Learn the Italian Alphabet and Additional Italian words
The first step in learning any language is learning the alphabet, and Italian is no exception. Let’s get stuck in!
The Italian alphabet only has 21 letters while the English alphabet has 26. However, those five additional letters can be seen in Italian only when using foreign words. Therefore, these letters are considered “foreign letters”.
Foreign letters can be found when using any word that has been adapted to the Italian language from another word. Most of these words are trendy words or even names of brands and companies that are well recognized around the world. The five foreign letters in the Italian alphabet are j, k, w, x, and y. You will never find a foreign letter in traditional Italian names.
Italian Alphabet and Pronunciation
Now let’s that a look at the Italian alphabet, the pronunciation, and a word that starts with each letter.
If you want to listen to the sounds of the letters, this lesson on LingQ is perfect. Just work your way through the lesson, translating words and phrases and listening to a native Italian speaker pronounce the letters.
The words and phrases you translate appear highlighted in future lessons until you learn them. The goal is to eventually open up new content, whether that be a YouTube video, novel or news story, and none of the words are highlighted. Give learning Italian on LingQ a try today with a free seven day trail of premium membership!
A- This letter is pronounced “Aah” as in father.
Word example: asino (donkey)
B- This letter is pronounced “bee.”
Word example: bambini (children)
C- This letter is pronounced “chee”
Word example: Ciao (hello / goodbye)
D- This letter is pronounced “dee”
Word example: delfino (dolphin)
E- This letter is pronounced “eh”
Word example: elefante (elephant)
F- This letter is pronounced “eh-feh”
Word example: fiocco (bow)
G- This letter is pronounced “gee”
Word example: ghiaccio (ice)
H- This letter is pronounced “ah-ka”
Word example: hotel (hotel)
I- This letter is pronounced “ee”
Word example: idratante (hydrating)
L- This letter is pronounced “eh-leh”
Word example: lungo (long)
M- This letter is pronounced “eh-meh”
Word example: mano (hand)
N- This letter is pronounced “eh-neh”
Word example: nascondere (hide)
O- This letter is pronounced “oh”
Word example: orso (bear)
P- This letter is pronounced “pee”
Word example: pace (peace)
Q- This letter is pronounced “koo”
Word example: quadrato (square)
R- This letter is pronounced “eh-rreh”
Word example: rabbia (anger)
S- This letter is pronounced “eh-sseh”
Word example: sacro (holly)
T- This letter is pronounced “tea”
Word example: tavolo (table)
U- This letter is pronounced “oo”
Word example: uva (grape)
V- This letter is pronounced “vee”
Word example: vacca (cow)
Z- This letter is pronounced “zeh-tah”
Word example: zaino (backpack)
Customer Service Alphabet and Spelling Words Out Loud
In English whenever spelling something out to someone on the phone or a customer service representative in person we have two ways of doing it. Either you use the military alphabet like Alpha, Bravo, Charlie… or you come up with whatever word starts with that letter like apple, banana, cactus, and so on. If you have ever worked in customer service, I’m sure you have heard it all!
In Italy, however, they use the name of Italian cities whenever they are spelling out something out loud. For the foreign letters, they use words instead.
H: acca, or sometimes even hotel
J: i lunga
Q: Quarto, Quadro
V: Varese, Venezia
W: vu doppia, doppia vu
Y: ipsilon, y greca
Learn Italian Faster Using LingQ
Immersing yourself in Italian doesn’t require you to travel abroad or sign up for an expensive language program.
However, it can be a bit tiresome to find interesting content, go back and forth between sites, use different dictionaries to look up words, and so on.
That’s why there’s LingQ. A language app that helps you discover and learn from content you love.
You can import videos, podcasts, and much more and turn them into interactive lessons.
Keep all your favourite Italian content stored in one place, easily look up new words, save vocabulary, and review. Check out our guide to importing content into LingQ for more information.
LingQ is available for desktop as well as Android and iOS. Gain access to thousands of hours of audio and transcripts and begin your journey to fluency today.
Isabella Paz is a Colombian American who quit her corporate job to live her dream life in Florence, Italy. She is an experienced writer, translator, and e-commerce representative who has a passion for foreign languages.