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.
Make sure you pronounce the final -EH sound. Which is NOT an -EE sound!
In Italian CHE is ALWAYS pronounced KE (just like CHI is always pronounced KI)
SCI is always pronounced SH in Italian, so SCIU sounds SHOO (kinda like “shoe”)
In Italian double T sounds like a strong T. It does not become a D sound.
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.
Like all words that end in -E, the final -EH sound must be pronounced. VER-SAH-CHEH
Don’t forget the doubt T sound and the final -EH
Again, the final -EH!
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!
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!
Double N and double T. Are you pronouncing them? Also, focus on pronouncing very clear and open vowels!
SCA sounds like like that, SKAH! And the final -EH, of course!
Keep focusing on the vowels. Do you have a clean and open A – O – A – A (of cArbOnArA)?
You know the secret now. Final -EH sound!
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!