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Chapter 2: Structure of Spanish

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1 Chapter 2: Structure of Spanish
Teaching Reading Sourcebook 2nd Edition

2 Spanish Letter/Sound System
In Spanish spoken in the Americas, there is a nearly one-to-one correspondence between the 22 phonemes and the 29 letters that represent these sounds. The phonetic variations of Spanish consonants are a challenge for most beginning readers. Spanish readers are taught the vowel letters and sounds before consonant letters and sounds. Spanish is a syllabic language: the spoken language is built on a small number of syllables and the printed language is easily decoded syllable by syllable.

3 English/ Spanish Differences
The five Spanish vowel sounds are relatively consistent. a represents the short-o sound in spa e represents the long-a sound in eight i represents the long-e sound in machine o represents the long-o sound in old u represents the long-u sound in tube

4 English/Spanish Differences
In Spanish, the letter v is pronounced /b/. The sound for z is pronounced /s/. Spanish words do not usually end with final consonant blends. The sh and th digraphs do not exist in Spanish; the ch digraph is taught as part of the alphabet. The rr is a consonant digraph that is pronounced with the forcibly rolled /rr/; the ll is pronounced /y/.

5 English/ Spanish Differences continued
The g before e or i and j represent a strong guttural sound /x/ similar to /h/ in English. The only silent letter in Spanish is h. In Spanish the letters k, w, and the digraph wh are only found in words of foreign origin. Que or qui in Spanish are pronounced /k/ not /kw/. There are no Spanish words that begin with s-blends.

6 English/Spanish Cognates
Cognates are words in two languages that share a similar spelling, pronunciation, and meaning. Children can often draw on their knowledge of words in their first language to figure out the meanings of cognates in English. English and Spanish share a large number of cognate pairs because of their common Latin and Greek roots. Cognates can be spelled identically or nearly the same, pronounced nearly the same, or be false cognates. False cognates are words spelled identically or nearly the same in both languages but do not have the same meaning.

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