How to Pronounce Vowels in Italian

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

Woman studying vowels in Italian

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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