SOLT Spanish Module 1 Lesson 1

The Alphabet in Context
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Objectives Module 1 Lesson 1

At the end of the lesson you will recognize and pronounce the alphabet of the Spanish language. This way you will be able to become acquainted with sounds that are similar and different than your own native language. For this purpose you will:

1. Identify the Alphabet
Recognize each character of the alphabet
Identify the name of each character of the alphabet

2. Vowel Sounds
Recognize vowels
Produce vowel and diphthong sounds
Produce vowel-consonant combinations

3. Consonant Sounds
Pronounce aspirated and un-aspirated consonant sounds

4. Recognize Cognates
Identify cognates
Pronounce cognates
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

Language and culture are inseparable. The culture serves as a home for the language and also as a vehicle to transmit, preserve and create language. As you learn about the Latin-American world you will become acquainted not only with the language patterns, but with some of the cultural patterns as well.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

1. Identify the Spanish Alphabet

In Spanish, vowels and consonants always “sound” the same as opposed to English. For example: consider the different sounds of “a” in English, as in apple, tomato, and art. Repeat, after your instructor, the letters of the Spanish alphabet and listen to how they sound in the words used as examples.

Letra Nombre Ejemplo
(Letter) (Name) (Example)

a arte
be bomba
ce café
che Chile
de dólar
e él
efe famoso
ge geografía
ache hola
i idea
jota japón
ka kilo
ele limón
elle llama
eme mañana
ene numeroso
eñe señor
o ópera
pe permiso
cu Quito
ere tortilla
erre burro
u Uruguay
ve victoria
doble u (doble ve) Washington
equis examen
I griega yo
zeta zapato
*There are 28 official letters. In 1994, the Spanish Language Academy declared that
ch and ll are no longer official letters.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

2. Vowel Sounds

Pair activity. The following pronunciation guide will help you master the sounds of the Spanish language. Working with a partner, repeat the vowel sounds and the word examples according to the model. Refer to this guide regularly. Spanish is often referred to as a “phonetic language” because it is usually pronounced as it is written; only the sounds are short, not extending into a second sound.

Also, vowel and consonant combinations are placed together and create sounds in words pretty much as they do in English. Repeat the following words after your instructor.

A, as in ah!casaamafamaE, as in cafébebéneneesteI, as in machinesídifícilfinO, as in nolocosolocomoU, as in bluecunaculturauno
Spanish vowels are short, clear and clipped; never drawn out, and their sounds are basically invariable. In order to produce accurate pronunciation of the Spanish vowels, the lips, tongue, and jaw muscles must be considerably tense and in a relatively constant position. Think of Spanish vowels as pure sounds, the position of the mouth remaining the same throughout the pronunciation of the vowel. They are pronounced clearly even in unstressed positions, unlike English vowels.

Diphthongs: a diphthong is the union of a strong and a weak vowel, which is pronounced as one syllable.

Weak Vowels: Strong Vowels
i y u a e o

y (and)hay (there is / there are)virrey (viceroy) The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

3. Produce vowel sounds

Pair activity. Take turns pronouncing the vowels and the words used as examples.

A This vowel A is pronounced as the English “A” in father.
grande ciudad una nación calles

E The letter E is always pronounced "E" as in bet, test, bless.
México América que es el

I Y and the letter I is always pronounced "EE" as in greet, beet. (y generally
when it stands alone or at the end of a word) is pronounced as the English “I” in
Chile Paraguay y estoy continente

O The letter O is always pronounced "O" as in obey (but without the slightest
trace of a “U” sound. It is a clean, distinct “O“sound).

no colonia como nación México importante

U The letter U is always pronounced "OO" as in cool.

un Sudamérica cultura algunos única The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

4. Consonant Sounds

Listen to your instructor’s explanation of the following pronunciation key, and repeat the words used as examples.

B 1. The letter B is pronounced "B" as in bit.

Examples: bonitos bellas barrios
However, when the letter B appears between vowels it is pronounced very softly. In fact, the B between vowels is so soft that your lips hardly touch when you pronounce it. Try pronouncing the word "abundancia" with a soft B.
Examples: Colombia también habitantes

C 1. The C before A, O, U is hard as the “C” in can.
Examples: América capital continente encuentra

2. The C before E or I is soft as the C in cent.
Examples: nación centro ciudad principal veces
3. CC is pronounced "X." "Acción" is pronounced "axion."
CH 1. As in child.

