Can you order a cappuccino instead of a “capuchino” using the right Italian sounds?
There are some few basic rules for pronouncing correctly Italian words. Italian is less complicated than other common European languages. That’s because the Italian language is a pure and modern version of Latin, coming straight from the Tuscan literary language, which during the centuries following the end of the Roman Empire had less “contamination” from “barbaric” languages.
The Italian alphabet has just 21 letters, since j, k, w, x, and y are used only in foreign words recently adopted in the Italian vocabulary, like jeans, wifi, baby sitter, marketing, etc. Italian vowels are A E I O U. Listen to their sound:
The letter H is quite unique, since generally it’s not pronounced in the spoken language, but it is fundamental for creating some sounds. For example, “I have” in Italian is “io ho”, where “ho” is not pronounced like “holiday”, but like “Oregon”. GElato and spaGHEtti are simple and effective examples of how the letter H changes the sounds of syllables. Listen how a native speaker says these words correctly.
Another example where H creates sounds is CHI, like CHItarra, guitar, where we also have a double R. Double consonants give a stronger tone to the sound. Please listen and repeat.
Let’s find out some tricky words and Italian sounds you wouldn’t guess just reading them.
We are sure you would like to have some fantastic food in Italy. If you want to order some fish, you should call it pesce. SCE in italian is pronounced like shame. Two or more fish are pesci and SCI is pronounced like she in English. Listen and repeat.
The last tip of today about tricky Italian sounds is the hybrid sound GLI, where G and L are smoothly blended together. For example, the Italian word for family is famiglia. Listen carefully and catch the sound GLI.
Let’s wrap up today’s learnings. Please try to read and pronounce correctly the following syllables and then listen to the correct sound to adjust. Finally, solve the simple quiz below.
SCE-SCI — GLI
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