PRONOUNCING ITALIAN VOWELS
Also, when vowels are grouped together in a word, they are always pronounced separately.
The approximate English equivalents are as follows:
- a-A: This letter denotes a single sound, whose pronunciation is always similar to an English a in cat, fact, black; an "o" in how, cloud, house, mouse. Also, It sounds like the word “a” in the English word ah! Examples:
- Casa » house.
- Amore » love.
- Fama » fame.
- Pasta » pasta, dough, pastry.
- e-E: This vowel has two pronunciations:
As an English “a” in hay, layer, may (this is popularly called a narrow "e" or closed "e")
- Bere » to drink.
- e » and.
- Fede » faith.
- Me » me.
As an English "e" in send, met, tent, hen (this one is popularly called a wide "e" or open "e").
- Bene » well.
- Vento » wind.
- è » is.
- Festa » party; holiday.
- i-I: This vowel always sounds as an English y in yellow, troyan. A similar sound is that of English ee in fleet, seem, but the length of the Italian sound is shorter. Examples:
- Invidiare » to envy.
- Bimbo » child.
- Libro » book.
- Vino » wine.
- o-O: This vowel has two pronunciations:
Always as an English "o", in some cases with a "narrow" or "closed" sound as in blow, soul, row. Examples:
- Dono » gift.
- Mondo » world.
- Nome » name.
- o » or.
Sometimes with a "wide" or "open" sound as in cloth, spot, dog. Examples:
- Moda » fashion.
- No » no.
- Brodo » broth.
- Olio » oil.
- u-U: This vowel’s sound is similar to an English "u" in rule or "w" in win, rowing. But u is a vowel, while w is a consonant. Examples:
- Fungo » mushroom.
- Luna » moon.
- Lungo » long.
- Uno » one.
Diphthongs Triphthongs & Word Elision:
In italian a diphthong is formed by any vowel preceded or followed by an unstressed closed vowel ('i' or 'u'):ia, ie, io, ai, ei, oi, ua, ue, uo, au, eu, ou, iu, ui. They are always pronounced maintaining the sounds of the individual vowels, and the closed vowel plays the role of a semivowel or a glide.