Examples: muchacha mucho
D 1. The letter D is pronounced "D" as in "do."

Examples: dedo idioma
2. When the
D is the last letter of a word or when it appears between
vowels, it is pronounced as a soft TH. Say the English word "the" several times making the TH very soft; then say "ciudad," pronouncing both D's with the same soft TH.
Examples: elevada usted Estados Unidos de dos
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

F 1. This letter is pronounced as F in the English word fool.
Examples: edificio famoso fácil fábrica Felipe

G 1. The G before A, O, U is hard as in get.
Examples: algo lengua agua pregunta algunas

2. The G before “E” or “I” is pronounced “H” as in hen. "General" is pronounced "Heneral."
Examples: vegetación higiene trabajar José región
3. GUE is pronounced "GUE" as in guest.
4. GUI is pronounced "GEE" as in geese.

H 1. The H is always silent in Spanish. "Hotel" is pronounced "otel."
Examples: hay hasta ahora historia higiene

J 1. The J is pronounced "H" as in hen.
Examples: juez Javier

L 1. The L is pronounced "L" as in let.
Examples: Luis Chile la capital del los

LL 1. In some parts of Spain and in other parts of the Spanish-speaking
world, “ll” is pronounced like the English y in
young. In other parts of
the Spanish-speaking world, “ll” as well as the consonant “y” are
pronounced like “s” in
pleasure and at times like “j” in judge.

Examples: caballo llevo yacer yugular yoyo
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

M 1. M is pronounced as “M” in the English word meet.
Examples: muy mucho México llaman
N 1. N is pronounced like “n” in the English word never.
Examples: norte nación son un
Ñ 1. The Ñ is pronounced "NY." "Cabaña" is pronounced "cabanya" and
"señor" is “senyor".
Examples: montañas señor niños mañana

P 1. P is pronounced approximately like “P” in the English word speak.
Examples: parte país pero primitivas
Q 1. The letter Q when followed by “UE” is pronounced "KE" as in kept.

Examples: que queso

2. When followed by “UI” is pronounced "KEE" as in keen, keep.
Examples: Quito quiero

R 1. The R is slightly trilled except when it is the first letter in a word, in which case it is strongly trilled.
Examples: diferentes rey pobres parques centro

RR 1. RR is always strongly trilled.

Examples: ferrocarril Monterrey desarrollar
S 1. This letter is pronounced like the “S” in the word sea.

Examples: país casi Sudamérica residencia señor
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

T 1. The T is always pronounced as the "TT" in attractive.

Examples: norte continente parte también

Y 1. The letter Y is pronounced "Y" as in yet.

2. However, when the letter
Y stands alone it is pronounced "EE" as in
beet. "Y" means "and" in Spanish.

Z 1. The Z is pronounced "S" as in sent. The rest of the letters are
pronounced as they are in English, with only very slight variations. In
some parts of Spain the
C before E or I is pronounced "H,” and the Z is
always pronounced "TH".

5. Division of syllables

The division of words into Syllables = Silabeo. Not many of us are sure where to divide English words into syllables. Spanish words may be divided more easily because six rules may be applied to govern their division.
In general a syllable must contain a vowel. A syllable can't contain a consonant by itself.

ca-sa ma-no

But it may contain one vowel
and no consonant.

le-o e-so
1. A consonant between two vowels will form a sillable with the second vowel.
ca-sa i-de-a A-mé-ri-ca Mé-xi-co *a-gra-da-ble
2. Separate two consonants but do not leave a consonant by itself.
*li-bro can-ción par-te *gran-de par-que

3. Do not separate adjacent strong and weak vowels or two weak vowels.
fi-es-ta, it should be: fies-ta as in the following rule.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

4. The combination of these letters is generally divided after the first consonant.
*siem-pre *en-tre *san-gre *cen-tral *in-dus-trial

5. Two adjacent strong vowels form two separated syllables.

pa-se-o o-es-te mu-se-o
*ma-es-tro le-e
6. Adjacent strong and weak vowels or two weak vowels normally combine to form a single syllable. This combination of two vowels is called a diphthong.
Co-lom-bia go-bier-no na-cio-nes es-ta-tua ciu-dad

*The r and the l combine with certain consonants cannot be separated: bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr.

Exercise 1

Separating into syllables

Pair activity. Working with another student, separate the following words into syllables.

