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Italian Language Basics: The Alphabet

(Note: This post was written by Laurel Regan and originally published in a separate blog called “Insalata di Alfabeto”, which was later merged with Alphabet Salad.)

Let’s start at the very beginning
a very good place to start!
When you read, you begin with A, B, C…

Now that I’ve planted a nice little earworm in your brain (c’mon, I know you finished the song!), let’s start at the very beginning and learn the Italian alphabet together.

The ABCs

“Why on earth would I want to learn the Italian alphabet?” you might wonder. Well, first of all, the Italian alphabet is the very foundation of the Italian language – and knowing the sounds of each of the letters will help you to recognize and understand the sounds of Italian words when you hear them spoken. Plus, from a very practical standpoint, knowing how to pronounce the letters in the Italian alphabet will allow you to spell your name for people when you visit Italy (particularly important if you have a non-Italian name!), or perhaps spell a street name when asking for directions or giving an address.

So let’s do this!

The Italian Alphabet

Unlike the English language with its 26 letters, the Italian alphabet contains only 21 letters:

A – A (ah)
B – Bi (bee)
C – Ci (chee)
D – Di (dee)
E – E (eh)
F – Effe (EHF-feh)
G – Gi (jee)
H – Acca (AHK-kah)
I – I (ee)
L – Elle (EHL-leh)
M – Emme (EHM-meh)
N – Enne (EHN-neh)
O – O (oh)
P – Pi (pee)
Q – Qu (koo)
R – Erre (EHR-reh)
S – Esse (EHS-seh)
T – Ti (tee)
U – U (oo)
V – Vi (vee) or Vu (voo)
Z – Zeta (TSEH-tah)

“Foreign” letters

The following letters are only used in foreign words:

J – I lunga (ee LOON-gah) or I lungo (ee LOON-goh)
K – Kappa (KAHP-pah)
W – Doppia vu (DOHP-pyah voo)
X – Ics (eeks)
Y – I greca (ee GREH-kah) or Ipsilon (EEP-see-lohn)

And now you know the Italian alphabet!

So, how do you spell your name in Italian?

Photo courtesy morgueFile, photographer mconnors

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.