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How to pronounce the letter P in Spanish?

The letter P is one of the easiest letters to pronounce in Spanish. It’s always pronounced the same way: [p], which is different from the P in pin or pool.

Babies learn how to pronounce this sound very early, when parents tell them: “Di papá. Paaapá”.

Still, quite many people pronounce it as they’d normally do in English. Sometimes they guess right.

Sometimes they don’t.

If you pronounce the letter P following the English pronunciation rules, everyone will understand most of the time, they’ll immediately know you’re a guiri though and sometimes it may cause some misunderstandings since the sound [p] in Spanish may be similar to the sound [b] in English.

Fortunately, the pronunciation of Spanish P is quite simple for English speakers and pronouncing it correctly will reduce your foreigner accent a lot.

For example, in English you’d say differently the letter P in pin and the letter P in spin, while in Spanish, you should pronounce both of them the same way.

Pronunciation of Spanish P [p] 

Examples

Tips to pronounce the letter P in Spanish

piedra, pino, poder, pronunciación, pimienta, pepino.
áspero, espárrago, aplicar, apetece, aparcar, espera.

Pepe, ¿me pasas la pimienta?
¿Puedes venir, por favor?
Me apetecen pepinillos.

The Spanish P sounds always the same way.

It doesn’t have the puff of air which characterizes the English P, like in the word pinguin.

It sounds like the letter P in Spanish, spoon or spring.

Common misunderstandings with the letter P

When a Spaniard speaks in Spanish and say a word which starts with the letter P (peso, polo, pisado, pino), English natives might think we are saying a word which starts with the sound [b] and the other way around.

As you know, this occurs because the Spanish P sounds closer to English B.
(See how to pronounce the letter B in Spanish).

A Spaniard sais/understands… An English native understands/sais…
Peso Beso
Polo Bolo
Pisado Visado
Pino Vino
A Spaniard sais/understands… An English native understands/sais…
Pill Bill
Pet Bet
Pen Ben
Pitch Bitch

 

Other letters -which are aspirated in English but not in Spanish- that might cause misunderstandings in each other’s language:

See how to pronounce other consonants in Spanish.

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