Clarín- Argentina

After the election of the new Pope, I’ve often heard on radio and TV some incorrect pronunciations of his name, Jorge. I would like to help you here and make clear some phonetics aspects of Spanish language.

The Spanish alphabet is much more similar to  Italian alphabet than English alphabet, though there are some sounds that are written in different ways in the two languages or some sounds that exist only in Italian , but not in Spanish and vice versa.

Spanish alphabet

A                   (a)

B                   (be )

 C                   (ce)

 Ch                 (che)

 D                   (de)

E                   (e)

F                    (efe)

G                   (ge)

H                   (hache)

I                     (i)

J                    (jota)

K                   (ka)

L                    (ele)

Ll                   (elle)

M                   (eme)

N                   (ene)

Ñ                   (eñe)

O                   (o)

P                   (pe)

Q                   (cu)

Rr/rr              (ere/erre)

S                   (ese)

T                    (te)

U                   (u)

V                   (uve)

W                  (uve doble)

X                   (ekis)

Y                   (i griega)

Z                    (zeta)

The name Jorge” contains a sound that exists neither in English nor in Italian.Most of the time, the g sound in Spanish is pronounced much like the “g” in “dog” or “figure,” except perhaps a little bit softer, especially when it comes between vowels.

However, when g comes before the letters e or i, the sound is the same as that of the Spanish j.


The j sound is what is known as a voiceless velar fricative /x/, which means that it is formed by forcing air through the slightly constricted back part of the mouth. But, let’s avoid further too specific explanations here, and please remember that: the letter before all vowels as well as the letter g , followed by -e or -i  only (es. “gente”, “gitano”) are pronounced  like the phoneme /x/.

As you can see, in our example, the name “Jorge” shows both cases where “J” and “g” are pronounced  /x/.

Please  refer to the site Pronny (http://www.rightpronunciation.com/),  which I had already mentioned in another post, to listen to the correct pronunciation of this name and check other doubts.

From now on, you will not make a mistake in pronouncing the names of  famous writers too, like Jorge Luis BorgesJorge Amado, as well as other common Spanish names like JoséJavier, Juan.

And do not hesitate to ask me if you have some doubts about Italian pronunciation, words or grammar.