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Enhanced Beginner's Italian Level 1 - Lesson # 1

The Italian alphabet, pronunciation and basic greetings

After this class you should;
know the Italian alphabet.
understand the basic principals of pronouncing Italian.
be able to use some basic greetings such as hi, hello, how are you, etc.


The Native Italian Alphabet

This chart shows the names of the letters in the Italian alphabet with pronunciation

click to hear the Italian Alphabet
Letter Name "Sounds Like" Letter Name "Sounds Like"
a a AH n enne EN-NAY
b bi BEE o 0 OH
c ci CHEE p pi PEE
d di DEE q cu COO
e e AY r erre AIR-RAY
f effe EF-FAY s esse ES-SAY
g gi JEE t ti TEE
h acca AHK-KA u u OO
i i EE v vu (or vi) VOO (or) VEE
l elle EL-LAY z zeta ZAY-TAH
m emme EM-MAY

This chart shows Letters from words of foreign origin found in the Italian Language with pronunciation

click to hear the Letters of foreign origin in Italian
Letter Name "Sounds Like" Letter Name "Sounds Like"
j i lunga EE LOON-GA x ics EEX
k cappa KAH-PAH y ipsilon EEP-SEE-LONE
w doppia vu DOPE-PEE-AH VOO (or) i greca EE GRAY-KAH

Learning tips on pronouncing Italian

Disclaimer – I confess that I do use and teach some generalizations and even sound exaggerations but if you follow this path you will find it will lead you to a good pronunciation of the Italian Language. Also, as with most if not all information presented on this website there are “exceptions to the rule”. We will deal with these as we come across them in our studies.

We have now added an "Pronunciation Example" to go with each rule. Simply click on the word that is the pronunciation example to hear what it sounds like.

Italian vowels

For the time being, when speaking Italian, always pronounce the vowels in the following manner:
Sounds Like
Pronunciation Example
as in ha
as in e
as in i
as in dopo
as in blu

Italian Diphthongs

I before for example ù
U before for example o
Sounds Like
Y as in yet
W as in wet
Pronunciation Example
as in piu
as in uomo

Italian Consonants

C (followed by I or E)
G (followed by I or E)
Sc (followed by I or E)
Sounds Like
Ch as in chip
J as in jello
K as in key
G as in get
Sc as in scatter
Sh as in shelter
N as in onion
L as in million
Pronunciation Example
as in cibo
as in genitori
as in chiesa
as in ghiaccio
as in scherzo
as in scendere
as in ogni
as in famiglia

Italian Syllabication and Double Consonants

You will find more often than not that syllables in Italian are divided as follows:
Sono (So_no) Sette (Set_te) Perche (Per_che)

When you see double consonants, pronounce both as follows:
Otto (sounds like Oht-toh)

* Although greatly simplified I learned this information from the Book “Ciao!” by Carla Federici and Carla Larese Riga, Copyright 1986 – Capitolo Preliminare (Pages 2-4) and from the Drive Time Italian Audio Course, Copyright 2005

Printable Homework

basic online exercise

Advanced Exercise


buon giorno
buona sera
buona notte
come stai
hi or bye
good morning /day
good evening
good night
goodbye (familiar)
goodbye (formal)
pleasure to meet you
how are you (familiar)
come sta
molto bene
non c'e' male
e tu
e lei
how are you (formal)
very well
not too bad
and you (familiar)
and you (formal)

Printable Vocabulary
Printable large flash cards (English Side)
Printable large flash cards (Italian Side)
Printable small flash cards (English Side)
Printable small flash cards (Italian Side)
Downloadable Podcast
basic online exercise
Exercise (Italian to English)
Exercise (English to Italian)
printable crossword



Buon giorno.
Buon giorno.
Come sta?
Bene, e lei, come sta?
Molto bene, come si dice "thank you" in italiano?
Si dice grazie.
Allora (so then), grazie e arrivederla.


Come stai?
Benissimo, e tu, come stai?
Non c'è male, come si dice "thank you" in italiano?
Si dice grazie.
Allora (so then), grazie e arrivederci.

Printable Video Dialog
Printable Practice Sheets
printable comprehension crossword
Useful Italian question;
Come si dice … in italiano?
How do you say ... in Italian?

Class Dialog

Using only the vocabulary we have learned so far, learn how to say everything below in Italian (except what is in " "), print out and bring the printable form of this dialog and be prepared to say the dialog below for one of the person's in class.

Person #1 - Hi _______.
Person #2 - Hi ________, how are you?
Person #1 – Not too bad, and you? How are you?
Person #2 – excellent!
Person #3 - How do you say "goodbye" in Italian?
Person #2 - Goodbye.
Person #1 - Goodbye _________.
Person #2 - Goodbye _________.

printable class dialog

You can learn more about The Italian alphabet and pronunciation on these pages of the following books.

1 - 5 (page #'s may vary as I have an older edition) of "Ciao" by Carla Federici & Carla Larese Riga, copyright 1986.

If you do not own these books, don't worry, it is not mandatory that you do unless you were instructed to buy them at the beginning of the class. However, they can be very useful in a lot of ways and if you would like to know more about these books and where to buy them, simply go to our online bookstore or quicker yet, just click on the appropriate book below.

Did you know? - A bit of Italian Trivia

"Italian wines are exported abroad each year to the average quantity of 1,092,000 tons of which 840,000 tons go to countries of the European Union and the rest to countries outside this area. Italy imports 12,375 tons of wine every year, of which 10,519 tons come from countries in the European Union (with France in the lead) and the rest from countries outside." -
Source - Italian.lifetips.com

Have you heard? - Some good Italian Music

In addition to the opera (both traditional and contemporary) that Italy has become famous for, they also have quite the contemporary music scene with extremely talented artists in all genres including Pop, Jazz, Rock, etc. Below is a song that to be honest, I am not really sure how to categorize. It is kind of Pop meets Opera. What ever it is, it is beautiful! . I hope you enjoy!

This and many other
great songs are available on --->

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