Why are words pronounced differently in Spanish?

In-depth knowledge: the pronunciation of certain combinations of letters in Spanish

Now that you know a lot about the pronunciation of vowels and consonants in Spanish, this chapter is about learning about certain combinations of letters. Some combinations are pronounced differently than in German.

Pronunciation of the letter combination CH

The letter combination “ch” is spoken differently in Spanish than in German: Here it sounds like a “tsch” sound.
Examples:
ocho [otʃo] - dt. eight / mucho [mutʃo] - dt. much (adv.)

Pronunciation of the letter combinations GU and GÜ

  • In the combinations “gue” and “gui” the U remains silent and the syllables are spoken as [ge] and [gi].
    Examples:
    la hamburguesa ['amburgesa] - dt. the hamburger / alguien [algjen] - dt. someone
  • If the U should be pronounced, then it gets two points. These two points are called trema. Please do not confuse this letter with the German Ü!
    Examples:
    la lingüística [linguistika] - the science of linguistics / Parque Güell * [park gʊeʎ] - a famous park in Barcelona (* In this case it is a Catalan name, here the ll is pronounced like l)

Pronunciation of the letter combination LL

The double L is spoken in Spanish like an “lj” sound [ʎ] - comparable to the pronunciation of the German word “million”.
Examples:
la silla [siʎa] - dt. the chair / ella [eʎa] - dt. she (Pers. pron. Sg.)

Pronunciation of the letter combination QU

The Qu is pronounced like a German K.
Examples:
pequeño [pekeɲo] - German small / aquí [aki] - German here

In the next chapter we look at how words are stressed in Spanish.