Why know the English alphabet and its pronunciation?

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We all want to know how to improve English pronunciation, and we all know how important it is. You may be wondering: it's okay to study the pronunciation of numbers, days of the week, and months, but why should I learn the English alphabet?

Depending on the language, the pronunciation of the letters changes, and therefore it is crucial to learn the alphabet when studying a foreign language.

First of all, to know how to pronounce the words you read correctly, you will need to know the phonetics work behind the scenes. For example, the word "I" reads "ai," and if you don't know that the letter "i" in English has this pronunciation, you will be wrong every time you want to talk about yourself!

This is just one example, but you could mispronounce English words on countless other occasions, and it could become impossible for a native speaker to understand you. On many occasions, you will have to spell it, and if you don't know the alphabet, it will be impossible for you to make yourself understand.

For example, if someone wants to write your name, they may ask you, "Could you please spell your name?" If you cannot pronounce the individual letters in English, confusion and misunderstanding could be created.

In short, it would be a shame to study grammar and words but then fail to communicate due to a pronunciation problem. This is why it is important to start from the alphabet, check each letter and its pronunciation.

The phonetics of the English alphabet

Now that you understand why it is important to learn how to pronounce the English alphabet correctly let's get started!

Below we will see the English phonetics of the alphabet. In the first column, you will have the letter, the second the phonetic transcription, and the third the pronunciation (i.e., a "macaronic" transcription that explains how to pronounce the corresponding letter).

Letter Phonetic transcription Italian pronunciation of the English alphabet Example: word containing the sound

A [ei] I say

B [bi:] B bin

C [yes:] Yes circus

D [of:] Of dictionary

And [i:] I see

F [ef] Ef flower

G [dji:] G general

H [eitʃ] Eich hotel

I [ai] Ai microphone

J [djei] Gei juggler

K [kei] Chei make

L [el] El smile

M [em] Em calm

N [en] En train

O [ou] Ou boy

P [pi:] P keep

Q [kju:] Chiu queue

R [a] Ar perfect

S [es] Es prison

T [ti:] T count

U [ju:] Iu universe

V [vi:] V starve

W [dUblju:] Dabliù will

X [eks] Ex xylophone

Y [wai] Uai yogurt

Z [zed] Zed crazy

In English, words are often not pronounced the same way they are spelled. However, some phonetic symbols correspond to pronunciations. Here they are the complete list with example words.

The 44 sounds of English:

iː: sheep - eagle - field

ɪ: ship - busy - started

ʊ: goodput - should

uː: moon - grew - through

ɪə: ear - here - career

eɪ: train - say - plane

e: bed - dead - said

ə: about - police - the

ɜː: bird - hurt - work

ɔː: door - walk - saw

ʊə: your - dure - tourist

ɔɪ: boy - point - oil

əʊ: coat - low - note

æ: apple - cat - mad

ʌ: up - money - cut

ɑː: car - bath - safari

ɒ: not - what - because

eə: hair - careful - there

aɪ: by - high - fine

aʊ: now - our - house

p: pen - hopping - jump

b: ball - hobby - herb

t: table - little-watched

d: dog - added - played

tʃ: chips - itch - picture

dʒ: jam - danger - fudge

k: key - car - luck

g: green - hug - league

f: fire - laugh - phone

v: video - move - of

θ: thick - healthy - teeth

ð: mother - this - with

s: see - city - notice

z: zebra - cozy - has

ʃ: shop - nation - special

ʒ: television - visual - leisure

m: man - tummy - lamb

n: no - funny - knife

ŋ: sing - uncle - angry

j: yes - onion - view

l: light - smelly - feel

r: right - berry - wrong

w: win - where - one

h: house - hungry - who

Tips for memorizing and remembering the English alphabet

Previously, you have seen the phonetic transcription and pronunciation of each letter of the English alphabet, with all 44 English sounds. Let's now see some tips and tricks for learning and remembering it!

First of all, remember that the English alphabet comprises 26 letters, of which 5 are vowels and 21 are consonants.

Let's start with the vowels. For example, A, E, I, O, U. To learn them and repeat them, you can use videos and songs, like the one you find at this link, which also explains the different pronunciations depending on the words.

Studying the alphabet following the order is undoubtedly an excellent method to memorize it more easily. Also, when you study it, try to associate each letter with a word that contains it or, even better, that begins with that letter.

To learn both British and American pronunciation, you can study with some videos, like this one. In addition, there are many resources and exercises to learn how to write and pronounce the English alphabet letters. Practicing is a great way to memorize the alphabet and write letters following the order and say them aloud as you write them!

The most common symbols in English and their pronunciation

In addition to the alphabet letters, it is helpful to know the most common symbols and punctuation marks and what they are called in English.

In the following, you will find the most used symbols on social networks, written texts, and computer language.

English Italian font

@ At Chiocciola

\ Backslash Backslash

* Asterisk Asterisk

[] () {} Brackets Parenthesis

• Bullet

© Copyright

# Hash

% Percent

_ Underscore

® Registered Trademark

/ Slash

"Quotation marks Quotation marks

'Apostroph

+ Plus

- Minus

. Period

<Less than Minor

> Greater than Greater

, Comma Comma

! Exclamation mark

? Question mark Question mark

; Semicolon Semicolon

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