Catalan consonants

In this post we will see briefly how to pronounce the catalan consonants; we well have a look especially at the sounds that are different from the ones we are used to in the English language.

Consonants b, v, w

These three letters represent the same sound:

Examples of b: blau (blue), pobre (poor)

Examples of v: canvi (change), invent (invent, in this case the n is pronounced m)

Examples of w: watt (watt), waterpolo (water polo)

If the letter b is the last letter of a word you don’t have to pronounce it:

Example: amb (with)

Sometimes the b can sound like a p.

Examples: club (club), dissabte (saturday)

The unvoiced s and the voiced s (s, ss, c, ç, z)

S, ss, c (followed by e, i), ç (followed by a, o, u), z represent the sound s, that can be an unvoiced s (like the s in the english word rose) or a voiced s (like the s in the english word listen)

The unvoiced s can be written with one s, with ss between two vocals, with c or with ç.
The voiced s can be written with one s between two vocals or with a z.

Examples of unvoiced s: caça (hunt), rossa (blonde), savis (savy, sages), cel (sky), cim (top, peak), peça (piece), sol (sun), tassa (mug), cera (wax), cirera (cherry), feliç (happy), maça (bat, mace)

Examples of voiced s: casa (house, home), rosa (rose), avis (grandfathers), bellesa (beauty), zona (zone)

Consonant x

The consonant x can represent three different sounds.
The first one is similar to the english sh, the second one is the same of the sound of the x in english, and the third one, utilized when a word starts with ex followed by a vocal, is less strong, similar to the sound of the word “eggs”.

Examples of the sound sc: xinès (chinese), Xavier (Xavier)

Example of the sound x: taxi (taxi)

Exaples of the sound “eggs”: examen (exam), exèrcit (army)

Consonants g, j

The consonants g (followed by an e or and i) and j represents the same phoneme, a sound half way between the sound of the j in the english word “jet” and the sound of the french j (like in the world bonjour).

Before an e, i you have to utilize the g, before and a, o or an u you have to utilize the j.

Examples of g: gerani (geranium), girafa (giraffe)

Examples of j: esponja (sponge), jove (young), ajudar (help), Jordi (George)

Consonant n

The catalan n has the same sound of an english n, but in some cases it can have the sound of an m, for instance when it’s followed by an f.

Example: confessar (confesar, pronounced cumfesa)

Consonant r

It’s a rolling r, it has the same sound of the r in the italian and spanish languages, but if it’s the last letter of a word you don’t have to pronounce it.

Exaple: clar (clear)

Consonant t

It has the same sound of the english t, but if it’s the same letter of a word and it follows another consonant you don’t have to pronounce it.

Example: cant (singing)

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