Spelling Words in Spanish with CH — Master the Sound and Spelling!
La chica china charla con el chef por la chiminea.
Whew, what a mouthful! Was that hard for you to read out loud? In English, it’s commonplace for words to make use of the letter combination “ch,” like chicken, cheese, and matches, but what about in Spanish? Does the “ch” spelling exist in Spanish words? Is the pronunciation the same? If you’re ready to learn more about (and practice, of course!) “ch” spelling words in Spanish, you’ve hit the jackpot. We will answer all of your questions about “ch” spelling words in Spanish and provide you with more than 50 examples!
CH is a Digraph
The English language includes several digraphs, or two letters that together form one sound. Some common examples are “th,” “sh,” and, of course, “ch.” As a native English speaker, these digraphs are second nature to you. Now that you are learning a second language, especially one that has so much in common with English, it’s easy to assume that these digraphs also exist in Spanish. However, most of the digraphs in English do NOT exist in Spanish. Only three (ch, gu, and qu) are shared between the two languages.
Since the “ch” digraph is used in both Engish and Spanish spelling, it must have the same pronunciation, right? Almost. Most of the English words that include a “ch” have a hard sound: cheese, cheek, kitchen. However, some “ch” words have a soft “sh” sound: chef, machine, chalet.
So, what sound does the Spanish spelling of “ch” have?
It is only the hard “ch” sound!
Look at the word “chef,” which is the same spelling in both languages.
English: / shef /
Spanish: / chef /
As you can see, the Spanish spelling of “ch” is always a hard “ch” sound, even for words you may be used to pronouncing with a softer “sh” sound.
Now, we already classified “ch” as a digraph and not as a letter in the Spanish alphabet. If you took Spanish classes a couple of years ago, you were probably taught that the “ch,” along with the “ll,” are separate letters in the Spanish alphabet. Maybe you even took classes recently where you learned that “ch” is a letter itself! However, in 2010, the Real Academia Española officially removed these pairings of consonants from the Spanish alphabet, classifying them as digraphs, or dígrafos. (You can think of digraphs as diphthongs for consonants!) Therefore, while many Spanish alphabet activities may still include the “ch” as a separate letter, note that is not a letter, but a digraph.
Spelling Words in Spanish with CH
Enough about digraphs! Let’s start spelling in Spanish! Below you will find a few charts with “ch” words organized by their length. To get the most out of these Spanish spelling lists, practice spelling them out loud using the Spanish letters. To refresh your memory, check out how to say “c” and “h” in Spanish:
C: / say /
H: / ah-chay /
¡Vamos a practicar!
Words that Start with CH
|Chafa||cha-fah||Cheap / knock-off|
|Chapa||cha-pah||Sheet / panel|
|Chile||chee-lay||Chili / spicy pepper|
|Chulo||choo-loh||Cool / cute|
|Charla||chahr-lah||Chat / talk|
|Chorro||chohr-roh||Stream / faucet|
|Chupar||choo-pahr||To suck / to lick|
|Churro||choor-roh||Sweet dessert food|
|Chillar||chee-yahr||To cry / to scream|
|Chamarra||chah-mahr-rah||Blanket / coat|
|Chapotear||chah-poh-tay-ahr||To splash around|
Words with CH in the Middle
|Mucho||moo-choh||A lot / many|
|Marcha||mahr-chah||March / progress|
How to Practice with Spanish Spelling Lists
Now that you have these Spanish spelling lists, what can you do with them? Whether you are a parent, teacher, or student, you can use these lists in several different ways:
- Practice with a Partner – Pick a friend (or your student or child) and quiz each other on these “ch” words. You can start off with spelling the words using the letters in English, and then when you feel confident enough, try using the letters in Spanish. Make sure your partner is following along and checking your spelling.
- Test Yourself – A lot of the above words are everyday objects (mochila, ducha, chicle, lechuga, champú). When you see these objects, even in the middle of your daily routine, take a couple of seconds to spell out the words in Spanish. You can start by labeling them and just practicing saying the letters in Spanish, and then as you progress you can take the labels off and spell them from memory.
- Spelling Bee – Of course, there’s the spelling bee! If you are a teacher or parent, you can organize a mock spelling bee with all your students or children (and friends). If you are a student yourself, you can create a spelling quiz and test yourself, or have a friend pick words at random and see if you can spell them.
Another option to keep practicing these words is to review them with one of our professional Spanish teachers! They are all native Spanish speakers, and they will help you pronounce each of the letters perfectly in Spanish. Try a free class today and see for yourself how they can help take your Spanish skills to the next level. In the meantime, keep practicing your spelling lists any chance you get. ¡Practica la ortografía en español!
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