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There are 26 letters in the Italian alphabet: 16 consonants, 5 consonants to write foreign words, and 5 vowels.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
|A||a as in father||
|B||bì as in been||
|C||cì as in cheers||
Cane, Cena (Dog, Dinner)
|D||dì as in deep||
|E||e as in better||
|F||effe as in effective||
|G||gi as in giant||
Gatta, Giorno (Female cat, Day)
|H||acca, always mute||Hotel|
|I||i as in beer||
|J||gei as in Jay||Jeans|
|L||elle as in Ellen||Luna (Moon)|
|M||emme as in lemme||Mamma (Mom)|
|O||o as in odd||Orologio (Clock)|
|P||pì as in piece||Porta (Door)|
|Q||qu as in quality||Quaderno (Notebook)|
|T||tì as in t-shirt||Tavolo (Table)|
|U||u as in good||Uva (Grape)|
|V||vì as in Venus||Volare (Fly)|
Let's go through some Italian consonants that share similar features with English consonants.
|B as in Butter||Bambola||Doll|
|D as in Dad||Domanda||Question|
|F as in Fun||Fiore||Flower|
|L as in Love||Lento||Slow|
|M as in Mum||Matita||Pencil|
|N as in Number||Natura||Nature|
|P as in Power||Palla||Ball|
|Q as in Quantity||Quando||When|
|S as in Same||Stivale||Boot|
|T as in Time||Tesoro||Treasure|
|V as in Very||Vittoria||Victory|
Let's now outline some differences between Italian and English consonants.
The pronunciation of C and G depends on the letter that follow.
|C/G + e, i : sweet sound||Cena (Dinner), Gita (Trip)|
|C/G + a, o, u: hard sound||Casa (House), Golfo (Gulf)|
|C/G + H + e, i: hard sound||Chiedere (Ask); Ghepardo (Cheetah)|
The H in Italian is always mute. However, it produces a hard sound if it's after C or G and followed by certain vowels.
|Ricchi (rich, plural)||Ricci (Curls/Curly, plural)|
|Cechi (blind, plural)||Ceci (chickpeas)|
The Italian R has a slightly different sound than in English and it's called the "Rolling R".
It's pronounced by flipping your tongue just behind the upper front row of your teeth.
Z is pronounced either dz or ts, depending on the word.
Listen to the following examples.
|Z as ts||Z as dz|
|Pazzo (Crazy)||Zio (Uncle)|
|Grazie (Thank you)||Mezzo (Means/Half)|
Here's a list of the 6 Italian vowels.
A good rule of thumb: all Italian words usually end with a vowel.
The Italian language also includes a set of accented vowels:
Mangeró (I will eat)
Ragú (Italian meat sauce)
Unlike English or French, all the letters in an Italian word are generally pronounced and it's relatively easy to instantly know the pronunciation of any new word.
Keep in mind that pronunciation might vary from Italian region to Italian region.
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