1. gobierno

2. Colombia

3. nación
4. América

5. museo

6. industrial

7. parte
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

6. Stress/Accentuation

Pronounce the stressed words with your instructor.
1. Words ending in a consonant, except -n or -s, are stressed on the last syllable.
capital nacional español metal hablar

2. Words ending in a vowel or -n or -s are stressed on the next to the last syllable
norte continente naciones edificios mucho

3. Words whose stress is not in conformity with these rules bear a written accent on the
stressed vowel.
América nación árbol público también
4. In a combination of a strong and weak vowel or of two weak vowels, the strong vowel
or the second of two weak vowel is normally stressed in an accented syllable.
gobierno tiempo viejo bien puerto
5. In combinations of a strong and weak vowel, when the weak vowel is stressed, there is
always a written accent which divides the two vowels into separate syllables.
Otherwise, the combination becomes a diphthong of one syllable with the stress on the
strong vowel.
país río continúa frío hay fuerte
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

7. Recognize cognates
It is very easy to build a large vocabulary of Spanish words. In fact, you already know a thousand English words that became Spanish words if you change them very slightly. Listen to the cognate rules and repeat the cognate examples after your instructor.


1. Words which end in "
OR." These words are often identical in Spanish and English:
el docTOR el acTOR

Spanish words ending in “OR carry stress on the last syllable.
2. Words that end in "AL." These also are often identical in Spanish and English:
the animAL = el animal
the criminAL = el criminal
Stress the word in the last syllable: el a-ni-mAL el cri-mi-nAL
el ca-nAL el lo-cAL
3. Words that end in "BLE" These also are often identical in Spanish and English:
the ca
BLE - el caBLE terriBLE notaBLE horriBLE
These words are stressed on the next to the last syllable: Example: no-TA-ble
4. Words that end in "
IC" in English.
To change them into Spanish simple add the letter "
O" IC = ICO.
the public = el públicO
el atlántico romántico automático
These words take a written accent on the second-to-the last syllable.
i-co au-to-má-ti-co
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

5. Words that end in "ENT" or "ANT." If you simply add the letter "E" to many of
these words, they become Spanish words:
ENT = EntE el accidente
ANT = AntE el cliente
the president = el presidentE
important = import

Words that end in “ENT or “ANT are stressed on the next to the last syllable.

Example: presi
Words that end in "
ENT" or "ANT" are accented on the next to the last syllable:
el acci
DENte exceLENte

6. Words that end in "TOR" in English change TOR to DOR and you will have the
Spanish word:
the senator = el senaDor
acelerator = aceleraDor

7. Words that end in “TION” in English change to “CION” and the “o” has an accent.

tion =demostración nation=nación information=información
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

Exercise 2

Review of cognate endings

Pair activity. Working with a partner, alternate giving each other the following type of cognate examples:

2 cognates ending in
TOR ______________ ______________.

3 cognates ending in
CIÓN ______________ ______________ ______________.

3 cognates ending in
ICO ______________ ______________ ______________.

2 cognates ending in
DOR ______________ ______________.

Exercise 3

Reading Exercise:

Class activity. To practice pronunciation, each student will read a sentence aloud. Your instructor will correct the pronunciation if necessary.

Caracas es una ciudad muy interesante. En Caracas hay muchos edificios modernos.

Hay hoteles, teatros y restaurantes excelentes. Los museos de Caracas son

extraordinarios. En los museos hay pinturas y estatuas excelentes. Caracas es una ciudad

grande. Hay mucho tráfico. Hay autos, camiones, autobuses y motocicletas. Hay

parques lindos en Caracas. En los parques hay estatuas muy bonitas y muchas flores

tropicales. En los parques siempre hay muchos turistas norteamericanos.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Introduction Module 1 Lesson 1

Exercise 4

Introduction review

Pair activity. Compare your notes with a partner after completing the exercise.

1. Spell your name.
2. Pronounce your Spanish name.
3. The instructor will dictate some words to you. Write them in Spanish:

Exercise 5


Pair activity. Using cognates and “is”(es) and “the”(el), each of you create short statements in Spanish and you read them aloud to one another.

Example: El actor es popular. El doctor es excelente.

