some hints to learn Italian pronunciation
Posted by Monica on June 25, 2011
Why when I try to speak Italian, Italian people can’t understand me?
You need some help, so today I give you some quick hints to learn Italian pronunciation.
First of all in Italian we pronounce the most of the letter exactly because Italian is a phonetic language, which means that it is spoken the way it is written 😉
Italian and English share the Latin alphabet, but the sounds represented by the letters often are very different in the two languages.
All Italian vowels have a clear and defined sound, and when two or three vowels meet, they maintain their distinct sound, like in “ciao“ or “aiuto (=help)”: they are never slurred.
In addition to this, remember: Italian words end in a vowel and you must pronounce them according to the International Phonetic Alphabet!
Moreover, in Italian all consonants except “h” can be doubled. Double consonants are pronounced much more strongly than single consonants.
Some very important difference:
“C” is pronounced /t∫ / when it comes before “i” and “e” but /k/ when it comes before “a”; “o”; “u”
So, “C” before “a”, “o”, “u” and before consonants has a sound similar to the English k (-> Caffè; Coca cola; cuore; crema), but “C” before “e” and “i” has a sound similar to the English ch as in church instead (-> Ciao; cena).
“H ” is very important after “c” and “g”, but is silent at the begin of a word instead.
“G” is pronounced /dʒ / when it comes before “i” and “e” (-> Gelato; Germania; giorno), but /g/ when it comes before “a”; “o”; “u” (-> gatto; golf; gusto)
So “G” before “a”, “o”, and “u” and before consonants has a sound like the g in good; but before “e” and “i” has a sound like the g in general.
“Gli” is like lj or ll in million and
“Gn” is like the ny in canyon so, I like “gli gnocchi”
“R” is very different from the English r; it is always pronounced with one flip of the tongue against the gums of the upper teeth (the alveolar ridge): this is the famous Italian trilled r with vibrations.
Now listen to the Italian songs on this page [go]: enjoy these songs with karaoke 😉
Remember: listen to and sing Italian songs in this way you can develop your listening and comprehension skills!