Le parole sdrucciole – the stress on Italian words.

The stress on Italian words can be on different syllables. Let’s learn different scenarios and rules.

  • Accento piano. (plain stress)

The vast majority of Italian words has the stress on the penultimate syllable, hence the musical cadence of our language. If you have doubts on a word and need to guess, that’s the easiest way to go. – e.g – Lavoro, Matita, Spaghetti, Vacanza…

  • Accento sdrucciolo. (third to last)

The stress is on the terzultima sillaba, third to last, and it’s not uncommon. There are rules helping us to identify this family of words. Please see below. – e.g. – Nuvola, Davide, Napoli, Gomito …

  • Accento tronco. (truncated stress)

The stress is on the last syllable. In this case, we have to write it. Some words are: città, perché, vanità, caffè

In some rare cases, the stress can fall on onte fourth or fifth to last syllable.

Le parole sdrucciole

The most confusing and consistent group of words after the parole piane is the parole sdrucciole, with the stress on the third to last syllable. We can identify some predictable patterns typical of the sdrucciole words.

  • Nouns and adjectives ending in -abile, -aceo, -evole, -ibile, -ilico, -ognolo, -oide, -esimo:

e.g. – mangiabile, violaceo, confortevole, impossibile, basilico, verdognolo, celluloide, undicesimo.

  • Words ending in -agine, -aggine, -edine, -igine, -iggine, -udine, -uggine:

e.g. voragine, stupidaggine, salsedine, origine, lentiggine, solitudine, ruggine.

  • Words or Greek origin ending in -cefalo, -crate, -gamo, -geno, -mane, -stato, -ttero:

e.g. macrocefalo, burocrate, poligamo, ansiogeno, megalomane, termostato, elicottero.

  • Words of Latin origin ending in -fero, -fugo,-pede, -voro:

e.g. calorifero, ignifugo, palmipede, carnivoro.

Experience will help you to understand and remember when the stress is not piano. If you have questions, get in touch with comments or email. Thanks for reading.

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Riccardo
Milanese, graduated in Italian literature a long time ago, I began teaching Italian online in Japan back in 2003. I usually spend winter in Tokyo and go back to Italy when the cherry blossoms shed their petals.

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Dani
Dani
1 year ago

Hi Riccardo,

Two questions for you, first, and this is just from my time in Venezuela, where the word “esdrújula” (Spanish for sdrucciolo) bears the accent on the antepenultimate syllable – is “sdrucciolo” accented on the penultimate or antepenultimate syllable? Second, and this is the quest that landed me on your helpful site… In your experience, is “Medici” (as in Caterina de Medici) pronounced as piano or tronco?

Last edited 1 year ago by Dani
Giorgio
Giorgio
1 year ago

L’articolo mi piace.
Sono capitato qui perché cercavo di capire come mai c’è differenza di accento fra isòbara e isocòra. Entrambe le parole sono composte da “iso” + qualcosa che deriva dal greco e non vedo (nella mia ignoranza) ragioni per cui l’accento dovrebbe essere diverso: stesso numero di lettere dopo “iso”, vocali e consonanti disposte nello stesso ordine…
C’è qualche regola o è semplicemente l’uso invalso che determina l’accento?
Grazie se potrai rispondere.

Paola Scarpini
Paola Scarpini
2 years ago

Pagina ben fatta e molto chiara.

Don`t copy text!
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