14 Italian Words You Are Mispronouncing (and how to fix that!)

By Manu Venditti | All Levels

Jul 04

 

There are a ton of Italian words used daily in the English language, but they are often mispronounced.
Or, to say it better, the way these words are pronounced in English is different from the way they are pronounced in Italy!

In this video we look at a few of these words, and we help you getting the pronunciation right.

GRAZIE
Make sure you pronounce the final -EH sound. Which is NOT an -EE sound!

BRUSHCETTA
In Italian CHE is ALWAYS pronounced KE (just like CHI is always pronounced KI)

PROSCIUTTO
SCI is always pronounced SH in Italian, so SCIU sounds SHOO (kinda like “shoe”)

SPAGHETTI
In Italian double T sounds like a strong T. It does not become a D sound.

PARMIGIANO
GI always sounds like a DJ sound (as in “John”). When it’s by itself (meaning, not followed by other vowels) it’s pronounced GEE. When it is followed by another vowel, the “E” sound disappears and makes room to the next vowel. In this case GIA sounds DJA.

VERSACE
Like all words that end in -E, the final -EH sound must be pronounced. VER-SAH-CHEH

FETTUCCINE
Don’t forget the doubt T sound and the final -EH

MINESTRONE
Again, the final -EH!

GNOCCHI
Two things here. GN never sounds G-N in Italian! It’s a very nasal sound (that doesn’t exist in English, the closest being the N in ONION). Then the CHI which, as you know by now, should be pronounced KEE. But with a stronger K this time, because of the double C in the Italian word!

TAGLIATELLE
The GLI sound is very guttural sound sometimes hard to produce, but suffice it to know that GLI does NOT (in most cases) sound G-L in Italian. It is actually pronounced like a superstrong Y.
When followed by another vowel it blends with it, creating something like YA in TAGLIATELLE. Don’t forget the final -EH!

PANNA COTTA
Double N and double T. Are you pronouncing them? Also, focus on pronouncing very clear and open vowels!

MASCARPONE
SCA sounds like like that, SKAH! And the final -EH, of course!

CARBONARA
Keep focusing on the vowels. Do you have a clean and open A – O – A – A (of cArbOnArA)?

CALZONE
You know the secret now. Final -EH sound!

CRESCENDO
SCE sounds ‘SHEH” (and is “shed”). Make sure your final -O is a clean shark -O sound. Don’t turn it into a U sound!

Benissimo! Bravo! Well done!
Now remember that Italian is a very consistent language, so what you have just learned will apply to any other word you encounter with similar spelling and combinations of sounds!

Looking for a Structured, Ongoing program to Learn Italian? Check out 'From Zero to Italian' then!