Why It Is Important to Know the Alphabet and Its Pronunciation in Italian
Knowing the alphabet is essential for many reasons. First of all, the alphabet is used…to create words. If you don’t know the alphabet and its pronunciation, it will be impossible for you to write, read and speak correctly! Italian alphabet is not so different from the Enchli one, but pronunciation is. Actually, if you don’t know how to pronounce Italian letters properly, it will be really difficult to communicate in Italian; which is why it is essential that you learn the italian pronunciation and its main rules.
You need to learn the Italian alphabet and its pronunciation also to do the spelling. Indeed, even if some Italian words look similar to English in their written form, their pronunciation can be very different in the two languages. So, if you need an Italian to spell a word for you, you need to be able to understand which letters he or she is pronouncing. And vice versa, if you have to spell for a native-Italian speaker, you need to know each letter and its corresponding sound. So, learning the proper pronunciation of each letter of the Italian alphabet is essential to read correctly, understand Italian speakers and be understood by them when speaking.
How Many Letters There Are in the Italian Alphabet
The Italian alphabet only has 21 letters: 16 consonants and 5 vowels. Indeed, it doesn’t have 5 letters we use in English: k, j, w, x, y.
These letters have anyway entered the Italian language and are now used in words that directly come from English or other languages using them. For example we can find them in words like “yogurt”, “kiwi”, “xilofono”, weekend”, “joystick”, etc.
The Italian consonants are: B – C – D – F – G – H – L – M – N – P – Q – R – S – T – V – Z
The 5 italian vowels are: A – E – I – O – U
You should learn the italian vowels and their pronunciation really well because they will make a big difference in your accent!
What Is the Italian Phonetic Alphabet?
Here is the Italian phonetic alphabet (IPA) with a couple of examples. As you can see, the phonetic alphabet is longer: this is because some letters can be pronounced in different ways. Take a look at the following chart:
|zanzara; zaino; mezzo
|gelato; giungla; magia; jeans
|gatto; glifo; ghetto; lingua
|ieri; scoiattolo; più; yacht
|cane; scritto; anche; quei; kaiser
|lato; lieve; pala
|gli; glielo; maglia
|mano; amare; campo
|nome; donare; punto
|fango; unghia; anca; dunque
|prima; ampio; coperto
|Roma; morte; quattro
|sano; scatola; presentire; pasto
|scena; sciame; pesci
|tranne; mito; alto
|zozzo; azione; marzo
|cena; ciao; farmacia
|vado; povero; watt
|uovo; fuoco; qui; week-end
|sbavare; causa; presentare; asma
What Is the Pronunciation of the Italian Alphabet?
Let’s see how italian letters are pronounced. In the following chart you’ll see: letter, phonetic transcription, English pronunciation, example, translation of the example.
|Translation of the example
|/e/ or /ɛ/
|son, to do
|/ɡ/ or /dʒ/
|/i/ or /j/
|mum, to send
|/o/ or /ɔ/
|/r/ or /ɹ/
|/u/ or /w/
|vi [ˈvi], vu [ˈvu]
Where to Find Audio Tracks and Videos to Listen to Italian Pronunciation?
If you wish to improve your Italian accent and your word pronunciation, two main options open up to you: listening to Italian podcasts and audiobooks or watching Italian videos, TV series and movies. Listening is a great exercise to improve your pronunciation. Listening to the radio and to podcasts such as LearnItalianPod will help you improve your listening comprehension and to get used to the proper Italian pronunciation. On Radio Rai you can find many interesting programs, podcasts and audiobooks. If you are a beginner, we recommend you to listen to Rai Gulp or Rai Yoyo, two TV channels dedicated to children. A great way to practice is listening to audiobooks. You can download them on LibriVox, to listen to them to get used to the proper Italian pronunciation. Try to repeat the words that you find more difficult. On Radio Rai you can find many novels by great authors such as Hemingway, Carrol, Moravia, Cechov, Tolstoj, Pirandello, and many more. Well, there are many ways. On YouTube you can find tons of videos: you can find classes for foreigners with many exercises, like “shadowing exercises”, guided exercises, exercises with phonetic symbols, and so on.You can also watch some short videos such as documentaries, TV series, the news, and so on. When watching videos in Italian, start by putting English subtitles. then switch them to Italian when you feel confident enough and finally switch them off. Listen to Italian speakers, try to understand what they say and to repeat the new words. Write lists of vocabulary and use them in your next conversation with your native friends!
How to Memorize the Italian Alphabet: Some Useful Tips
Memorizing the alphabet and how to pronounce each letter is essential when learning a new language. If you want to learn the Italian alphabet, here are a few tips to help you do it fast.
Memorize it in the correct order. Just like in English, in Italian the alphabet follows an order: it goes from A to Z. To memorize it easily, learn it in the correct order from the beginning.
Link each letter with a sample word. Remembering the letters of the Italian alphabet will be easier if you link each letter with a sample word. It goes like this: “A come Albero”, “B come Bambino”, “C come cane”, and so on.
Listen to the proper pronunciation. Look for videos where an Italian speaker repeats the alphabet, so that you can listen to the proper Italian pronunciation of each letter and sound.
Repeat it! Now try to repeat! Listen to the Italian-native speaker and then repeat each letter with your best Italian accent!
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