In Italian pronunciation can be difficult especially for beginners Yet much like the vowels the sound each consonant makes is a regular sound and remains the same, so once the rules are understood, it is simple to pronounce the words correctly. Here are the step by step instructions on the way the consonants are pronounced in Italian.
The consonants B, F, M, N, and V are pronounced exactly as they are in English.
When the C is before a, o, u and before a consonant is has the sound similar to the English letter K. When the C comes before the e and I it sounds very similar to the English sound of the Ch.
D is much more explosive in Italian than it is in English; with the tongue near the tip of the upper teeth but with no aspiration.
When G comes before a, o, and u and before consonants it sounds like the g in good; when it comes before e and i it sounds like the g in general.
Gli sounds like ll in million and Gn sounds like they ny in canyon.
The H in Italian is silent.
The L sounds like it does in English except with a sharper tone and more forward in the mouth.
P sounds as it does in English, but without the aspiration, which sometimes happens in English.
Qu sounds as it does in English like in the word quest.
R is very different from the English; it is pronounced with one flip of the tongue against the gums of the upper teeth. This will make the trill sound of the r.
S before vowels and unvoiced consonants such as c, f, p, q, s, t is pronounced like the s in the English word rose.
T is pretty much like the T in English, but with no escaping of breath to go along with it in the Italian.
Z can be voiced, like ds in beds, or it can be voiceless, like ts in bets.
All Italian consonants have a corresponding double consonant, whose pronunciation is similar to, but not exactly like the single consonant. The mispronunciation of the double consonants can result in miscommunication.
Italian is known as a musical language because every sound is clear and distinct but stays soft rather than hard. The consonants will never lose their sound value even when linked together with syllables and words.
When they say Italian is a phonetic language, they mean it is spoken the way it is written. Italian and English share the Latin alphabet, but the pronunciation of each letter differs between the two languages.