Italian sounds: consonants 1

Italian consonant sounds can be divided in three sets:

  1. a sound that corresponds to a written symbol
  2. written symbols that correspond to different sounds, according to the following vowel
  3. sounds that do not exist in English.

A sound corresponds to a written symbol

Written symbol Phonetic symbol Similar sound in English Spoken sound in Italian
b b buy banca
d d do donna
f f fast filo
h - no sound like in hour ho
l l low letto
m m man mamma
n n nose naso
p p pit papà
q+u kw quality qualità
r r like the rolled Scottish [r] right raro
t t tall tavolo
v v very vaso


The written symbols s and z can have two sounds each in standard Italian:

Written symbol Phonetic symbol Similar sound in English Spoken sound in Italian
s s sit sedia
s z has sgabello
z dz zero zero
z ts Mozart, waltz zampa


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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Italian

Università per Stranieri di Siena (UniStraSi)