The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

1. Accents

Although writing is not the emphasis of this course, you will notice that the Spanish language has accents, which are either stressed orally or they are written. Accents
give meaning to words. As you progress in the target language you will observe and become familiar with them. Some accented words you have learned as cognates in this lesson are:

Repeat the following examples after your instructor.

bebé café sí vegetación acción nación

Note You will also notice that question marks and exclamation marks come in pairs in the Spanish language. It will be very helpful if you just generally observe patterns of accent use, for example: question words always have an accent.

2. Cognates

In the introduction section, you were introduced to the concept of cognates to learn about word-endings. COGNATES (cognados), are words that are written in a similar way in both languages and have similar meanings as well. The word doctor” is a cognate because it is written in the same way in English and Spanish, they mean the same, and in this case they are even pronounced in a similar way. You will not, at his point be introduced to “false cognates”, which could prove confusing because they appear similar in sound and spelling, but have a totally different meaning.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

Exercise 6

Group activity. Working as a group, take turns repeating the cognates and their similar translation.

Different pronunciation Double to Single Consonant

Español Inglés Español Inglés

annualprofesorprofessorcomunióncommuniongramaticalgrammaticalocasionaloccasionalAdd one letter
accidentpresidentepresidentpresentepresentinstanteinstantconstanteconstantimportanteimportanttelegramatelegram emblemaemblemproblemaproblem honorablehonorable

3. Articles

Note The concept of gender in words is unlike the way we refer to objects, places or things in general in English, but it is important to apply it at all times in the Spanish Language.

Number and Gender agreement

In English, the definite article remains the same, it always = (the). In Spanish, it is very important to take into account; number and gender agreement between articles, nouns and adjectives. Because ALL nouns have gender, that determines whether the article and the adjective that accompany the noun are feminine or masculine. The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

Exercise 7

The definite and the indefinite articles are as follow: An example for each is provided.

los= masculine

Note Generally speaking, nouns that end with “a” are feminine and those that end in “o” are masculine, but not ALL nouns end in these two vowels, some end in “e,” like “el tomate,” or “la representante,” and they may be masculine or feminine nouns. Recognition of these will come with practice.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

Exercise 8

Class activity. Repeat the examples after your instructor. Most nouns ending in “a are generally feminine.

la casala mamála hermanala sillala mesa

Nouns that end in “
oare generally masculine.

el teléfonoel hermanoel talentoel asiento

Nouns that end in “
e may be masculine or feminine.

el parquela calle

Nouns, which refer to males, are masculine.

el señorel chicoel muchachoel niño

Nouns, which refer to females, are feminine.

la señorala chicala muchachala niña

Exercise 9

Pair activity. Take turns as you provide the correct article for the following nouns. You don’t need to know the meaning, just look at the ending.

_____1. libro _____6. profesor
_____2. alumna _____7. dinero
_____3. amigo _____8. tienda
_____4. lección _____9. escuela
_____5. fruta _____10. campo
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

4. Plurals

Pair activity. Working with a partner, alternate reading the rules of plurals to each other and practice pronouncing the following plural forms.

To form plurals in Spanish, follow the following rules:

a) “s is added to nouns ending in an unstressed vowel.

camino caminos
casa casas
mesa mesas
libro libros

b) “es is added to words ending in a consonant.

canción canciones
monitor monitores
impresor impresores
ángel ángeles

c) “es is added to nouns with only one syllable wich end in “s.

Dios dioses
mes meses

d) If the noun ends with the letter “z, change the “z to “ces.

voz voces
raíz raíces
fugaz fugaces

e) If the noun has more than one syllable and it ends in “s DO NOT CHANGE.

la dosis las dosis
la crisi
s las crisis
el oasi
s los oasis
el análisi
s los análisis

Exercise 10

Pair activity. Alternate converting the following nouns to a plural form and then come up
with some phrases that include these words:

1. ciudad ____ 4. base ____
2. novela ____ 5. chocolate ____
3. lección ____ 6. vacación ____

The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

5. Sentence Structure with adjectives

Although there are many similarities between English and Spanish, such as the alphabet, the combination of word sounds and the use of cognates, Spanish cannot be translated literally into English, because there are differences in sentence structure. The order or placement of words (parts of speech) may vary in Spanish. For example, a beginning Spanish student should always place the adjective after the noun in Spanish to use the normal structure, but will, in more advanced lessons, learn that sometimes the adjective is used before the noun as in English in order to emphasize, be dramatic or poetic.


adj. noun noun adj.
English = The red rose. Spanish = La rosa roja

You may encounter later on, however, a poetic phrase such as: The red rose of summer.
La roja rosa del verano.

