Diphthongs (i dittonghi) are two vowels fused to emit a single sound. A diphthong is formed when an unstressed i or u combines with another vowel (a, e, o) or when the two vowels combine with each other, in which case either the i or u may remain unstressed. In diphthongs, unstressed i and u become semivowels approximating in sound the English consonants y and w, respectively. Examples:
Italian diphthongs are always pronounced maintaining the sound og the individual vowels, and the closed vowel plays the role of a semivowel or a glide. You should pronounce diphthongs as follows:
Triphthongs also exist. These are sequences of three vowels with a single sound, usually a diphthong followed by an unstressed i. Examples:
In the other hand, Italian has numerous words that contain sequences of vowels. The following words are not triphthongs (which are infrequent), but sequences of a vowel and a diphthong. Examples:
Each of the words below has a sequence of two diphthongs:
Elision is the omission (leaving out) of letters in between words, usually to make pronunciation easier.
The final vowel of an Italian word will often be dropped before a word being with an initial vowel and, in some instances, replaced with an apostrophe. This linking is called elision and is done to make a smooth transition from one word to the text. The vowel pronunciation and stressing remain the same.
The infinitives and masculine nouns may drop the final e without writing an apostrophe, cf.: