Italian alphabet with pronunciation
⋙ Italian A1
Welcome to our Italian grammar course for beginners! Today we will talk about the alphabet.
Alphabet is the building block of all languages. Learning the Italian alphabet is the starting point for improving language skills. Knowing the alphabet allows you to write words correctly and read Italian texts, including symbols, letters and text.
The Italian alphabet is derived from the Latin. It consists of 21 letters: 16 consonants (b, c, d, f, g, h, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, z) and 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u). Some foreign consonants (J, K, W, X, Y) are not in the official alphabet. They are sometimes used in words borrowed from other languages.
Before you can read Italian, you need to be able to pronounce vowels and consonants.Italian is a phonetic language, so its pronunciation is almost the same as its spelling.
The vowels are pronounced as follows:
A (a) - [ah] sounds like "ah" (father)
E (e) - [eh] sounds like "eh" (bed);
I (i) - [ee] sounds like "ee" (bee);
O (o) - [oh] sounds like "oh" (stop);
U (u) - [oo] sounds like "oo" (moon).
The consonants are pronounced as follows:
B (bi) - sounds like "b" in English;
C (ci) - sounds like soft "ch" in "cheese" (before e, i, or y), or like "k" in "cat" (before a, o, u);
D (di) - sounds like "d" in English;
F (effe) - sounds like "f" in English;
G (gi) - sounds like "jee" in "jeep" (before e, i, or y), or like "g" in "go" (before a, o, u);
H (acca) - silent, not pronounced;
L (elle) - sounds like "l" in English;
M (emme) - sounds like "m" in English;
N (enne) - sounds like "n" in English;
P (pi) - sounds like "p" in English;
Q (cu) - sounds like "koo" in "cool" (it`s always followed by "u");
R (erre) - sounds like "r" in English or trilled "r" at the end of words;
S (esse) - sounds like "s" or "z" (between two vowels) in English;
T (ti) - sounds like "t" in English;
V (vi/vu) - sounds like "v" in English;
Z (zeta) - sounds like "ts" or "dz" (at the beginning of a word).
The foreign consonants are pronounced as follows:
J - sounds like "j" in English;
K - sounds like "k" in English;
W - sounds like "w" in English;
X - sounds like "x" in English;
Y - sounds like "y" in English.
The Italian language has several specific letter pairs that create unique sounds that are worth noting. Here are some common ones.
C + H (ch) - sounds like "k".
Examples: "che" [ke] (what), "chiesa" [kjeza] (church);
C + I/E/Y (ci/ce/cy) - sounds like "ch".
Examples: ciliegia [chilijedja] (cherry);
C + A/O/U (ca/co/cu) - sounds like "k".
Examples: poco [poko] (little);
G + H (gh) - sounds like "g".
Examples: "ghetto" [getto] (ghetto);
G + L (gl) - sounds like "ʎ" or soft "l" (double "l" + "i" in "million").
Examples: "figlio" [fiʎo] (son), "famiglia" [famiʎa] (family);
G + N (gn) - sounds like "ɲ" or soft "n" ("canyon").
Example: "gnocchi" [ɲokki] (potato balls);
S + C + E/I (sci, sce) - sounds like [ʃ] or "sh" ("push").
Examples: sciarpa [ʃarpa] (scarf), sceda [ʃeda] (go down);
S + C + H (sch) - sounds like [sk].
Examples: pesche [peske] (peaches), schiacciare [skjachare] (squash);
I + E (ie) - sounds like [je] or [ije].
Examples: "pieno" [pijeno] (full);
I + A (ia) - sounds like [ja] or [ija].
Example: "piazza" [pijatsa] (square);
I + O (io) - sounds like [jo] or [ijo].
Example: "iodio" [ijodijo] (iodine).
These combinations are just a few examples. There may be other combinations that you encounter as you study the Italian language. It`s important to listen to native Italian speakers to develop a natural feel for these sounds. Immersing yourself in Italian through listening, speaking and reading will help you become familiar with these specific sounds and their correct pronunciation.