinguish /ʎ/ from /ʝ/; the actual realization depends on dialect, however. 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, which is partially reflected in the orthography. The three do not contrast at the end of a word; depending on dialect, the neutralized nasal may appear as [n], [ŋ], or nasalization of the preceding vowel.
  4. ^ a b The rhotic consonants /ɾ/ and /r/ contrast only between vowels. Otherwise, they are in complementary distribution, 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. ^ a b Northern and Central Spain still distinguish between ⟨s⟩ (/s/) and soft ⟨c⟩ or ⟨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 phonological history of Spanish coronal fricatives and Martínez-Celdrán, Fernández-Planas & Carrera-Sabaté (2003:258) for more information.
  6. ^ a b [v] and [z] are allophones of, respectively, /f/ and /s/ before voiced consonants.
  7. ^ The letter ⟨x⟩ represents /x/ only in certain proper names like Ximena and some placenames in current or former Mexico (Oaxaca, Texas).
  8. ^ The letter ⟨h⟩ represents /x/ only in loanwords; in native words, it is always silent.
  9. ^ /ʃ/ is used only in loanwords and certain proper nouns. It is nonexistent in many dialects, being realized as [] or [s]; e.g. show [tʃou]~[sou].
  10. ^ 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/.
  11. ^ 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 

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