Italian School of Dallas
Learn Italian with the Italian School of Dallas!

Pronunciation




Italian is a fairly easy language to pronounce.  Once you learn the following sounds, you should be able to pronounce any word without difficulty. 
Just remember: enunciate clearly and open your mouth wide. 

Pronunciation Tips

Vowels

Each vowel in Italian is pronounced clearly and distinctly and always has the same sound:


A [ah] as in father or party


E [ay] as in let or get


I [ee] as in police


O [oh] as in cold or gold


U [oo] as in noon or soon

 

Now practice:

mare (sea); borsa (bag, purse); riso (rice); cuore (heart); muro (wall); bambino (child); ristorante (restaurant);  penna (pen); cameriere (waiter); libro (book); burro (butter); uova (eggs); uomo (man); sole (sun); buongiorno (good morning); sera (evening)



Consonants


Many consonants sounds are similar to English, but there are a few exceptions:

c [ch] (before e or i) as in church: cena (dinner); cipolla (onion); cinema; merce (goods); camicetta (blouse)


c [k] (before a, o and u) as in cat: casa (house, home); cuore (heart); biscotto (cookie); camicetta (blouse) 


ch [k] (also before e or i) as cat: chiesa (church); che (what, who); perchè (why, or because) 


  

sc [sh] (before e or i) as in fish: pesce (fish);  sciare (skiing)


sc [sk] (before a, ou, or h) as in scout: scatola (box); scuola (school); scoprire (to discover); scusi (excuse me)



g [j] (before e or i) as in joy: gelato (ice cream);gioco (game)   


g [gh] (before a, o or u) as in go: gatto (cat); guerra 

(war); negozio (store, shop); 


z [ts] (always) as in pits or adds: pizza; stazione (station); 

polizia (police); ragazzo (boy, young man)

 

h at the beginning of a word is always silent: hanno (they have); ho (i have); hotel


r is always a trilled sound made with the tongue against the 

ridge behind the upper teeth: ristorante (restaurant); forchetta (fork); ravioli; riso (rice); barca (boat); 


gli [yee] as in scallion: figlio (son); bottiglia (bottle); conigli

(rabbit); biglietto (ticket)  


gn [nje] as in canyon: ogni (each); gnocchi; sogno (dream); ragno (spider); bagno (restroom)


 

Remember:

When you have a double consonant you need to prolong and strengthen the sound and then shorten the vowel that follows:

macchina (car); pelle (leather, skin); penne (pens); anno (year); bottiglia (bottle); ragazzo (boy, young man); spaghetti; capelli (hair); cappelli (hats); assaggio (taste); biglietto (ticket); mamma (mom, mother)


Also, an accent over a vowel sometimes indicates a stressed syllable, as in città (city), or is simply used to distinguish words, as in e (and) and è (is). The apostrophe is sometimes used in Italian to mark the omission of a vowel. For example, when the word dove (where) is combined with è (is), the e in dove is dropped: Dov' è? (Where is?)