Exercise 11

Pair activity. Put the following articles, nouns, and adjectives, in the same order as the previous example. Remember to match number and gender with the definite and indefinite articles.

Articles: el la los las un una unos unas

Nouns: ángel ángeles doctora doctoras

Adjectives: importante importantes elegante elegantes
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

6. Sentence structure with verbs

You may find a closer translation when you add a verb, but you should be aware, that Spanish is more flexible and the same thing can be said using a different word order.


subj. verb adj. comp.. subj. verb adj. comp
English = The rose is red Spanish = La rosa es roja


verb subj. adj. verb adj. subj.
Is the rose red? ¿Es roja la rosa?

Exercise 12

Pair activity. Using the same articles, nouns, and adjectives from the previous exercise, plus the verb ser, and then exchange with your partner short sentences like the above word order example.

1.El ángel es ______________________. 2.Un ángel es ________________________.
3.¿Es importante el _________________? 4.¿Es elegante la ______________________?
5.Un doctor es _____________________. 6.Una doctora es ______________________.

In Spanish, you could also use the less common order of:

verb subject adjective Or adj. verb subject
Es la rosa roja Roja es la rosa


verb subject adjective Or adj. verb subject
¿Es la rosa roja? ¿Roja es la rosa?

These last two forms, however, are rarely used and not necessary to learn at this level, but it is helpful to be aware that the Spanish sentence structure allows for more variation than English.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

7. Sentence structure in the negative

Literal translation can also prove to be a problem when the negative is introduced. The word “no in Spanish precedes the verb.


English: The rose
is not red. Spanish: La rosa no es roja.

Exercise 13

Pair activity. Work with a classmate, and using the following cognates, form negative sentences like the example.

1. El ángel no es__________________.

2. La doctora no es________________.




Exercise 14

Negatives forms in sentence structure

Pair activity. Continue with your partner, making sentences in the negative form (no es) with the appropriate definite or indefinite articles:

Example: Ricardo no es un hombre trabajador.

estudiante/inteligente música/emocionante persona/fascinante

presidente/honorable museo/importante presente/constante
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

8. Questions and Exclamations

A) In Spanish as in English, intonation as well as question marks can change a statement into a question. Listen to your instructor pronounce the following with the changes in intonation, then repeat afterwards. Do the same with the exclamations in example “B”.


Alejandra es profesora ¿Alejandra es profesora?

Alexandra is a teacher Alexandra is a teacher?

B) In the case of the words Cuánta and Qué, they can be used as interrogatives or as words in an exclamation.


¿Cuánto cuesta? How much does it cost? Or ¡Cuánto cuesta! How much it costs!

¿Qué es “divertido”? What is “fun”? Or ¡Qué divertido! What fun!

C) Notice that the correct sentence structure in Spanish follows the adjective after the noun word order for exclamations as well, when using the words “
tan and “más, which can be interpreted as “such a”, “what a”, “terribly”, or “very,” and that Spanish flexibility allows for also saying the same thing in the English word order version.


noun adj.
¡Qué rosa
tan bella! = Such a
= What a beautiful rose!
What a very beautiful rose!
¡Qué rosa más bella!

adj. noun adj. noun
Or as in the English word order: ¡Qué bella rosa! What a beautiful rose!

The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

Interrogatives words: All interrogatives words have a written accent mark. You must memorize these.

¿QUÉ? what?, which?

¿QUIÉN (ES)? who?

¿CUÁL (ES)? which?, which one?, what?

¿DÓNDE? where?

¿(A) DÓNDE? where to?

¿(DE) DÓNDE where from?

¿CÓMO? how?

¿POR QUÉ? why?

¿CUÁNDO? when?

¿CUÁNTO(A)? how much?

¿CUÁNTOS (AS)? how many?
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Grammar Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

Exercise 15

Pair activity. Working with a partner, underline the Spanish words that correctly convey
the English.

