Italian Alphabet and Pronunciation

Learn the Italian alphabet and the pronunciation of Italian words


In this first Italian lesson you will be able to study the alphabet and how to pronounce Italian words. With the Italian lessons found on waialo.com you can improve your vocabulary and pronunciation even if you never heard an Italian word in your life.

The Italian alphabet contains 21 letters, the same letters found in the English alphabet except: 'J j', 'K k', 'W w', 'X x', 'Y y'; the 5 missing letters can be found in foreign words. In Italian language you will find 5 vowels ('a', 'e', 'i', 'o' ,'u') with 7 different sounds (each of the letters 'e' and 'o' have two different sounds), when you will find more than one vowel in a word, you will have to pronounce them separately. If you don't have a lot of practice in Italian pronunciation and you don't know which sound to use for 'e' or 'o', you can use as an alternative: for 'e' at the end of the words a sound similar to 'ay' in 'layer', otherwise you can use a sound like 'eh' in 'Mehndi', for 'o' the sound 'oh' like in 'alcohol'. Now, in the following table you can study the Italian alphabet, the Italian letter names and how to pronounce each letter in Italian words.

LetterItalian NamePronunciation
A   aalike 'a' in 'faster'
B   bbilike 'b' in 'boy'
C   ccibefore 'e' or 'i' like 'ch' in 'chin' otherwise like 'c' in 'cat'
D   ddilike 'd' in 'dog'
E   eelike 'e' in 'set' or like 'a' in 'say'
F   feffelike 'f' in 'fish'
G   ggibefore 'e' or 'i' like 'g' in 'gymnastics' otherwise like 'g' in 'go'
H   haccais always silent
I   iilike 'ee' in 'meet'
L   lellelike 'l' in 'lime'
M   memmelike 'm' in 'me'
N   nennelike 'n' in 'nice'
O   oolike 'o' in 'often' or like 'o' in 'hope'
P   ppilike 'p' in 'pit'
Q   qculike 'q' in 'quick'
R   rerrelike 'r' in 'road'
S   sessebetween vowels like 's' in 'nose' otherwise like 's' in 'siting'
T   ttilike 't' in 'town'
U   uulike 'oo' in 'foot'
V   vvilike 'v' in 'vase'
Z   zzetalike 'ts' in 'accents'

German Adjectives - German Adjective Endings

Here you will find German Adjectives with: definition, endings and examples.


Adjectives are a part of speech (words) that accompanies and describes the characteristics of a noun. German adjectives are always written with lowercase letters (except adjectives at the beginning of sentences) and they change their form according to the gender, number and case of the noun.

For a better understanding of how the German adjectives work we will use in the following lines the noun "car" ("Auto" in German) and the adjective "fast" ("schnell" in German) in different examples of sentences.

Example 1: my car is fast - mein Auto ist schnell

In "Example 1" the German adjective "schnell" is after the noun "Auto".
Important! In the German language when an adjective is in a sentence after a noun, the adjective does not receive any endings.

Example 2: my fast car is expensive - mein schnelles Auto ist teuer

In "Example 2" the German adjective "schnell" precedes the noun "Auto".
Important! In the German language when an adjective is in a sentence before a noun, the adjective will receive an ending according to the gender, number and case of the noun.

German Adjective Endings:


German adjective endings can be divided in three major parts, as following: weak inflection, mixed inflection and strong inflection. In the following tables you will learn the adjective endings in German. The main adjective used as an example, will be the German adjective "schnell".

1. Weak inflection


The weak inflection is used when the adjective is after an definite article, like: der, die, das, den, dem, des.

Weak inflection:MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeder schnelledie schnelledas schnelledie schnellen
Accusativeden schnellendie schnelledas schnelledie schnellen
Dativedem schnellender schnellendem schnellenden schnellen *
Genitivedes schnellen ***der schnellendes schnellen ***der schnellen

2. Mixed inflection


The mixed inflection is used when the adjective is after an indefinite article, like: ein-, kein-.

Mixed inflection:MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeein schnellereine schnelleein schnellesschnellen **
Accusativeeinen schnelleneine schnelleein schnellesschnellen **
Dativeeinem schnelleneiner schnelleneinem schnellenschnellen * / **
Genitiveeines schnellen ***einer schnelleneiner schnellen ***schnellen **

** - the indefinite article has no plural form, to show the plural form is used the denied indefinite article "kein". Nominative, Accusative and Dative: keine. Genitive: keiner.

3. Strong inflection


The strong inflection is used when there is no article at all.

