How To Pronounce Italian Words

Trattoria da Gigio
Yulia-Images/Moment/Getty Images

You love those melodious sounds at the opera, and listening to the voices of those Italian stars in foreign films is an aural thrill. These quick, step-by-step instructions on how to pronounce Italian words will help you to sound like you were born in «il bel paese».

Difficulty: Hard

Time Required: One month

Here's How:

  1. Usually, Italian words are stressed on the next-to-the-last syllable.
  2. When the final -e is dropped from a word, as happens with some masculine titles when they are directly followed by a proper name, the position of the stress remains unchanged.
  1. Following the above rule, dottore/doctor becomes dottor Nardi/Doctor Nardi and professore/professor becomes professor Pace/Professor Pace.
  2. When words are stressed on the last vowel, they always have a written accent over that vowel. For instance, cioè (namely) and città (city).

Tips:

  1. It is useful to remember that open e and o occur only in stressed syllables.
  2. The written accent is used with a few monosyllables in order to distinguish them from others that have the same spelling but a different meaning.