1. (De dónde, A dónde) Where son ustedes?
2. (Cuándo, Cuánto)
How much cuesta el libro?
3. (Cuál, Qué)
Which períodico quiere?
4. ( Cuántos, Cómo)
How many quiere usted?
5. (Por qué, Dónde)
Why estás aquí?
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Vocabulary Module 1 Lesson 1

accidente (el)accidentacción (la)actionacelerador (el)acceleratoractor (el)actoragresivoaggressiveAméricaAmericaángel (el)angelanimal (el)animalanualannualartísticoartisticatlántico (el)Atlanticautomáticoautomaticbebé (el)babycable (el)cablecafé (el)coffeecámara (la) cameracanal elchannelcapital (la)capitalcolor (el)colorcómicocomicalcomunión (la)communionconformistaconformistconservadorconservativeconstanteconstantcriminal criminalcultura (la)culturedemostración (la) demonstrationdirector (el)directordoctor (el)doctoreltheemblema (el)emblememocionanteexcitingenormeenormouserror (el)errorexactoexactexamen (el)examexcelenteexcellentfamosofamousfascinantefascinatingfavor (el)favor The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Vocabulary Module 1 Lesson 1

generosogenerousgobierno (el)governmenthumor (el)humoridea (la)ideaidioma (el)languageimportanteimportantimpresionanteimpressiveinclinación (la)inclinationindustrialindustrialinferiorinferiorinformación (la)informationinmensoimmenseinstanteinstantinteligenteintelligentinteresanteinterestinglathe (feminine)lasthe (feminine, plural)liberalliberallosthe (masculine, plural)mamá (la)mothermetal (el)metalMéxicoMexicomodernomodernmotor (el)enginemuchomuchmuseo (el)museummúsica (la)musicnación (la)nationnacionalnationalnerviosonervousnotablenotableocasionaloccasionalópera (la)operaparque (el)parkparte (la)partpasivopassivepermiso (el)permitpresente (el)presentpresidente (el)presidentprincipalmain The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Vocabulary Module 1 Lesson 1

problema (el)problemprofesor (el)professorpúblico (el)publicradio (la)radiorealistarealisticrománticoromanticrosa (la) rosesecreto (el)secret The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Cultural Notes Module 1 Lesson 1

1. The Spanish Language

There are approximately 3,000 recognized languages in use in the world today. Of these, Spanish follows Chinese, English Russian, and Hindu in the total number of people who speak it. Spanish is truly a universal language. In 1981, it was spoken by some four hundred million people and was the official language of more than twenty free, independent and sovereign nations, which make up, culturally and spiritually, a true Hispanic community of nations. Spanish is also spoken in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Guam, the Philippines, Canada and Morocco. Spanish is a member of the Romance language group and has two major dialects: Andalusian and Castilian. These dialects generally differ in pronunciation of the letter combinations ce, ze, and za. Speakers of the Andalusian dialect pronounce these combinations with an s sound, while Castilian speakers of Spanish share a common linguistic system and a common grammar.
Although inhabitants of the various provinces of Spain and the various countries have slightly differing vocabularies and pronunciation, and use different expressions, these variations do not hamper communication. Most Spanish words come from the Latin language (the language of the Roman Empire). But because so many people speak Spanish in so many places, the language quickly adopts new words and borrows words from other languages, particularly Arabic, English, and continental European languages such as French and Italian. In the Caribbean region and in Central and South America, indigenous languages have heavily influenced Spanish. An organization called: The Royal Spanish Academy of Language (La Real Academia Española) has branches in countries where Spanish is spoken and establishes norms of spelling and grammatical forms.

2. The First Spanish Grammar

Antonio de Nebrija was the first to reduce the multiplicity of oral traditions on the Castilian peninsula and standardize the Spanish language, first with a grammar and later with a dictionary. Nebrija recognized that Queen Isabella of Spain needed a national language if she was going to govern rather than rule her subjects. Antonio de Nebrija wrote the very first: Gramática de la lengua castellana (Grammar of the Castillian language) in Salamanca in 1492, at the same time that Columbus sailed to America and the Jewish people who would not convert to Catholicism were exiled from Spain.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 1


Pair activity. Word boundaries in English are very strong. You can usually hear the /s/ or the /k/ sounds at the end of a word. Word endings tend to be weak in Spanish. How weak they are depends on the dialect (variation of the language) rather than for purely phonetic reasons. However, you can usually hear the beginning sound more clearly. Listen to your instructor read some words and write the beginning sound you think you can hear.

