Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Italian sounds: vowels

Italian sounds: vowels

Italian is a phonetically spelled language. That means the graphemes (written symbols) correspond to the phonemes (spoken sounds) of the language (with some exceptions). There are no cases in Italian of words written with the same graphemes and different sounds, such as floor, good, and blood in English. In Italian a grapheme or a group of graphemes always corresponds with the same sounds.

In Italian there are 5 written symbols and 7 vowel sounds. In English, there is a difference in pronunciation between long and short vowels (calm/cut, sheep/ship); however, in Italian, this difference is irrelevant.

Written symbol Phonetic symbol Similar sound in English Spoken sound in Italian
a a father casa
u u would uno
i i bee filo
e e end sera
e ε bet letto
o o open nome
o ɔ born cosa

In Italian there are two sounds that are not considered real vowels:

Written symbol Phonetic symbol Similar sound in English Spoken sound in Italian
i j yet ieri
u w woman uomo
This article is from the free online

Introduction to Italian

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education