You might be wondering how many letters are in the Spanish alphabet. Officially, there are 27 letters in the Spanish alphabet according to the Real Academia Española‘s new 2010 Common Orthography.
The Spanish Alphabet Changes in 2010
In 2010, the Royal Spanish Academy made two major changes to the Spanish alphabet.
1. The Removal of Letters in the Spanish Alphabet
Originally there were 29 letters in the Spanish alphabet. The two additional letters that were recognized as official letters in the Spanish alphabet were ch and ll. Both letters had distinct pronunciations and were considered part of the Spanish alphabet up until 2010. These changes were officially made by the Royal Spanish Academy.
As a result, this affected the alphabetical order found in dictionaries and caused confusion among native Spanish speakers and for Spanish learners who had learned the Spanish alphabet prior to 2010.
To give you an example, the word achatar, meaning “to flatten,” would be listed after acordar, meaning”to agree.” Nevertheless, many Spanish learners, especially native English speakers, would naturally assume that the word achatar should be shown before the word acordar in a dictionary since the letter h comes before the letter o in both the Spanish and English alphabets.
2. Changes in the Name of Letters of the Spanish Alphabet
Apart from the removal of 2 letters in the Spanish alphabet, the Royal Spanish Academy also made changes to 3 of the names of letters in the Spanish alphabet. These were:
- Y which changed to “ye”
- B, which changed to “be”
- V, which changed to “uve”
What Are the 27 Letters in the Spanish Alphabet?
Now that you understand the changes that have affected the Spanish alphabet, below you will find the complete list of 27 letters found in the Spanish alphabet.
There are two slight differences between the Spanish alphabet and the English alphabet. The first is that the Spanish alphabet has the same letters found in the English alphabet, except for the addition of eñe “ñ” in the Spanish alphabet.
Although there are 27 letters in the Spanish alphabet, some of the letters produce different sounds, not just one. For instance, the letter d in the Spanish word “dedo” (finger) sounds like the English letter d in the English word “today”. However, the letter d in the Spanish word “admirar” (to admire) sounds like the th sound in the English word “this”. While there are 27 Spanish letters, the sounds that they product can reach up to 30 different sounds.
The pronunciation of the letter names in the Spanish alphabet is also distinct from the English alphabet. While the Spanish letters themselves look similar to the English letters, native Spanish speakers may not understand you if you pronounce the Spanish letter names in the same way that English letter are pronounced. For example, the Spanish letter name “i” sounds very close to the English letter name “e”, so there may be some confusion between you and a native Spanish speaker if you don’t pronounce Spanish letter names correctly.
Below are listed all 27 Spanish letters found in the Spanish alphabet, followed by the pronunciation of each of the Spanish letter names of the alphabet.
R: ere (or erre)
W: uve doble, doble ve, doble u
How to Learn the Spanish Alphabet
The Spanish Alphabet is a fundamental part of learning the Spanish language. If you learn and memorize the Spanish alphabet, you’ll be more attuned to the phonetic differences between Spanish and your native language. As a result, you’ll be able to correctly pronounce words and sounds in Spanish and develop a more natural and native Spanish accent.
Not only that, by knowing the letter names of the Spanish alphabet, you’ll be able to spell Spanish words out loud. This can be very useful if you’re traveling to a Spanish-speaking country, and you need to verbally spell your name, your hotel address or any other important details so you don’t get lost on your trip!
Learning the Spanish alphabet on your own can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have access to the correct pronunciation from a native speaker. What many self-taught Spanish learners do is use Spanish alphabet flashcards to really learn the Spanish alphabet.
Using Spanish alphabet flashcards can be a great way to learn the Spanish alphabet and never forget it.
Spanish alphabet flashcards can help you not only pronounce each letter and sound correctly using native audio, but they can provide examples of Spanish words that start with each letter. This is accompanied with an image to help you visualize and therefore memorize each of the letters found in the Spanish alphabet more easily.
Knowing how many letters are in the Spanish alphabet is a great start to getting familiar with the Spanish language. However, if you want to reach fluency in Spanish, it is important to learn and memorize the basics of the Spanish language, including the Spanish alphabet.