Grammar Guide
Pronunciation and Spelling
SPA, IPA, and ABC Pronunciation

SPA, IPA, and ABC Pronunciation

Quick Answer
  • SPA is the SpanishDict Phonetic Alphabet, our simplified phonetic alphabet.
  • IPA is the International Phonetic Alphabet, a phonetic alphabet that contains the sounds of every language in the world.
  • ABC uses everyday spelling and includes syllable breaks and stress.

For example:



Before we get into the details of each of these three phonetic alphabets, here are a few characteristics they share:

  • All three alphabets use a dash (-) to separate syllables and bold the syllable in each word that is most stressed (e.g. calabaza becomes ca-la-ba-za).
  • SPA and IPA show pronunciations for Latin America and Spain for Spanish words, and the United States and the United Kingdom for English words.

Read on to find out more about each alphabet!

The SpanishDict Phonetic Alphabet (SPA)

SPA is a simplified phonetic alphabet that uses the letters found in everyday Spanish and English to represent all the sounds in both languages! For example:

SPA for Learners of Spanish

Spanish WordSPA
cerezaseh-reh-sah (Latin America)
cerezatheh-reh-thah (Spain)

SPA for Learners of English

English WordSPA
daughterda-dehr (United States)
daughterdaw-tuh (United Kingdom)

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

The IPA is a phonetic alphabet used around the world to show how words are pronounced. SpanishDict uses a subset of the IPA to represent the sounds of the Spanish spoken in Latin America and Spain and the English spoken in the United States and the United Kingdom. For example:

IPA Symbols for Spanish Words

Spanish WordIPA
cerezase-ɾe-sa (Latin America)
cerezaθe-ɾe-θa (Spain)

IPA Symbols for English Words

English WordIPA
daughter-ɾəɹ (United States)
daughter-tə (United Kingdom)


ABC uses everyday spelling and also shows syllable breaks and the most-stressed syllable in each word.

ABC for Spanish Words

Spanish WordABC

ABC for English Words

English WordABC
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