Pronunciation Guide to Spanish Vowels, Diphthongs, Triphthongs and Hiatuses



Like in English, Spanish vowels are vital for forming sentences and words.

They’re likewise frequently noticable improperly by Spanish students.

While they look the like our English vowels ( a, e, i, o, u and in some cases y), they’re noticable in a different way.

In this post, you’ll find out everything about Spanish vowels and their pronunciations.

You’ll likewise be familiar with vowel mixes called diphthongs, triphthongs and hiatuses in Spanish, with a lot of examples for you to see them in action.


The Basics of Spanish Vowels

Spanish has 5 vowels: a, e, i, o and u We likewise have y ( called i griega or “Greek i” in Spanish).

Scholars do not entirely settle on whether y is a vowel or not, so depending upon the source, you can discover it under the vowel list or noted individually as a semi-consonant. For the functions of this post, we’ll treat it as a vowel.

Spanish vowel Examples
a agua
( water),amigo
( male pal),antes
( before)
e este
( this/East),enero
( January),elemento
( component)
i isla
( island),independiente
( independent),invisible
( undetectable)
o otro
( another),océano
( ocean),oscuro
( dark)
u uno
( one),universidad
( university),uvas
( grapes)
y rey
( king),hoy
( today), convoy
( convoy)

As you can see (or hear), English and spanish vowels are noticable in a different way. Even in words that are composed precisely the very same, they sound various in each language.

And unlike in English, Spanish vowels are constantly pronounced the specific very same method. This video from Butterfly Spanish can assist you ideal your pronunciation of Spanish vowels:

Tips for Pronouncing Spanish Vowels

Native English speakers finding out Spanish tend to provide their “English touch” to Spanish vowels. Lot of times they even alter the noise entirely, developing a non-existent word or producing another Spanish word completely.

Here are a few of the most essential things to keep in mind in order to enhance your pronunciation of Spanish vowels.

1. All Spanish vowels are constantly pronounced the very same method.

It does not matter if the syllable is stressed out or not or if the vowel has an accent mark. The noise stays the very same.

Their length is likewise constantly the very same, whether they appear at the start or end of a word, in between consonants, before a double consonant or anywhere else in the word.

Listen to the following words and pay unique attention to the vowels. Attempt to duplicate each word after the native speaker:

Spanish vowel Examples
a casa
( home),academia
( academy),abanico
( fan)
e detergente
( cleaning agent),especie
( types),espejo
( mirror)
i misionero
( missionary),indigente
( indigent),difícil
( challenging)
o horóscopo
( horoscope),odontólogo
( odontologist),tocino
( bacon)
u cuscús
( couscous),zulú
( Zulu),burbuja
( bubble)

2. You need to pronounce all the vowels in a word.

And all the letters other than h, for that matter. There are no quiet vowels in Spanish, other than when it comes to the exception listed below. If there’s a vowel in a word, pronounce it:

( bat),destornillador
( screwdriver),ayuntamiento
( city board)

There is one exception: If a word includes the letters que, qui, gue or gui, the u is quiet:

( cheese),pesquisa
( query),guerra
( war),guisante
( pea)

3. Do not “diphthongize” Spanish vowels.

As specified in point one, each vowel has its own special noise, and it never ever alters. Do not include a various vowel noise to the end of a vowel. :

Say universidad .
rather of/ noh-uh/

rather of/ ew-nee-ver-see-dad/

rather of/ kow-mer/
4. Constantly checked out

i as “ee.” Pronounce it like you would state the

biografía eemicrófono in “see.” This holds true no matter how you would check out the word in English:wifi
( bio),

( microphone),
( wifi)
5. The vowel

u constantly seems like “oo.” This resembles the u in “brute.” By extension, the diphthong

universo eu unísono is constantly pronounced as “eh-oo.”Europa
( universe),

( unison),

( Europe) Pronouncing Spanish Vowel Combinations Vowels do not constantly appear on their own in between consonants. You’ll frequently discover Spanish words that have 2 or 3 vowels together in a row. When 2 or more vowels appear together, we get a

diphthong, a hiatus or a triphthong.

