11 Spanish Names Pronounced Wrong – Examples & How to Correct Yourself


In this article I will speak about 11 Spanish names pronounced wrong. You might think you’re pronouncing them correctly, but maybe you have actually been mispronouncing them…

Disclaimer: To make sure you fully understand the pronunciation, don’t forget to watch the video!

1. José

Let’s start with el primer nombre (the first name) and a very popular one: José

Something that is truly amazing about Spanish is that you will pronounce it exactly as it sounds: HO – SÉ. In other words, it does not have a JOUSE or Yose sound and make sure you use the O and J correctly!

Many Hispanic names have José as a first name and may be accompanied by a middle name, such as Francisco, Antonio, Miguel, and many others!

Exception: María José is actually a girl’s name.

2. Valentina

It could be confusing as it looks like Valentine’s Day… I know!

3. Jesús

Yeah, it is not Chee-ses! We pronounce this word as HEH – SUS, and because it has an accent mark, we accentuate the second syllable.

By the way: do you want to surprise tu amigo Jesús? Then, call him Chucho next time! This is the nickname we use for every single person whose parents thought naming him Jesús was a good idea, but his friends will never use it 😅

Similarly, we have set nicknames for different hispanic names, such as:

  • Francisco – Paco
  • José- Pepe
  • Antonio – Toño
  • María Fernanda – Mafer —But please, do not call me like this! I don’t like it! I prefer Marifer!

4. Gabriel or Gabriela

GA – BREE – EH – LAH… make sure to use the vowels properly! Just like Mariana said in her video about Spanish vowels, letters I and E have their own sound.

5. Sebastián

Even the popular crab Sebastien uses this name! The truth is that we pronounce it completely different in Spanish: SEH – BAHS – TEE – AHN.

So, make sure you don’t loose yourself under the sea when pronouncing this name!

6. Daniel or Daniela

There is actually an English name for it: Danielle or Daniel; however, the pronunciation in Spanish would be DAH – NEE – EHL and DAH – NEE – EH – LAH.

7. Nicolás

We are not talking about Nicholas Cage!

This Nick has an accent mark on the last syllable; therefore, the Spanish pronunciation should be NEE – KOH- LAHS.

8. Victoria

…and not necessarily Victoria Beckham or Queen Victoria!

Fun fact: there is also a famous Mexican dark beer called Victoria (it is also mi favorita / my favorite). So, don’t forget to tomar una victoria por mí (have a Victoria for me).

9. Alejandro

This name actually became really famous thanks to Lady Gaga… and her pronunciation wasn’t that bad at all! But AH-LE-HAN-DROH is how you would say it and the female name would be Alejandra.

10. Juan

Let’s be honest: you know at least one Juan in your life or you know someone who knows a Juan.

This is such a typical Spanish name that it could be confusing because of the J sound in English.

However, the right pronunciation is HUH – AHN and there are also names using Juan as a diminutive: Juanito (for men) and Juanita (for women). 

11. María Fernanda

Yes, that’s me! And you have no idea how many of my friends struggle to say it! Therefore, here is the bonus name for today:

María, as you may know, comes from the Virgin Mary and Fernanda… I have no idea! Probably another Saint, but the correct pronunciation is MAH – RHEE – AH and FEHR – NAHN – DAH… not “Mery”, not “Meria” and definitely not “Feurnendea”.

So, next time somebody says: Wow! Who is teaching you Spanish? Then, make sure to reply: Mi profesora es María Fernanda (My teacher is María Fernanda).

Summary of Spanish names pronounced wrong

So guys, do you know any other Hispanic names that you find hard to pronounce? Then, let me know in the comments below so I can give you some extra hints on how to pronounce them better.

First, you might want to ask your friend how to pronounce their name —they might think it is nice of you! To ask them this, you may say: ¿Cómo se pronuncia tu nombre? (How do you pronounce your name?)

Make sure to use this other chunk to ask for their name: ¿Cómo te llamas? (What is your name?)

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