1. _____ 10. _____ 19. _____
2. _____ 11. _____ 20. _____
3. _____ 12. _____
4. _____ 13. _____
5. _____ 14. _____
6. _____ 15. _____
7. _____ 16. _____
8. _____ 17. _____
9. _____ 18. _____

Activity 2

Social Event

Class activity. Spell each other’s names, changing partners as they complete each spelling session. Circulate around the room during this activity as if you were at a social gathering, interacting with everyone in the room. In a notepad, write the names of the people you meet. The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 3


Class activity. Listen to the poems and pay close attention to the pronunciation. Listen and repeat aloud on your own the following Spanish poem and tongue twisters. You will have an opportunity to practice what you have learned about sounds this far. Concentrate on pronunciation. The instructor may call on few volunteers to read these poems for the rest of the class.

SENSEMAYA by Nicolás Guillén (Excerpt)

SOUNDS: 'y' 'll'

Sensemayá, la culebra...
Sensemayá, no se mueve
Sensemayá, la culebra
Sensemayá, se murió.
(tongue twisters)

SOUNDS: 'rr'

1) Erre con erre cigarro
Erre con erre barril
Rápido corren los carros
Cargados de azúcar por el ferrocarril

2) Un carro cargado de rocas
Iba por la carretera haciendo
Carric, carrac, carric, carrac
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 3 (Continued)

SOUNDS: 'tr'

En tres tristes trastos de trigo,
Tres tristes tigres comían trigo,
Comían trigo,
Tres tristes tigres,
En tres tristes trastos de trigo.

Activity 4

Pronounced accent stress

Class activity. Pronounce these words after your teacher. The stressed syllable is written in bold letters.

1. ban
dera2. comida3. triste4. mapa5. camisa6. vestido7. dinero8. madera9. morena10.mochila

Activity 5

Using the dictionary

Class activity. Look up words at random that do not have a written accent mark and volunteer to read it to the class. Your instructor will give feedback as to whether the word was pronounced correctly by each student or not.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 6


Pair activity. Work with your partner to change the following words to the plural form by adding “S” to the nouns and changing the articles “The” to match the nouns in gender and number. Refer to Exercise 4 in the Grammar Notes if necessary. The instructor will call on students to give the plural version.


The camera La cámara ____________

Good Buena ____________

The sky El cielo ____________

The scorpion El alacrán ____________

Poisonous Venenoso ____________

The bear
El oso ____________

The student El estudiante ____________

The nation La nación ____________

The actor El actor ____________

The animal El animal ____________

The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 7


Class activity. Looking for similar meanings for these cognates, students will take turns going to the chalkboard to write a pair of synonyms as soon as he or she finds one. One will come from list A and the matching pair from list B.

List A List B
sección enorme
característica parte
tendencia atributo
talento inclinación
artístico habilidad
inmenso estético

Activity 8


Pair activity. Help each other to match antonyms or opposites. There are special books with antonyms and synonyms, which are of great help for vocabulary expansion. Match the adjectives in Column A with the adjectives in Column B.

Column A Column B
cómico tradicional
generoso realista
moderno pasivo/a
idealista serio
agresivo/a hipócrita
sincero envidioso
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 9

Letters that are different from English

Class activity. Repeat after your instructor the pronunciation of the following four letters in the Spanish alphabet that are different from the English alphabet. Repeat as many times as necessary, then repeat the words used as examples.

Ch Ll Ñ Rr
charro llamo niño carro chico lloro año perro

Activity 10

Letters that sound different from English

Class activity. Pronounce the following letters after your instructor and then the words used as examples.

The letters
b and v sound the same in Spanish = (a soft “b” formed with the lips barely touching). It is not necessary in Spanish to differentiate between the b and the v sounds as in English.

burro vaca aborto gendarme globo hombre jota ajuar

zorra azufre abominable

Activity 11

The alphabet

Pair activity. Fill in the missing letters of the Spanish alphabet and compare with a classmate.

Abc__def__hi__k__ __ mn__opq__ __stuv__ __y__.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 12


Pair activity. Alternate spelling the following to each other.

1. Your first and last name _________________________________________.

2. The name of your city ___________________________________________.

3. The name of your teacher ________________________________________.

4. The name of your MOS __________________________________________.

5. The name of your favorite dish ____________________________________.

Activity 13


Pair activity. Take turns spelling the following with the Spanish letters and see how quickly your classmates can recognize the words or names.

a. your favorite movie

b. your favorite restaurant

c. a popular band

d. your middle name

e. your favorite show
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Application Activities Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 14

Listening and spelling

Class activity. Listen to your instructor. He will choose several letters and he will say aloud the name of the letters. Your task is to recognize the name of the letter in Spanish by writing it in a piece of paper. At the end of the activity you will compare answers with your classmates.

