Italian Letter Sounds

How to pronounce letters and letter combinations.

Pronounced as it's Spelled

Italian is one of the most phonetically accurate languages in the world. Unlike in English, where the rules are broken with an endless list of exceptions, Italian is pronounced as it's spelled. Consonants are nearly always paired with a vowel to make a sound. Nearly all the sounds you will encounter are listed below.

Letter Combination Sounds

If you reviewed the Italian Alphabet, you will know the letters "J" and "K" are not present. Their sounds are accounted for when paired with an additional letter, such as "che" will make the "keh" sound, and "gio" will sound like "jo".

ba "bah" be "beh" bi "bee" bo "boh" bu "boo"
cia "cha" ce "che" ci "chee" cio "cho" ciu "choo"
ca "ka" che "keh" chi "kee" co "ko" cu "koo"
da "da" de "deh" di "dee" do "do" du "doo"
fa "fa" fe "feh" fi "fee" fo "fo" fu "foo"
gia "ja" ge "jeh" gi "jee" gio "jo" giu "joo"
ga "ga" ghe "geh" ghi "gee" go "go" gu "goo"
la "la" le "leh" li "lee" lo "lo" lu "loo"
ma "ma" me "meh" mi "mee" mo "mo" mu "moo"
na "na" ne "neh" ni "nee" no "no" nu "noo"
pa "pa" pe "peh" pi "pee" po "po" pu "poo"
qua "qwa" que "qweh" qui "qwee" quo "qwo" qu "qwoo"
ra "ra" re "reh" ri "ree" ro "ro" ru "roo"
sa "sa" se "seh" si "see" so "so" su "soo"
sca "ska" sce "sheh" sci "shee" sco "sko" scu "skoo"
ta "ta" te "teh" ti "tee" to "to" tu "too"
va "va" ve "veh" vi "vee" vo "vo" vu "voo"
za "za" ze "zeh" zi "zee" zo "zo" zu "zoo"

Additional Letter Sounds

In Italian, there are several letter combinations, or digraphs, that have specific pronunciations.

Letters Pronounced Example
gli "ly" or "lli" "famiglia" pronounced "fah-MEE-lyah"
gn "ny" similar to the sound in "canyon"
sc + consonant "sht" "scherzo" pronounced "SKEHR-tso"
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