Learn the Spanish Alphabet

The Spanish alphabet has the same twenty six roman letters that are found in the English alphabet, plus one additional letter. The extra letter is called the eñe, and it is written as an n with a tilde over it.  A tilde is basically a small wavy line. Although the other twenty six letters are the same as those in the English alphabet, they each have a different name, and in some cases, they even have a different pronunciation than their English counterparts.

Until recently, there were actually more letters in the spanish alphabet. However, near the end of last year, the governing body of the Spanish language removed two letters. The governing body is called the RAE which stands for the Real Academia Española. That name translates to the Royal Academy of Spanish. From their base in Madrid, they removed the “ch” and the “ll.” Each of these letters will now be indicated by using both of the letters that comprise them. For instance, the “ch” will be replaced by the individual letters “c” and “h.” These changes will simplify many things for people who use the spanish alphabet. However, it will complicate some things. For instance, dictionaries written prior to the change will now be wrong. In the old dictionaries, “ch” and “ll” had their own sections. Now, however, the “ch” words will need to be located between words beginning with “ce” and “ci,” and similar changes will have to be made to words containing the “ll.”

Although to English speakers it may seem strange to consider a two letter combination as one letter, this classification is widespread through other world languages. The unifying idea is that because the two letters represent one phoneme or sound, they can be considered as a solitary letter. These modifications will make learning the spanish alphabet easier for English speakers. However, keep these changes to the spanish alphabet in mind if you have an older dictionary.