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Spanish-English Dictionary: More Information


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Houghton MifflinSpanish Orthography

The Spanish Alphabet
The Spanish alphabet has 27 letters: the 26 letters of English plus ñ, which is alphabetized after n. The combinations ch, ll, and rr are no longer considered letters and are not alphabetized separately, though they retain their distinctive sound and cannot be divided in syllabication.

a a j jota r ere
b be k ka s ese
c ce l ele t te
d de m eme u u
e e n ene v ve, uve
f efe ñ eñe w doble u
g ge o o x equis
h hache p pe y i griega
i i q cu z zeta

Stress and Accentuation
Words ending in a vowel or the consonants -n or -s are stressed on the next to last syllable <cerrado, comieron, naranjas>. Words ending in any other consonant are stressed on the last syllable <cerrar, estoy, ferrocarril>. Exceptions to these rules are marked with a written accent over the vowel of the stressed syllable <rubí, noción, francés, árbol, pájaro>. When a diphthong or triphthong requires an accent, it is placed over the strong vowel <cantáis, evaluéis>.

Capitalization and Punctuation
Capitalization is used less frequently in Spanish than in English. Capital letters are not used with days of the week or months of the year <lunes Monday> <marzo March>. The subject pronoun <yo I> is not capitalized. Names of countries are capitalized but adjectives of nationality and names of languages are not <el rey francés the French king> <estudio español I study Spanish>.

Syllabication
Single consonants between vowels join the following vowel <pa[dot]re[dot]ci[dot]do>. The combinations ch, ll, and rr are never separated <te[dot]cho, si[dot]lla, pe[dot]rro>. The letter y is considered a consonant when followed by a vowel <o[dot]ye[dot]ra> but as a vowel in other cases.



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