Pronouncing Easy Consonants

Italian has the same consonants that English does. You pronounce some of them the same way, but the rest have noteworthy differences.

Additionally, the modern Italian alphabet has less letters than the English one: J, K, W, X and Y do not occur in native terms. Nevertheless, these letters do appear in dictionaries, for archaic spellings, and for a few foreign and international terms officially adopted in Italian, as well.

The consonants b, f, m, n, v are pronounced as in English. The approximate English equivalents are as follows:

B Always as an English b. Example:

  • Bene  ╗  well.
  • Bambino  ╗  Child

F Always as an English f in fame, knife, flute, but never as in of. Example:

  • Fare  ╗  To make
  • Famoso  ╗  famous

H is completely soundless; never as in house, hope, hammer; but as in heir, honest. H is written in some form of the verb avere to have, in few other Italian words, and mainly in foreign words and names. Examples:

  • Ho  ╗  (I) have.
  • Hai  ╗  (you) have.
  • Ha  ╗  (he / she / it) has.
  • Hanno  ╗  (they) have.
  • Ahi!  ╗  (interj) ouch!.
  • Hotel  ╗  hotel.

L is sharper and more forward in the mouth than in English, similar to l in link.  Examples:

  • Olio  ╗  oil
  • Lingua  ╗  language
  • Sale  ╗  salt
  • Lungo  ╗  long
  • Melone  ╗  melon
  • Luna  ╗  moon
  • Scuola  ╗  school

M Always as an English m. Examples:

  • Madre  ╗  Mother

N Always as an English n. Examples:

  • No  ╗  No
  • Nonna  ╗  Grandmother

P is as in English, but without the aspiration that sometimes accompanies this sound in English. Examples:

  • Pane  ╗  bread
  • Patata  ╗  potato
  • Pepe  ╗  pepper
  • PapÓ  ╗  dad
  • Popone  ╗  melon
  • Ponte  ╗  bridge

T is approximately the same as in English, but no escaping of breath accompanies it in Italian. Examples:

  • Contento  ╗  glad
  • Carta  ╗  paper
  • Arte  ╗  art
  • Matita  ╗  pencil
  • Turista  ╗  tourist
  • Antipasto  ╗  appetizer
  • Telefono  ╗  telephone
  • Testa  ╗  head

V Always as an English v. Examples:

  • Vino  ╗  Wine.
  • Voglio  ╗  (I) want.