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Italian is a very phonetic language, so pronunciation should
be easy. Most words are pronounced exactly like they are spelled.
There are only seven pure vowels, but several diphthongs and triphthongs.
The English samples given are not pronounced exactly as in Italian because English vowels tend to be diphthongized (there's an extra yuh or wuh after the actual vowel). Make sure to only say the pure vowel and not the diphthong when pronouncing Italian.
|[i]||vita||ee as in meet|
|[e]||vedi||ay as in bait|
|[ɛ]||era||eh as in bet|
|[a]||cane||ah as in father|
|[u]||uva||oo as in boot|
|[o]||sole||oh as in boat|
|[ɔ]||modo||aw as in law|
|[w]||quando, uomo||wuh as in won|
|[j]||piano, ieri, piove||yuh as in yes|
In spelling, the letter e is used to represent both [e] and [ɛ]; while the letter o is used to represent both [o] and [ɔ]. If the vowel is stressed, then the pronunciation is always closed [e] and [o]. If the vowel is not stressed, it is always open [ɛ] and [ɔ]. This can change according to regional dialects in Italy, of course, but this is the standard rule. Italian semi-vowels are always written ua, ue, uo, ui for [w] and ia, ie, io, iu for [j]. If another vowel precedes u or i, then it is a diphthong: ai, ei, oi, au, eu. The combination iu + another vowel creates a triphthong.
|c + a, o, u, he, hi||k||amica, amico, amiche||ah-mee-kah, ah-mee-koh, ah-mee-keh|
|c + ia, io, iu, e, i||ch||bacio, celebre, cinema||bah-cho, cheh-leh-breh, chee-neh-mah|
|g + a, o, u, he, hi||g||gara, gusto, spaghetti||gah-rah, goo-stoh, spah-geh-tee|
|g + ia, io, iu, e, i||dj||Giotto, gelato, magico||djoh-toh, djeh-lah-toh, mah-djee-koh|
|sc + a, o, u, he, hi||sk||scala, scuola, scheda||skah-lah, skoo-oh-la, skeh-dah|
|sc + ia, io, iu, e, i||sh||sciarpa, sciupato, scemo||shar-pah, shoo-pah-toh, sheh-moh|
The consonant h is always silent. Double consonants must be pronounced individually: il nonno (eel nohn-noh) is pronounced differently from il nono (eel noh-noh).
Stress falls on the second-to-last syllable in Italian. If stress falls on the last syllable, the vowel is written with an accent mark (la città). However, it is also possible for the stress to fall on the third-to-last syllable (America, telefono) and even the fourth-to-last syllable (telefonano) in third person plural verb conjugations.
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