The Spanish “Ñ” is a separate letter of the Spanish alphabet in its own right and is pronounced similarly to the English “NY” sound in words such as “canyon” or the English “NI” sound in words such as “onion.” The sound of the “Ñ” should not be confused with the sound of the regular Spanish “N”, which is quite different and was explained in the previous lesson.
The “Ñ” is pronounced with the tongue pressed against the ridge between the top teeth and the roof of the mouth and you use the middle-front of the tongue rather than the tip of the tongue to produce a more nasal sound.
I will now give you some examples of Spanish words featuring the “Ñ” and I would like you to repeat each word after me paying attention to the distinct “Ñ” sound. If you would like to see the meaning of any words you are unsure of please see the lesson notes.
Listen and repeat:
Engañar: to mislead, to deceive
Antaño: yesteryear, days gone by
Cuñado: brother in law
Ordeñar: to milk
Teñir: to dye
Señora: woman, lady
Madrileño: someone from Madrid
Soñar: to dream