Introduction to Italian/Lesson 2
The Italian Alphabet[edit | edit source]
The Italian alphabet is very similar to the English alphabet:
|A, a||a||/a/||N, n||enne||/n/|
|B, b||bi||/b/||O, o||o||/o/ or /ɔ/|
|C, c||ci||/k/ or /tʃ/||P, p||pi||/p/|
|D, d||di||/d/||Q, q||cu||/k/|
|E, e||e||/e/ or /ɛ/||R, r||erre||/r/|
|F, f||effe||/f/||S, s||esse||/s/ or /z/|
|G, g||gi||/g/ or /dʒ/||T, t||ti||/t/|
|H, h||acca||(silent)||U, u||u||/u/ or /w/|
|I, i||i||/i/ or /j/||V, v||vi, vu||/v/|
|L, l||elle||/l/||Z, z||zeta||/dz/ or /ts/|
Notice that it lacks the letters j, k, w, x, and y. These are "foreign letters" used only in loanwords.
|J, j||i lunga, gèi||/dʒ/||X, x||ics||/ks/|
|K, k||cappa||/k/||Y, y||ipsilon, i greca||/y/|
|W, w||doppia vi, doppia vu, vi doppia, vu doppia[N 1]||/v/|
It is important to notice that letters are all feminine nouns.
Vowel pronunciations[edit | edit source]
Each vowel has basically one pronunciation. They are as follows:
a - pronounced roughly like the a in father or class, like the sound a dentist might have you make when you open your mouth wide. It is usually pronounced in a relaxed way, but hardens when an accent mark is added (à).
e - pronounced like the e in pest or Edward. When it has an accent (è) it is pronounced like the a in plate or the ei in eight.
i - pronounced like the ee in feed or the ea in peak.
o - pronounced like the oa in boat or the oe in toe.
u - pronounced like the o in to or who.
Note on accented vowels[edit | edit source]
In some languages accented letters are counted as their own letters (for instance, in Swedish the letter ä is considered different from the letter a). In Italian, à and è are just variations on a and e. So in a dictionary, the words ‘‘e’’ and ‘‘ è’’ will appear immediately after one another.
Consonant pronunciations[edit | edit source]
Most Italian consonants are pronounced the same as they are in English:
|b||Same as b in bat.|
|ca, co, cu||Same as c in cat, cot, cut|
|ce, ci||Same as ch in chair, cheese|
|che, chi||Same as k in kay, key|
|d||Same as d in dog|
|f||Same as f in fake|
|ga, go||Same as g in gab, gob|
|ge, gi||Same as g in gem|
|gh||Same as gh in Pittsburgh|
|gla, gle, glo, glu||Same as gl in ugly|
|gli||Same as ll in billion|
|gn||Same as ny in Bunyan|
|gu||Same as gu in anguish|
|h||Same as h in honest|
|l||Same as l in lake|
|m||Same as m in mom|
|n||Same as n in not|
|p||Same as p in post|
|qu||Same as qu in queen|
|r||Same as r in race, but rolled (your tongue should vibrate up and down when you pronounce it)|
|s||Same as s in sorry; sometimes as z as in zoo|
|t||Same as t in time|
|v||Same as v in violin|
|z||Same as z in zoo, but often as dz or tz (think pizza)|
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Notice that all the Italian names for "W" mean "double V", instead of the English "double U".