::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. Deviations from this may occur in words with /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|θ]]/ and /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|ʎ]]/:

  • 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 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
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref name="Approximant">/b, d, ɡ, ʝ/ are pronounced as the 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], similar to 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 {{#invoke:Footnotes | harvard_core }}.</ref> bestia; embuste; vaca; envidia; fútbol best
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}β]] bebé; obtuso; vivir; curva between baby and bevy
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref name="Approximant"/> dedo; cuando; aldaba dead
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ð]] diva; arder; admirar this
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] fase; café face
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ɡ]]<ref name="Approximant"/> gato; lengua; guerra got
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ɣ]] trigo; amargo; sigue; signo like go, but without completely blocking air flow on the g
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ʝ]]<ref name="Approximant"/><ref name=yeismo/> ayuno; poyo; maracuyá you
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ɟʝ]]<ref name="Approximant"/><ref name=yeismo/> cónyuge; abyecto job
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] caña; laca; quise; kilo scan
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] lino; alhaja; principal lean
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ʎ]]<ref name="Approximant"/><ref name=yeismo>Many Spanish speakers no longer distinguish /ʎ/ from /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|ʝ]]/; the actual realization depends on dialect, however. See yeísmo and {{#invoke:Footnotes | harvard_core }} for more information.</ref> llave; pollo million
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref name=nasal>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. The three do not contrast at the end of a word; depending on dialect, this neutralized nasal may appear as [n], [ŋ], or nasalization of the preceding vowel.</ref> madre; comer; campo; anfibio mother
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref name=nasal/> nido; anillo; anhelo; sin; álbum need
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ɲ]]<ref name=nasal/> ñandú; cañón; enyesar canyon
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ŋ]]<ref name=nasal/> cinco; venga; conquista sing
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] pozo; topo spouse
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref name=rhotic>The rhotic consonants /ɾ/ and /r/ only contrast between vowels. Otherwise, they are in complementary distribution, with [[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|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 [[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|ɾ]]] is found elsewhere.</ref> rumbo; carro; honra; amor; amor eterno trilled r
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ɾ]]<ref name=rhotic/> caro; bravo; amor eterno batter (American English)
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref name="seseo">Northern and central Spain still distinguish between s (/[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|s]]/) and soft c or z (/[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|θ]]/). Almost all other dialects treat the two as identical (which is called seseo) and pronounce them as /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|s]]/. There is a small number of speakers, mostly in southern Spain, who pronounce the soft c, z and even s as /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|θ]]/, a phenomenon called ceceo. See phonological history of Spanish coronal fricatives and {{#invoke:Footnotes | harvard_core }} for more information.</ref> saco; espita; xenón sack
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}θ]]</big><ref name="seseo"/> cereal; encima; zorro; enzima; paz thing
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] tamiz; átomo stand
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ʃ]] chubasco; acechar choose
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] jamón; eje; reloj; general; México<ref>The letter x only represents /x/ in certain proper names like Ximena and some place names in current or former Mexico (Oaxaca, Texas).</ref> Scottish loch
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref>[z] is an allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants.</ref> isla; mismo; deshuesar prison
Marginal phonemes
IPA Examples English approximation
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ʃ]]<ref>/ʃ/ is only used in loanwords and certain proper nouns. It is non-existent in many dialects, being realized as [[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|tʃ]]] or [[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|s]]]; e.g. show [tʃou]~[sou].</ref> abacaxi; Shakira; show shack
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ɬ]] tlapalería; cenzontle; Popocatépetl no English equivalent (from Nāhuatl)
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] Ertzaintza; abertzale; Pátzcuaro cats
IPA Examples English approximation
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] azahar father
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] vehemente set
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] dimitir; mío; y see
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] boscoso sole
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] cucurucho; dúo food
Semivowels<ref name="Semivowel">The semivowels [[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|w]]] and [[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|j]]] can be combined with vowels to form rising diphthongs (e.g. cielo, cuadro). Falling diphthongs (e.g. aire, rey, auto) are transcribed with /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|i]]/ and /[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}|u]]/.</ref>
IPA Examples English approximation
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]] main}} yet
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}]]<ref>Some speakers may pronounce word-initial [w] with an epenthetic [ɡ]; e.g. Huila [ˈɡwila]~[ˈwila].</ref> main}} wine
Stress and syllabification
IPA Examples English approximation
[[{{#invoke:IPA symbol|main}}ˈ]] ciudad [θjuˈðað] domain
. o [ˈmi.o] Mayan

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