Activity 15

Pair activity. Listen to the following words as your instructor reads them. You will then identify the diphthong. Compare notes with another classmate.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Skill Integration Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 1

Definite Articles: reading, writing, speaking

Pair activity. Read each of the following words aloud to your partner, taking turns with each word, and add the definite articles in writing. Then give the plural forms to your partner.


El profesor, los profesores

1. profesora
2. casa
3. canción
4. ángel
5. mes
6. voz
7. dosis
8. análisis
9. raíz
10. libro

Activity 2

Indefinite articles: reading, writing, speaking

Pair activity. Repeat activity 1, replacing the definite articles with the indefinite articles.

Activity 3

Cognate review: listening, writing, speaking, comprehension

Class activity. The whole class forms a circle. The first student gives the one to his/her right a cognate. The student on the right spells it for the next student on his/her right/ the next student writes it down and hands it to the next student. The last student on this sequence tells its meaning in English. Repeat the full circle three times.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Skill Integration Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 4

Cognates/antonyms: reading, listening, identification.

Pair activity. Taking turns with your partner, match the adjectives in the first column with their antonyms in the second column. Tell your partner the antonym of your cognate, then, have him/her give you the meaning for both words.

1. sincero a. nervioso
2. inferior b. realista
3. agresivo c. hipócrita
4. liberal d. superior
5. individualista e. conservador
6. tranquilo f. pasivo
7. idealista g. conformista

Activity 5

Cognates: reading, listening, identification

Pair activity. Take turns reading the following sentences with a partner. Alternately complete them by choosing the appropriate cognate from this list: The answers may vary.

paciente, eficiente, responsable, justo, prudente, religioso, elegante

1. Usualmente el presidente de una compañía es...
2. Una princesa es...
3. Un ministro es...
4. Una secretaria es...
5. Un maestro de niños es...
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Homework Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 1


Practice the pronunciation of the list of words below, one word at a time.

1. cruz 6. jaula 11. diente 16. fuego 26. hombre 31. hambre
2. buitre 7. niño 12. torta 17. casa 27. treinta 32. Carlos
3. barco 8. imón 13. queso 18. cinta 28. mundo 33. libro
4. perro 9. llama 14. guerra 19. loro 29. naranja 34. boca
5. pero 10.lápiz 15. soldado 20. uva 30. manzana 35. poema

Activity 2

Pronunciation recognition

Is it /r/ or /rr/? Pronounce to yourself the following list, then write the answer.

Example: ¿Is it “r”, o is it “rr”?


b) Is it /k/ or /s/? Pronounce after your instructor.

c) Is it /h/ or /g/? Pronounce after your instructor.

genioGuillermogirasolregeneraregateoindígenagustar The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Homework Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 3


Guess the English equivalent of the following Spanish cognates:

Spanish English Equivalent

Activity 4


1. Make a list of all the words you consider COGNATES in the following paragraph:

2. Write its meaning next to each word.

3 Using your knowledge of cognates and vocabulary you have acquired so far, predict in
English what the paragraph is about. When you are done, compare notes with a

El Presidente Clinton recibe una invitación del Príncipe de Gales. Clinton está muy ocupado en un a visita a Africa. Considera que la invitación es muy importante. Es necesario hablar de Diana. Ella es la princesa más popular de Inglaterra. La familia
Real es mágica por la existencia de los castillos, los reyes y los príncipes que todavía viven allí. En el futuro van a desaparecer.
The Alphabet in Context Spanish SOLT I
Homework Module 1 Lesson 1

Activity 5

Definite Articles

Pair activity. Working with a partner, change the definite articles (el,la, los, las) to the indefinite articles (un,una, unos, unas).

a. la bomba
b. los dólares
c. el famoso
d. la idea
e. el kilo
f. los limones
g. el permiso
h. la victoria
i. los zapatos
j. el examen

Activity 6

Definite Articles

Decide alternately what definite articles you would use for the following words and write them. Compare you answers with your partner. Your instructor will then give you the answers.

____ ama
____ casa
____ loco
____ cuna
____ nene
____ cultura
____ opera
____ permiso
____ tortilla
____ automóvil