Digraph . Groups of two letters that represent a single sound . The graphic representation system of Spanish has five digraphs, two of them (ch and ll) for a time were conventionally considered letters of the alphabet, but in the latest edition of the Ortografía de la lengua española (2010) they are definitively excluded from the alphabet , since, in reality, they are not letters, but digraphs. The Spanish alphabet is thus reduced to 27 letters to represent 24 phonemes .


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  • 1 Spanish digraphs
    • 1 Digits ch and ll
    • 2 rr digraph
  • 2 Sources

Spanish digraphs

The graphical representation system of Spanish has five digraphs:

  • Ch: represents the deaf palatal affricate phoneme ;
  • ll: represents the lateral palatal phoneme;
  • rr: represents the multiple vibrating phoneme;
  • qu: represents before the vowels e, i the deaf velar phoneme;
  • gu: represents before e, i the sound velar phoneme.

Digraphs ch and ll

Since the fourth edition of the Academic Dictionary, digraphs ch and ll were conventionally considered letters : fourth and fourteenth, respectively, of the Spanish alphabet , due to the fact that each of them represents a single phoneme. The recovery of the universal Latin alphabetical order, which the RAE had altered for Hispanic use in 1803, by granting these digraphs the character of unitary and independent letters, moved precisely by their phonological vocation in the interpretation of the written language, required two congresses of Academies and very long discussions for your approval.

As they are combinations of two letters, the words that begin with these digits or that contain them are not alphabetized separately, but in the places that correspond to them within the c and the l, respectively. The decision to adopt the universal Latin alphabetical order was taken at the X Congress of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, held in 1994 , and has been applied since then in all academic works.

The elimination of digraphs ch and ll from the inventory of letters of the alphabet does not imply, in any way, that they disappear from the graphic system of Spanish. These double signs will continue to be used as before in the writing of Spanish words. The novelty consists simply in that they are no longer counted among the letters of the alphabet.

Spanish is thus similar to the rest of the alphabetic writing languages, in which only simple signs are considered letters of the alphabet, but in all of them there are combinations of graphemes to represent some of their phonemes.

Digraph rr

The digraph rr, unlike ch and ll, has never been considered one of the letters of the alphabet, because the sound it represents is the same as that corresponding to r in the initial position of the word or preceded by the letters. consonants n, I know.


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