As with many other languages, the first lesson we would like to start with is about the Italian alphabet letters. There are 21 Italian letters, namely 5 vowels and 16 Italian consonants. Besides, there are other 5 special letters that are used to express words originated from Latin and other languages. In the following, we present 26 letters in both uppercase and lowercase written forms; and their corresponding sound (IPA). Usually, one letter corresponds to one single sound. However, there are other letters that can represent more than one single sound, such as e, o, c, g, s, and z. Specially, for five foreign letters, j, k, w, x, and y, we pronounce them as their phonetic sounds in the languages from which they are originated.
Foreign letters j, k, w, x and y are pronouced with the corresponding sounds in their original languages as follows,
- J, j (i lunga): it is pronounced as /dʒ/ for English words such as jeans /dʒinz/, jeep /dʒip/. Meanwhile, j in words originated from French is pronounced as /ʒ/ as in abat-jour /aˈbaˈʒur/.
- K, k (cappa): it is pronounced as /k/ as the letter c in casa /ˈkasa/. The letter k can be found in many foreign words, such as karma /ˈkarma/, kayak /kaˈjak/, kaki /ˈkaki/.
- W, w (doppia vu or doppia vi): it is pronounced as /v/ for words orginated from German, for instance, würstel /ˈvyrstəl/ . Meanswhile, we pronouce it as /w/ for english words, such as, welfare /ˈwel.feər/.
- X, x (ics): it is pronounced as /ks/ , for e.g. taxi [ˈtaksi].
- Y, y (ipsilon): it is pronounced as /j/, for e.g. yogurt /ˈjɔgurt/, yoga /ˈjɔga/. We sometimes find it pronounced as /ai/ in some English words, such as by-pass /ˈbaɪ.pɑːs/, nylon /ˈnaɪ.lɒn/.
In this tutorial, we learn twenty one Italian alphabet letters and other five extra foreign letters. We also show their corresponding sounds (IPA) and present some examples for the foreign letters whose sounds are determined by the languages from which they are originated.
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About the author
Nguyen has studied in Italy since 2012. She is very passionate in learning Italian by exploring Italy’s rich culture, nature and local products. She finds herself fortunated to study and live in a beautiful country in the middle of the Mediterranean sea where it shares many similarities in culture with her homeland. She, therefore, launched this educational blog semprelearn.com to share her experience in studying Italian and other things.