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All About Alphabet “H” in Spanish

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Infographics of How To Pronounce H in Spanish

In the Spanish alphabet, the first silent letter is “H”. And, the pronunciation of the letter h is the easiest of all the letters. With the only exceptions being very few words of obvious foreign origin and the two-letter combinations explained next, the h is always silent.

In this article, we will learn everything about the origin of the letter H, deviations of the alphabet H, and how to pronounce the alphabet “H” in Spanish.

Alphabet 'H' Always Silent in Spanish

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The constant silence of H doesn't mean its pronunciation is easy and it doesn't create mistakes while speaking for learners. The beginner of the Spanish language wants to pronounce the letter frequently when it is equivalent to English.

There are constant rules about how to pronounce each letter and only two silent letters.
  • Vehículo  =Vehicle

  • Habana =Havana

  • Honduras =Onduras

  • Prohibir =Prohibit

Derivation of Letter “H” in Spanish

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The Spanish H is used to be pronounced for a long time in History. Almost all Spanish consonants have become comfortable throughout the years, and the letter H became very soft and inaudible.

Do you know, if he is silent then why does it exist in the language? 

It is so because of its historical value. As in English alphabets, several silent letters exist nowadays.

The Spanish h also was used to separate two vowels that weren't pronounced as one, that is as a consonant.

The word for "owl" used to be pronounced as buho to indicate that it was pronounced as two consonants rather than rhyming with the first consonant of cuota or "quota." 

An accent is used to emphasize vowels to show the lack of a consonant, so the word is written as búho. In this event, the accent isn't used to emphasize as it commonly does, but as an instructor to the proper pronunciation of the vowels.

Also, these days it is standard for the h between vowels to be ignored in pronunciation; that is, the vowels sometimes go together even though the h between them, depending on how they are stressed. 

The prohibir is pronounced more or less the same as proibir would be, when the point up is on the second consonant in forms of this word, it is highlighted and pronounced clearly. Therefore the combined forms of the verb include prohíbes, prohíbe, and prohíben.

Also, this is why búho (owl) is spelled with an accent mark. The accent covers that this word is pronounced as búo rather than buo. 

Similarly, alcohol is pronounced as alcol, not as alco-ol with a brief pause between the o and o. 

  • cuota =Owl

  • cuota =Quota

  • proibir =Prohibir

  • alco-ol =alcol

Deviations of Alphabet “H” in Spanish

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There are certain words recognized by Spanish Academy as hamster, the word where the h is pronounced. It is pronounced much as it is in English as if it was spelled jámster.

Some other words were given by the Academy in which local speakers frequently pronounce the h are-
For Example-

  • Hockey y jockey =Hockey and jockey

  • Hobby y hobbys =Hobby and hobbys

  • Hacker y golpe =Hacker and hit

  • Halar y jalar =Halar and jalar

How to Pronounce Letter “H” in Spanish

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In Spanish, this letter is silent and is never pronounced then, we can say that “hache” is a letter but not a sound.

The letter is always silent except it is next to the letter C.

When you spell the letter C next to an H you need to make a ch sound. This sound is just as identical to the “ch” sound in English.

In the Spanish alphabet, the word that represents the letter H is “hache”. Since this word starts with an H and has a ch, it makes for a great first example to demonstrate the pronunciation of H and ch.

Some of these consonants are a little difficult to pronounce differently. Here are some ideas to help you pronounce them-

For Example-

The letter Hache (H) is silent. If it stands after the letter Ce (C), it is not. The combination Ch is just the same as the “ch” in English words such as “church”.
The words are pronounced as if the “H” weren't there at all-
  • Hablar =Speak

  • Hermano =Brother

  • Helado =Ice cream

  • Hija =Daughter

  • Ahora =now

  • Zanahoria =Carrot

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