B sound in Italian

B is a consonant. How do you pronounce B in Italian? Read on to find out.

How to pronounce B in Italian

B is always pronounced in the same way, no matter its position in the word. It sounds like the b in back or auburn.

Its IPA symbol is /b/.

B
B sound

Examples:

Banana, barca, brace, calabrone, bambola
(/baˈnana/, /ˈbarka/, /ˈbraʧe/, /kalaˈbrone/, /ˈbambola/)
Banana, boat, ember, hornet, doll

two people on a boat

Length of the B sound

The B sound in Italian can be single or double.

Italian pronunciation tantrums: what’s up with those double consonants?
These double consonants are called geminates. English uses them only in the written language: a word like tabby, as in tabby cat, is pronounced as if it were actually “taby” and not as “tab-bee”.

Italian geminates, on the other hand, are longer in quality than single consonants, as if they were “doubled”.

Not all Italian consonants can be doubled.

It is double when it’s written as bb. You won’t find a double consonant at the beginning of an Italian word, but always in the middle. For example…

Babbano
(/baˈbbano/)
Muggle

Listen closely. The second “b” in Babbano is double and it has a longer sound. Here are some other examples:

Babbo, babbuino, labbro
(/ˈbabbo/, /babbuˈino/, /ˈlabbro/)
Dad, baboon, lip

a smiling baboon

Other Italian words with the B sound

Arbusto
(/arˈbusto/)
Shrub

Carbone
(/karˈbone/)
Coal

Bordo
(/ˈbordo/)
Edge

Ballo
(/ˈballo/)
Dance

Bomba
(/ˈbomba/)
Bomb

Fabbro
(/ˈfabbro/)
Blacksmith

two blacksmiths working

Your turn!

Pronounce each given word.

Easy


Hard


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