How to Pronounce Vowels in Italian

Learn how to pronounce a, e, i, o, and u

Learning vowels in Italian
Vowels in Italian. Hoxton/Tom Merton

Italian pronunciation might pose some difficulties for the beginner. Yet it is very regular, and once the rules are understood, it is easy to pronounce each word correctly. Italian vowels (le vocali) are short, clear–cut, and are never drawn out.

The "glide," with which English vowels frequently end, should be avoided. Finally, it should be noted that the vowels a, i, and u, are always pronounced the same way.

E and o, on the other hand, have an open and a closed sound that may vary from .

How to Pronounce Vowels

  1. A—sounds like a in father

  2. E—has two sounds: short vowel like e in pen; long vowel, similar to ai in fair

  3. I—sounds like ea in tea or i in marine

  4. O—has two sounds: like o in cozy or similar to o in cost

  5. U—sounds like u in rude

Tips:

  1. Italian vowels are always articulated in a sharp, clear fashion, regardless of stress. They are never slurred or pronounced weakly.

  2. Vowels (a,e,i,o,u) always retain their value in diphthongs.

  3. Italian is a phonetic language, which means that it is spoken the way it is written. Italian and English share the Latin alphabet, but the sounds represented by the letters often differ considerably in the two languages.

 

Examples of Vowels

a is like a in the English word ah!

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • casa  house

  • antipasto  appetizer

  • ama  loves

  • banana  banana

  • sala  hall

  • Papa  Pope

  • fama  fame

  • pasta  pasta; dough; pastry

e is sometimes like e in the English word they (without the final i glide).

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • e  and

  • beve  drinks

  • me  me

  • fede  faith

  • vede  sees

  • mele  apples

  • sete  thirst

  • pepe  pepper

e is sometimes like e in the word met.

This is the open e.

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • è  is

  • lento  slow

  • bene  well

  • festa  party; holiday

  • sedia  chair

  • presto  soon

  • vento  wind

  •  tea

i is like i in machine.

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • libri  books

  • bimbi  children

  • vini  wines

  • violini  violins

  • tini  vats

  • pini  pines

o is sometimes like o in the English word oh!.

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • o  or

  • dono  gift

  • nome  name

  • solo  alone

  • posto  place

  • tondo  round

  • volo  flight

  • mondo  world

o is sometimes like o in or. This is the open o.

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • moda  fashion

  • toga  toga

  • no  no

  • oro  gold

  • posta  mail

  • brodo  broth

  • cosa  thing

  • trono  throne

  • rosa  rose

  • olio  oil

u is like u in rule.

Here are some examples in Italian with an English translation.

  • luna  moon

  • fungo  mushroom

  • uno  one

  • lungo  long

  • fuga  fugue

  • mulo  mule

  • uso  use

  • tubo  tube