Learn the Italian Alphabet

The Italian alphabet has 16 consonants and 5 vowels. You can learn the Italian alphabet by using the video below. Enjoy!

As you’ve probably noticed, there are only 21 letters in the Italian alphabet. That’s a few letters short of what’s in the English alphabet. What are the missing letters?

The missing letters are J, K, W, X, Y. While these letters are not formally part of the Italian alphabet, it’s good to know them because they’re oftentimes used to pronounce loan words, for example, in your name or address, which, presumably, aren’t Italian.

The 5 Italian vowels look the same as they do in English, but they sound quite different. Here are the main differences.

  • The “a”–sounds like “ah,” as in “bought”
  • The “e”–sounds like it does in the English word “get”
  • The “i”–pronounced like “ee.” Easy to remember–just think “Pizza.”
  • The “o”–pronounced like “oh,” as in “Oh, you scared me.”
  • The “u”–only makes the “oo” sound as it does in the word “food.” It never makes the sound as it does in the word “under.” Also never makes the sound as it does in the word “universe.”

Many Italian consonants are pronounced the same an in English, with a few exceptions.

  • The “h”–silent when at the beginning of words.
  • The “R”–rolled
  • The “c”–when before an “i” or an “e” pronounced like the English “ch” as in chicken.
    • In front of any other letter, sounds like a “k” as in cat.
  • The “g”–when before an “i” or an “e” sounds like the “g” in Georgia (sounds like a “j”).
    • In front of any other letters, sounds like the “g” in “go.”
    • “gn” sounds like “li” in the word “billion.” Think “lasagna.”
    • “gl” sounds sounds like the “li” in the word “million.”
  • the “s”–usually pronounced the same as in English…
    • but if between two vowels and it makes a “z” sound, like “close the door.”

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