Italian Alphabet

Learn Italian – The 21 letters of the Italian Alphabet  

(plus the 5 letters used in foreign words)

Letter Name Listen Example Listen
A A Amore (love)
B Bi Bambino (boy)
C Ci Casa (house)
D Di Deserto (desert)
E E Essere (to be)
F Effe Forza (force / power)
G Gi Gruppo (group)
H Acca Hotel (hotel – ‘h’ is silent)
I I Italia (Italy)
J* I lungo Joystick (joystick)

Jupiter (the Roman god)

K* Kappa Kiwi (kiwi)
L Elle Limone (Lemon)
M Emme Macchina (car)
N Enne Notte (night)
O O Opera (opera)
P Pi Piazza (square)
Q Qu Questo (this)
R Erre Rosso (red)
S Esse Settimana (week) sounds like ‘s’

Rosa (rose) sounds like ‘z’

T Ti Tutto (all)
U U Uscita (exit / escape)
V Vu Via (street)
W* Doppio vu Walter (personal name)
X* Ics Xilografia (xylography)
Y* Ipsilon Yogurt (yoghurt)
Z Zeta Zucchero (sugar) sounds like ‘ts’

         Zero (zero) sounds like ‘dz’

 

Combined letters:

 Some letters can have a different pronunciation in Italian depending upon which vocal or consonant follow them.

Combination Sounds like Listen Example Listen
CA / CO / CU ‘k’ Cucina (kitchen)
CE / CI  ‘tsch’ Cinema (cinema)
CHE / CHI ‘k’ Chiave (key)
GA / GO / GU a hard ‘g’ Gomma (rubber / tyre)
GE / GI ‘dj’ Gelato (ice cream / icy)
GHE / GHI a hard ‘g’ Ghetto (ghetto)
GLI similar to American

Spanish ‘ll’ or Portuguese ‘lh’

Aglio (garlic)
GLA / GLE /

 GLO / GLU

‘gl’ Gloria (glory)
GN Spanish ‘�’ Gnocchi (potato dumplings)
SCA / SCO / SCU ‘sk’ Scuola (school)
SCE / SCI ‘sh’ Scienza (science)
SCHE / SCHI ‘sk’ Schiuma (foam)

( * ) The Italian alphabet does not normally include the letters J, K, W X and Y, but since there are some words derived from other languages that are normally used in Italy (as well as personal names), we included these letters in here.

Tips

  • We recommend you to learn the Italian alphabet as your first step to learn Italian. It’s much easier to understand people speaking Italian if you have a good handle of the sounds in our Italian alphabet

  • Also, you need to know well the alphabet because you may frequently need to spell your name or an address while talking on the phone or during a trip to Italy; so, to learn how to spell your name in Italian is your first lesson!