Strong inflection:MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeschnellerschnelleschnellesschnelle
Accusativeschnellenschnelleschnellesschnelle
Dativeschnellemschnellerschnellemschnellen *
Genitiveschnellen ***schnellerschnellen ***schneller

* - In the Dative case (plural) the noun receives an extra -n at the end of the word, for example: den kleinen wölfen (the small wolves)
*** - In the Genitive case (masculine and neuter) the noun receives an extra -(e)s at the end of the word, for example: des kleinen Volkes (the little people)

German Adjectives - Comparative and Superlative:


The comparative form of the German adjectives is made (with few exceptions) according to the following pattern: the stem + the suffix -er. example: klein - kleiner / small - smaller

The superlative form of the German adjectives is made (with few exceptions) according to the following pattern: am  root + suffix -st + ending -en. example: stark - am stärkstenstrong - the strongest

Common German Adjectives:


EnglishGermanEnglishGerman
beautifulschönhighhoch
biggroßlonglang
boringlangweilignewneu
difficultschweroldalt
easyleichtpossiblemöglich
fastschnellrichreich
friendlyfreundlichsmallklein
goodgutslowlangsam
happyglücklichstrongstark
hard-workingfleißigwhiteweiß

German Pronunciation - How to pronounce German words

In this pronunciation guide you will learn how to pronounce German words and how to avoid pronunciation mistakes made by beginners.


Important! Some German sounds are not found in English, we have tried to offer something that sounds similar, for this reason our German pronunciation guide is simply informational and does not offer any guarantee.

Our guide is divided in two major parts consisting of two tables, in the first table you will learn how to pronounce individual letters in German words, in the second table you will learn how to pronounce letter combinations in German words.

How to pronounce individual letters in German words?


In the following table you will learn how to pronounce individual letters in German words, the table is divided in 3 columns: in the first column you will find all the letters in the German alphabet (a total of 30 letters), in the second column you will find the English equivalent (with approximation) of the sound made by the letter in German words, in the third and fourth columns you will find German examples with pronunciation.

The letteris pronounced in German wordsGerman e.gPronunciation
a
like the sound ah or like a in artallealler
ä
like the sound eh or like ay in sayhättehaytter
b
like b in bestbeibigh
c
before i or e, like ts in bitsCelsiustsel-zee-oos
otherwise like k in kingcousinekoo-zeener
d
like d in dogdemdaym
e
like e in bedwennvenn
like the sound eh or ay in saydemdaym
final, like er in masterwurdevoorder
f
the same as in EnglishFebruarfebroo-ah
g
like g in goldganzgants
final, like k in kingrichtigrikh-tik
h
like h in horsehabenhaben
i
like i in fill, never like i in ideasindzint
like ee in seewillveel
j
like y in yesjaya
k
the same as in Englishkannkahn
l
like l in livelohnlohn
m
the same as in Englishmitmit
n
the same as in Englishneinneyen
o
like the sound oh or like o in topsollzol
ö
like ur in turnschönshurn
p
like p in pickpolitischpoli-teesh
q
the same as in EnglishQualitätqooalee-tayt
r
the same as in Englishrichtigrikh-tik
s
at the beginning of a word, like z in zoosagenzagen
otherwise like s in smilewasvas
ß
like s in smileheißenhigh-sen
t
the same as in EnglishTiereteerer
u
like oo in moonundoond
ü
like iew in viewüberiewber
v
like f in foodVaterfahter
w
like v in voicewasvas
x
like the sound ksxenonksenon
y
the same as üÄgyptenaygiewpten
z
like ts in bitsZentrumtsent-room

How to pronounce letter combinations in German words?


Now that you know how to pronounce each German letter, you need to learn when they should be pronounced different, this is why the following table will be very helpful for you and every person who wants to avoid some pronunciation mistakes made usually by beginners. The table below has the same structure as the previous table above.

Letter combinationsare pronounced in the German wordsGerman e.gPronunciation
aulike ow in howausows
äulike oy in toyhäufighoyfik
eilike igh in right or like the word eyeseinezeyener
eulike oy in toyneunnoyn
ielike ee in seewiederveeder
chalmost like the sound kh or like k in kingichikh
spat the beginning of a word, like shpspieleshpeelay
stat the beginning of a word, like shtStadtShtaht
schlike sh in sheepschnellshnayl

What's the fastest way to learn how to pronounce German words?


The most fastest way to learn the German pronunciation is... there is no fast way, the only way to learn how to pronounce German words is through time, of course, if you listen German songs and watch German movies, you can speed up the learning process, but without a basic vocabulary is likely to be a waste of time. If you want to improve your vocabulary and pronunciation in German then we recommend our vocabulary lessons found under "Learn German" category.