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21 lettere dell'alfabeto italiano

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The Italian alphabet has 21 letters.

A, E, I, O, U are called "vowels". The others are called "consonants".



a b c d e f g h i l m n o p q r s t u v z

Lettere non italiane

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These are foreign letters (rarely used in Italian):

j k w x y

Suoni speciali

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These are consonants combined with a vowel or with another consonant. They have a special pronunciation:

chi ci ghi gi gli gn sci



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Italian words end with a vowel (except words of foreign origin - e.g. sport, film, yogurt...):


The vowels and the diphtongs (combination of vowels) are clearly articulated:


Most Italian words have the stress on the next-to-last syllable:


However, there are many exceptions to this rule and, since the stress is not indicated by a written accent, the only way to learn the correct pronunciation is by listening, memorizing and practicing:


Some words have the stress on the final vowel; they require a written accent:


In a sentence, the stress usually falls on the last word, and the pitch of the voice drops at the end of the sentence:


A question is expressed with a rising intonation:

Consonanti doppie

Double consonants must be pronounced. When you pronounce a double consonant, just extend the sound while holding the breath for a moment:


Double consonants are very important because they differentiate words. E.g. "rosa" (pink) "rossa" (red).


Certain words have a double consonant only for the "sake of the music" (you know Italian language is very musical). This happens usually when:

  • two words combine (e.g. chi + sa = chissà). Some of these words are: sebbene, fabbisogno, seppure, dammi, fammi, dimmi...
  • words start with "sopra, contro": soprattutto, sopralluogo, soprannome, sopravvivere, contraddire...
  • words start with the prepositions "a, da, fra, su": allo, addosso, davvero, dapprima, frattanto...
  • words start with the conjunctions "e, o, né": eppure, oppure, nemmeno, neppure...
  • ...

Words that do NOT require a double consonant are:

  • ending with "zione" (azione, meditazione, lezione...)
  • starting with "intra" (intravedere, intramuscolo...)

Of course, we always have exceptions. If you are not sure if an Italian word has a double consonant, check the dictionary and use our pronunciation guide.


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