Italian Pronunciation Guide

The Italian Language is considered one of the most musical and expressive languages. Here we give you a brief Italian pronunciation guide to help you improve your abilities in the language, to speak better, and to talk with a real accent that people in Italy can understand. Find the pronunciation of each letter, both vowels and consonants, the accents (accento), and useful information for you.

Vowels pronunciation:

Italian considers the five vowels and each one of them with its own sound, except 2 of them that have two sounds, which depend on an open or closed sound. If you find vowels together in a word, those are pronounced separately.

  • A: The vowel “a” has only one sound, and it is pronounced like the vowel “a” as in Cat. Sometimes words have a long pronunciation like in Casa, which is pronounced like “a” as in father.
  • Example: Amore, mamma, casa.
  • E: The vowel “e” has two sounds: One of them is the open sound, which is pronounced like the vowel “e” as in “set”; the other sound is close, and it’s pronounced like the “a” as in say.
    Example: bello, bene, vento (open sound), sera, me, Fede(closed sound)
  • I: The vowel “i” has only one sound, and it is always pronounced like the “i” as in this; the sound of “ee” is also used as in seem, but Italian pronunciation is shorter.
    Example: Libro, Vino, Amico
  • O: The vowel “o” has two sounds: One of them is the open sound, which is pronounced like the vowel “o” as in pot or dog; the other sound is close, and it’s pronounced like the “o” as in soul or post.
    Example: otto, no, moda (open sound), sole, o, mondo (closed sound).
  • U: the vowel “u” has only one sound, and it is always pronounced like the “u” as in rule or rude for some words it uses the sound of the consonant “w” as in win.
    Example: Uno, luna, súbito, quando, traduzioni.

Consonant pronunciation:

The Italian language has fewer consonants than English, and most of them have the same pronunciation than the one in English and these are:

  • B: The consonant “b” is pronounced like b as in balloon or bomb, but softer.
    Example: Bambino.
  • F: The consonant “f” is pronounced like f as in fine, famous, but the pronunciation of “of” is not used.
    Example: Inferiore.
  • L: The consonant “l” is pronounced like “l” as in lime, but is sharper than in English.
    Example: Luna, Lingua
  • M and N: The consonant “m” is pronounced like in m as in mother and “n” as in nothing,
    Example: Come, Nonna
  • P and T: The consonant “p” is pronounced like “p” as in pepper or potato and “t” like as in art or tourist, but both are pronounced softer
    Example: Papà, patata, carta, content
  • V: The consonant “p” is always pronounced like in English
    Example: Vino, vola

Italian has another group of consonants that has notable differences with English pronunciation; these differences we’re going to explain below:

  • C: The consonant “c” has two sounds: One of them is like “ch” as in church, and it is used before the vowels ”I” or “e”; the other sound is the typical “c”, as in car.
    Examples: ciao, piacere (sound like ch); casa, come (sound like c).
  • G: The consonant “g” has two sounds: One of them is like “g” as in general, and it is used before the vowels ”I” or “e”; the other sound is “g”, as in goal.
    Examples: gelato (as in general); gusto (as in goal).
  • H: The consonant “h” is silent; in this case, the pronunciation of “h” as in hope is not used.
    Example: Hotel
  • R: The consonant “r” sounds like r as in Spanish language.
    Example: Roma
  • S: The consonant “s” has two sounds: One of them is like “s” as in snake and it is used between vowels; the other sound is “s”, a sound strong as in sit.
    Examples: casa (as in snake); stanza (as in sit).
  • Z: The consonant “z” has two sounds: One of them is like “ds” as in pads, and it is used when the word starts with z; the other sound is “ts”, as in cats.
    Examples: zero (as in pads); stazione (as in cats).

Consonant also are combined and they produce other sounds such as:

  • CH: The “ch” in the Italian word “anche” is pronounced like c as in cat.
  • GH: The “gh” in the Italian word “spaghetti” is pronounced like g as in got.
  • GN: The “gn” in the Italian word “signora” is pronounced like ny as in canyon.
  • GLI: The “gli” in the Italian word “voglio” is pronounced like “lli” as in million.
  • SC: The combination has two sounds: One is before vowels “i” or “e” for example, the word “pesce” sounds like sh as in shut; the other sound is sk as in skip, and it’s used in other cases like in the Italian word scala.

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