Spanish Alphabet

The Spanish alphabet, in its basic form, is based on the Latin alphabet, which was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Romans during their rule in antiquity. However, throughout history, the Spanish alphabet has incorporated some foreign influences, mainly through linguistic borrowings and the adaptation of words from other languages.


The Spanish alphabet is a writing system based on the Latin alphabet, the same alphabet used in many other Western languages around the world. The Spanish alphabet consists of 27 letters, including the 26 letters of the standard Latin alphabet and one additional letter: the "ñ" (pronounced as "eñe"). Each letter represents a specific sound in the Spanish language, which makes the spelling quite phonetic compared to some other languages.

The letters "ch" and "ll" used to be considered letters of the Spanish alphabet in the past, but in 2010, the Real Academia Española decided to eliminate them as independent letters and treat them as single letter combinations. Therefore, the Spanish alphabet is now considered to have 27 letters instead of 29.

Each of these letters is used to represent specific sounds in the Spanish language, and many of them have different pronunciations depending on their position in a word or the letters surrounding them.

Important aspects of the Spanish alphabet

Latin alphabet: The Spanish alphabet is mostly an adaptation of the Latin alphabet, which was the basis of writing in ancient Rome. The basic letters, such as A, B, C, etc., come from Latin and have been maintained in modern Spanish.

Letters "K" and "W": These two letters are not part of the traditional Spanish alphabet, but are used in words of foreign origin, especially in proper names and linguistic borrowings from languages such as English and German. Their use is limited and they are considered less common in Spanish.

Borrowings from other languages: Spanish has adopted words from different languages throughout its history. For example, terms from Arabic, such as "alfombra" (carpet) and "aceite" (oil), were incorporated during the Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Similarly, Spanish has adopted words from English, French, Italian and other languages as cultural and commercial interactions with non-Spanish speaking countries have taken place.

Letter "Ñ": Although the "ñ" is not of foreign origin, it is a unique feature of the Spanish alphabet and is not found in other Latin-derived languages. It developed as an evolution of the letter "nn" in Medieval Latin and is used to represent the sound /ɲ/, as in words such as "niño" (child).

Accents and umlauts: Accents and umlauts in some foreign words are used to indicate correct pronunciation and maintain phonetic spelling. For example, "año" (year) has a tilde to indicate that the "ñ" is pronounced separately.

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The Spanish alphabet

The Spanish alphabet is composed of 27 letters. Below is the list of letters in alphabetical order along with their pronunciation:

  1. A (a)
  2. B (be)
  3. C (ce)
  4. D (de)
  5. E (e)
  6. F (efe)
  7. G (ge)
  8. H (hache)
  9. I (i)
  10. J (jota)
  11. K (ka)
  12. L (ele)
  13. M (eme)
  14. N (ene)
  15. Ñ (eñe)
  16. O (o)
  17. P (pe)
  18. Q (cu)
  19. R (ere)
  20. S (ese)
  21. T (te)
  22. U (u)
  23. V (ve)
  24. W (doble u)
  25. X (equis)
  26. Y (ye)
  27. Z (zeta)

Spanish spelling

The orthography of Spanish is considered quite phonetic due to its historical evolution, the influence of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) and its relatively stable phonological system. Over time, Spanish has maintained a close relationship between writing and pronunciation, in contrast to other languages that have experienced greater divergence between the two. This is because Spanish originated from Vulgar Latin and, as it evolved, certain orthographic rules were established to reflect the common pronunciation in different Spanish-speaking regions.

The RAE, as the regulating entity of the Spanish language, has played an important role in the consolidation of these orthographic rules. Throughout history, it has worked to maintain consistency between writing and pronunciation, which has contributed to Spanish being a language in which letters generally represent specific sounds.

In addition, Spanish tends to be less influenced by linguistic borrowings and foreign words compared to some other languages. When foreign terms are incorporated, the RAE often seeks to adapt them to conform to the phonetic and orthographic rules of Spanish, which helps to maintain consistency in the language.


In summary, although the Spanish alphabet has its roots in the Latin alphabet, it has incorporated some foreign influences through linguistic borrowings and adaptations of words from other languages. These influences have enriched the Spanish lexicon and have allowed the language to adapt to cultural and commercial interactions throughout its history.

In addition, the phonetic orthography of Spanish is the result of a combination of historical factors, the work of the RAE and a stable phonological system in the language. This close relationship between writing and pronunciation makes Spanish more predictable in terms of spelling compared to some other languages.

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