Spanish Vowel Diphthongs Simply put, a diphthong types when 2 vowels are integrated into a single syllable. The noise starts on the very first vowel, and after that gradually approaches the noise of the 2nd vowel. Some examples in English can be discovered in the words “l ou d,” “f oi l,” “b oy” and “s

ay Spanish diphthongs can just be formed if we have a minimum of one unaccented weak vowel ( i or u)

together with another vowel The pronunciation of the vowels in a diphthong isn’t various from the pronunciation of each vowel individually.

Diphthongs been available in lots of types. Below you’ll discover an alphabetical list of Spanish diphthongs so you can see them in action. If you can, practice stating them out loud and attempt to come up with more examples. Diphthong
Explanation Examples ai/ay Remember that we are dealing with bailar yaire as a vowel in this post, and more specifically as a weak vowel.vainilla
( to dance),

( air),espray
( vanilla)¡ay!
( there is/are),

( spray),
( alas!) aumento aucautela This diphthong seems like “ah-oo.”auténtico
( boost),

( care),
( genuine) ei/ey Same as with ai/ay, we deal with the peinar yreina as a weak vowel.aceite
( to comb),

( queen),ley
( oil)virrey
( king),

( law),
( viceroy) deuda eureunión This one seems like “eh-oo.”neutral
( financial obligation),

( conference),
( neutral) ia Never puzzle the diphthong ia with the mix piano ía,novia which will be handled in the hiatuses area.comedia
( piano),

( sweetheart),
( funny) ie/i é It does not matter if the strong vowel fiera ( a, e or o)tierra in the diphthong has an accent mark. As long as the weak vowel is unaccented, the diphthong continues to exist.mrcoles
( wild monster),

( land/soil),
( Wednesday) io/i ó Again, this diphthong exists with or without an accent on the avn odiosa , which is the strong vowel.tedioso
( aircraft),

( goddess),
( laborious) iu This and


viuda are diphthongs formed by the 2 weak vowels.ciudad Since Spanish just has one stressed out vowel in each word, this mix will constantly be a diphthong no matter what, since each time the 2nd weak vowel will be unstressed.diurno
( widow),[adjective]
( city),

( daytime
) boina oi/oyheroico These both seem like “oh-e,” comparable to the noise of “oy” in the English word “kid.”estoico
( beret),

( brave),soy
( stoic)voy
( today),

( I am),
( I go/I’m going) ou There are just a couple of words in Spanish including the diphthong Lourdes ou,[female name] and practically all of them were obtained from other languages.gourmet
(soufflé ),

( premium),
( soufflé) agua uacuatro This one seems like “oo-ah.”actuar
( water),

( 4),
( to act) fuego ueacuerdo This one makes a “oo-eh” noise.bueno
( fire),

( contract),
( great) ui/uy This is the other mix of 2 weak vowels, and similar to circuito iu,juicio it will constantly form a diphthong no matter what.intuir
( circuit),

( trial),¡uy!
( to sense)cuy
( really),

( oh!/ ow!),
( guinea pig) antiguo uomonstruo This one seems like “oo-oh.”residuo
( ancient),

( beast),

( residue) Spanish Vowel Triphthongs

Now that we understand all the possible diphthong mixes in Spanish, let’s take a look at triphthongs. Triphthongs are formed when we have 3 successive vowels in the very same syllable, if and just if: 1. The 2 external vowels are weak (i.e. i

or u) 2. The main vowel is strong (i.e. a, e


o) 3. None of the weak vowels are accented If these 3 guidelines are observed, we have a triphthong. Triphthongs are

method less typical than diphthongs in Spanish, and although there’s a range of them, the very same little group tends to appear more frequently than the rest. When pronouncing a triphthong, pronounce the 3 vowels in order of look,

worrying the middle one. Here are a couple of examples: Triphthong
Explanation Examples liais iai/i áiriais As with the majority of the Spanish triphthongs, this one generally appears in conjugated verbs. In this case, it’s usually seen in the 2nd individual plural of today a sign and today subjunctive.

( you all roll),aspreciáis
( that you all laugh, subjunctive)

( you all modification),
( you all value) lieis iei/i éi[subjunctive] These mixes exist primarily in the 2nd individual plural of today a sign and today subjunctive.guieis
( that you all roll

cambiéis ),apreciéis
( that you all guide, subj.)

