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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/poche112

Pronunciation of the alphabet in Italian?

While listening to RAI radio, I often hear things that I do not understand, but that are repeated often enough that I can eventually figure out the meaning.

For example, lately (in advertisements) I have been picking up what sounds to me like "VOUS VOUS VOUS".... I finally figured out that they were giving a web address and 'vous vous vous ' probably means W W W.... (am I correct?????? )

That got me to thinking.. how do you pronounce the letters of the alphabet in Italian...

For example in English W sounds exactly like "double you" T sounds like "Tea"... etc...

How do you pronounce the Italian alphabet?

February 16, 2016

30 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

A = a as in cat

B = be as in bee or the English pronuciation of the letter B

C = chee as in cheetah

D = dee as in deed or the English pronunciation of the letter D

E= a as in hay or the English pronunciation of the letter A

F = ef-fay as in the English pronunciuation of F + A (eg. As in the initials of the FA [Football Association] cup)

G = jee as in genius or the English pronunciation of the letter G

H = acka as in academy

I = ee as in the English pronunciation of the letter E

J = i lunga pronounced ee lunga as in the English letter E and the Italian word lunga. (There is no letter J in the Italian alphabet and it only appears in "foreign" words so it's pronunciation within a word is unchanged from the original). Thanks to MA390 for pointing out it's omission.

K = kappa as in the Greek letter

L = el-lay as in melée

M = em-may as in MA (Master of Arts)

N = en-nay as in tenacious

O = o as in pop

P = pee as in pea or the English pronunciation of the letter P

Q = koo as in cool

R = er-ray as in serrated

S = es-say as in essay

T = tee as in tea or the English pronunciation of the letter T

U = oo as in new (American pronunciation) or mood.

V = voo as in voodoo

W = doppia voo as in the Italian word doppia + voodoo

X = eex as in peeks

Y = ee grecka as in the English letter E + the Italian word for Greece (Greca) [also known as ipsilon .... like the Greek letter epsilon but starting with the Italian letter I and therefore pronounced Eepsilon ..... Thanks to Cantchooseaname for pointing out the omission.]

Z = tsayta as in the Greek letter Zeta

Obviously, these are approximations but I hope the list helps.

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/letra_a

Wow, great work Gena. This is really useful. Big thanks :)

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cantchooseaname

The list is good but do keep in mind that while the letter Y is indeed called "i greca", it's generally referred to as something along the lines of "eepseelon" (https://translate.google.it/#it/en/y the way it's spelled on google translate is accurate)

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

True enough but its official name is i greca and in my experience (I used to live in Italy and have many Italian friends and relatives, this will be universally understood to mean Y and I was trying to keep things simple. .... I have however now edited this to show that eepsilon is also acceptable. Thanks. :-))

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

My pleasure Ana :-))

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/poche112

Yes.. That is great Thanks... The only one that i have trouble saying is the H

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

Have you ever heard of the jazz player Acker Bilk? , if so then you pronounce H exactly the same way as his name. Hope that helps a bit :-))

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/d_johnson6609

this was insanely helpful. I completed Rosetta Stone and ironically, this is the one area they DID NOT cover! Brava!

February 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

Grazie mille, I'm glad to have helped :-))

February 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MA390

Great list! I guess J is missing, though...

J is "ee loonga", or long "I"

February 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

Apologies, you are quite right, I left it out as it isn't part of the Italian alphabet but that was rather inconsistent of me as neither, for example is K! ... I have now added it.

As you say it is "i lunga" pronounced ee lunga ...

Sorry about that :-)

February 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lynnich

Ha! That is exactly what I wondered when I was living in Florence last year. I asked my Italian friends what it meant and they thought it was hilarious, they kept laughing at me Vu... Vu... Vu... To them it was so obvious. Learning the Italian alphabet is the most important thing about learning the language because each letter is always pronounced the same way- except when it has certain letters next to it . I don't know how you got to level 25 without knowing it!! It must have been very hard!

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/necronudist85

When the television first started to talk about the www it seemed a bit odd to us too, because we usually said "doppia vu, doppia vu, doppia vu" or like in English "double you". It has then become pretty standard the vu vu vu spelling.

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

Thank you. This is brilliant!!

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/poche112

Grazie .. So I am hearing VuVuVu.. which is strictly V V V.. but probably shortened from Dopio Vu Dopio VU Dopio Vu.. :-)

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aanaaaa

Just put " www" on google translate :) and listen to it.

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/poche112

wonderful molte grazie... just being able to ask questions like this means that I am starting to understand the language! :-)

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kubelnaby

the "V" letter can be read "vi" (waaay more used) or "vu", which is basically only used with the TV ("tivù", more common than "tivì") or as the first part of the "W" letter, which is called "doppia vu" except when typing a web address, when it is read "vu" ("vu vu vu". you could also say "doppia vu doppia vu doppia vu" and nobody could say that you are wrong, but very few people do like this and they sound kind of dork).

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paolingual

Hi kubelnaby, just wanted to say that the pronunce "vi" for "v" is way LESS used than "vu", that is the main pronunciation of the letter v. You can read this even in the vocabulary, where you'll find vu as the main pronunciation: http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/v-v/

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kubelnaby

in the past, the only accepted form was "vu", but in analogy with other consonants people started to say "vi", which is now the more common form, by far and despite what Treccani says.

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paolingual

First time ever I heard v pronounced as vi, I swear, and it quite surprised me! Maybe it's a regional thing. I'll try to convince you inviting you to hear google translate pronounce or, getting vintage, this video at 34:08: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2eFNTd75hglist=PLAGB9asK1sFowEFST13oIgmPSFLN8V39m

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kubelnaby

if by "regional" you mean in my region, no. they even teach you at elementary school "u vi zeta". XD As far as i know, only people in tuscany use "vu" more (one of the many things those jackasses do differently thinking it'll make them look smarter than they are).

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paolingual

I was teached "vu" as Treccani says, always heard "vu" all my life. I am not from Tuscany, by the way. :)

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/letra_a

Perhaps it depends on the zone? Because at Rome it is usually called "vu". I do not know what happens elsewhere, really. In fact, the Spanish mon of a friend of mine used to say "Io sono Balentini (Valentini), con la Bu di Berona (Verona) As a good Spaniard, she was not used to the "vu/vi" sound :DD

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiuliaJill92

Here in north of Italy we say "vi", this "vu" pronunciation sounds quite strange to me, even though it's acceptable I guess...

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/apricotpixie

when you say tv, you say tivu or tivi?

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paolingual

I say tivu (it even became an actual word: http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/tivu/). And when you say "doppia vu" or "vu vu vu" for www, do you say "doppia vi" and "vi vi vi"?

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiuliaJill92

Ok, yes, I say "tivu" and "doppiavu", but apart from that I pronounce "vi" as the letter in the alphabet.

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paolingual

Thanks, I was curious. That's so weird, I wonder when and how it started

February 17, 2016
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