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  • Italian in Thirty Short Lessons
    Italiano in Trenta Brevi Lezioni
    by Giancarlo v. Nacher Malvaioli

    Second Lesson
    Lezione Seconda (le-ZIÓ-ne) (se-CÓN-da)

    PHONETICS/FONETICA (fo-NÈ-tica)

    ca-cu-co hard like English in ka(ki)-coo(k)-(al)co(hol)

    chi-che hard like English in kee-ke(nnedy)

    ci-ce soft like English in chee-che(ck)

    é acute accent (closed) like English e in (ad)e(quate) or (op)e(n)

    è grave accent (open) like English e in chess

    gi-ge soft like English gin-ge(neral)

    ghi-ghe hard like English gui(lty)-gue(st)

    ga-go-gu hard like English garden, golf, good

    gn - like English canyon o gn in Franch or in Spanish

    gli like ll in northern Spain, or similar to English (mi)lli(on)

    *few names are exceptions and pronunciation is like in English anglican, glicin, negligent, gerogliphic = anglicano (angliCAno), glicine (GLIcine), negligente (negliGENTe), geroglifico (geroGLIfico).

    gle-glo-gla-glu like in English gla(d)-glo(rious)-gla(ss)-gloo(m)

    ó acute accent (closed) like English in (c)o(ld)

    ò grave accent (open) like English in o(il)

    s has the sound of English (plea)s(e) in some words and the sound of English s(olid) in other words

    sci-sce like in English sh

    sca-sco-scu-schi-sche have the English sounds of sk (remember the vowels have the Italian pronounciation of a-o-u-i-e)

    z has the sound of English z(eal) in some words and the sound of English z(oom) in other words.

    • In Italian all the consonants can be double in many words and they must be pronounced with a prolongation (or extension) of the sound of the first consonant; examples: sasso (sas-so), little stone; cappello (cap-pel-lo), hat; terra (ter-ra), land; acciaio (ac-ciaio), steel; mucchio (muc-chio), heap; oggetto (og-get-to), object; macchina (mac-china), car; nazionalizzazione (nazionaliz-zazione), nationalization; gatto-(gat-to), cat.
    • There are many words that change meaning depending if they have one or two identic cosonants; examples: pala (shovel), palla (ball), nono (ninth), nonno (grandfather), sono (I am or they are), sonno (sleep).
    • There are many words that change meaning if e or o are grave (open) or acute (closed): è-é-ò-ó; examples: pesca (pèsca) peach; pesca (pésca) fishing; colto(còlto) picked up; colto (cólto) cultivated; venti (vènti) winds; venti (vénti) twenty.
    • A good deal of Italian words are plain or flat (piane), that is the tonic stress is in the penultimate syllable, but there are many words that are stressed on the antepenultimate syllable or in a syllable before the antepenultimate (SDRUcciole e bisDRUcciole), the diccionary may help you; examples: ANima, (soul); BAMbola, (doll); ALbero, (tree); biBLIOfilo, (bibliophile); fiLOsofo, (philosopher); CHImica, (chemistry); DANdomeli, (giving them to me); ricorDANdotelo, (reminding it to you).

    • In Italian tonic stress is not marked, the dictionary can help you.
    • From now on I will capitalize (to help you) only syllabes that have tonic stress in the antepenultimate syllable and before the antepenultimate, not flat words.

    • Graphic stress is indicated by accent mark in the acute (troncated) words, that is when the accent mark is in the last vowel) bontà, virtù, città, perché (goodness, virtue, city, why or because), and in certain monosilabs to distinguish them from others alike but wih different meaning: è (you are); e (and); (there); la (the); (there); li (the).

    Print This Lesson

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    Index/Indice
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