( that you all modification, subj.),
( that you all value, subj.) Uruguay uay/u áiParaguay Here we have a mix of nouns, adjectives and the 2nd individual plural of today tense.¡guay!
( Uruguay),

( Paraguay),apaciguáis
( cool!)

( you all discover),
( you all calm) averigüéis uéi/ üéiapacigüéis These are primarily present in the 2nd individual plural of today subjunctive of the verbs consisted of in the group above.habituéis
( that you all discover, subj.),

( that you all calm, subj.),
( that you all get utilized to, subj.) Other buey There are other triphthongs in the Spanish language, however they aren’t so typical regarding develop a group with them. Here are a couple of with some examples.
uey: guau
( ox)
uau: biaural
( wow/woof)


( binaural) Spanish Vowel Hiatuses A hiatus is generally the reverse of a diphthong and exists when

2 vowels are together however they come from 2 different syllables. Consecutive vowels can be in 2 syllables since the vowels are both strong or weak, or since the weak vowel is the stressed out one in the word. Once once again, the pronunciation of these vowels is invariable, no matter which letter brings the tension. To pronounce hiatuses properly, you había just read them as they’re composed In the word .
we pronounce the stressed out
i and after that the a,

so it seems like ” ah-


– a” (tension on bee).

Hiatuses can be divided into a number of types, however in order to streamline things, we’ll utilize a broad department including just 2 groups: 1. Easy hiatuses
These include 2 strong vowels or more weak vowels: Aarón Hiatusazahar Examples aa
( Aaron),

( orange bloom) * Remember that the
caer hcae is quiet, so we pretend it’s not there.reo ae/a é

( to fall),
( he/she/it will fall),cacao
( aerial) ctico ao/a ó

( mahogany),
( cocoa),azotea
( disorderly)berrear ea

( awful, womanly),
( roof),dehesa
( to howl/to scream)poseer ee

( to think),
( meadow/pasture),ateo
( to have)trico
eo/e ó

( awful, manly),
( atheist),antiinflamatorio
( theoretical)
ii/i í koala
( really cold),loar
( anti-inflammatory)anchoa oa

( koala),
( to applaud),héroe
( anchovy)coetáneo oe/o é

( aloe),
( hero),zoológico
( modern)l oo/o ó

( cooperation),
( zoo),

( he/she/it applauded)

( duumvirate)
2. When one of the weak vowels of what was expected to be a diphthong is accentuated, accentual hiatuses ahínco These take The stressed out vowel will constantly have an accent mark in order to signify that the diphthong has actually been broken: judsmo Hiatus Examples bl atd
( vitality),n
( nation),
( Judaism)
cafna incrble
( trunk/chest), protna
( casket),
( still/yet)
rne transnte
( caffeine),fra
( extraordinary),
( protein)

( he/she/it gathers),

( passer-by),
( ugliness)

comía The imperfect tense of all
había – er
conocíamos and

– ir verbs:

te ríes
( I/he/she/ it utilized to eat/was consuming)
se ríe
( there was/used to be)
( we know/used to understand)

íe río Many verbs in the 3rd and 2nd individual of today tense and the 2nd and 3rd individual of today subjunctive:mío
( you laugh)crío
( he/she/it laughs)
( that you raise, subjunctive)
arcris íodo
( river),egsta
( mine),
( kid)

( rainbow),

( ear),

( self-centered)
actúa úa
continúan All verbs ending in

– uar in the 3rd and 2nd individual particular and the 3rd individual plural of today tense:
( you raise)

( he/she/it acts)

( they/you all continue)
actúe úe
continúen All verbs ending in

– uar in all the individuals other than the 2nd and 1st plural of today subjunctive:
( that you raise, subj.)

( that he/she/it acts, subj.)

( that they/you all continue, subj.)
insinúo úo
actúo All verbs ending in

– uar

in the 1st individual particular of today tense:

( I assess)Spanish music
( I imply/insinuate)movies
( I act)

FluentU This post includes a great deal of details, however do not get overloaded! Simply attempt to find out the couple of guidelines provided and utilize the examples for practice.

and other audio or video resources are a terrific method to get exposed to Spanish vowels.

Language knowing programs with multimedia functions can likewise assist acquaint you with vowels and correct enunciation. lets you listen to and find out from brief Spanish videos geared up with interactive subtitles.


This post is readily available as a portable and hassle-free PDF that you.
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