The Italian Alphabet, l’alfabeto italiano, has 21 letters. These letters are all shared by the English alphabet, but they are not pronounced the same way. Below is an audio guide to the pronunciation of the letters of the Italian alphabet.
How to pronounce the Italian alphabet
Since the Italian alphabet only has 21 letters, see which are the 5 letters that are in the English alphabet and that are missing here! First comes the letter in Italian writing and then a representation of how it sounds.
A A / Aah (as in “father”, just more open) B Bi / Bee C Ci / Chee D Di / Dee E E / Eh (as in “end”, a bit closer) F Effe / Eh-ffeh G Gi / Gee (as in "jeep") H Acca / Ah-kka I I / Ee L Elle / Eh-lleh M Emme / Eh-mmeh N Enne / Eh-nneh O O / Oh (wide “o” as in “front”) P Pi / Pee Q Qu / Koo R Erre / Eh-rreh S Esse / Eh-sseh T Ti / Tea U U / Oo V Vi, Vu / Vee, Voo ZZeta / Tseh-tah
Have you noticed? The Italian alphabet lacks J, K, W, X and Y! They are however present in a few loanwords and have their own pronunciation. They are not included in the official alphabet, as we’ve seen, and all the 26 letters together form the Latin alphabet.
J I lunga / Ee loon-gah (“long i”) K Kappa / Kah-ppah W Doppia vi, doppia vu / Doh-ppee-ah vee, voo ("double v") X Ics / Eeks YIpsilon, I greca / Eeps-ee-loh-n, Ee greh-kah ("Greek i")
Now, let’s see each letter in action!
The Italian alphabet pronunciation guide
Dear / Expensive (“k” sound)
One hundred (“ch” sound)
Exam (narrow “e” sound)
To be (wide “e” sound)
Throat (hard “g” sound)
Jacket (soft “g” sound)
Hotel (it's always silent!)
Or (close “o” sound)
Barley (open “o” sound)
A green lizard (tip for pronunciation: keep saying “butter” out loud with an American accent)
Rock / Pebble (hard “s” sound)
To unbind (soft “s” sound)
Zebra (soft “z” sound)
Sugar (hard “z” sound)
That's probably enough pronunciation practice of the alphabet in Italian! With these Italian lessons, remember the more you listen, the more you'll be able to recognize words as they're spoken. Here are a few recommended Italian lessons to try next!
- Learn to sing Happy Birthday in Italian!
- An important lesson on the structure and pronouncing numbers in Italian.
- Learn the right ways to say Yes and No in Italian.
A presto! Maria DiLorenzi Rocket Italian