Self Improvement Planet
A Speech Bubble Containing Scrunched Up Paper for Ellipses

Top 3 Italian Pronunciation Mistakes Beginners Make

Some English spellings can be so removed from their pronunciation that even native speakers have trouble getting them right. Fortunately, natives and non-natives don’t have to face the same predicament when learning Italian. Italian words are largely spoken as they are written.

However, mistakes, while rare, may still persist. Here are some of them.

1.    Not Holding on to the Double Consonants

Double consonants in English words like ‘gutter’, ‘rubber’, and ‘mutter’ are largely pronounced like single consonants without a change in meaning. However, in Italian, the same practice could lead to confusing one word for another.

Most pronunciation mistakes in Italian arise from the conventions you’re used to following in English. One such mistake is not doubling up on or prolonging double consonant words in Italian like cassa, pappa, and so on. As a language written the way it’s spoken, Italian makes each sound count for something, which is why you can’t miss any of them.

2.    Assuming Each Letter Has One Corresponding Sound

If you’re an English speaker, you know there’s more than one way to pronounce the same letter. Therefore, you might be confused as to which one applies to the Italian language. The good news is, you might be able to use both of them in Italian. The bad news, there are set rules and exceptions to those rules you need to memorize.

Be that as it may, let’s look at how English and Italian use the sounds for the letter ‘g’ as an example.

English

  • The ‘g’ in ‘giraffe’ is pronounced like the ‘j’ in ‘jug’.
  • The ‘g’ in ‘gaffe’ is pronounced like the ‘g’ in ‘game’.

Italian

  • The ‘g’ in gioco (game) is pronounced like the ‘j’ in ‘jug’.
  • The ‘g’ in grinta(grit) is pronounced like the ‘g’ in ‘game’.

A List of English Words with Letters Emboldened and Phonetically Transcribed

3.    Not Rolling in the Deep

Most of you would’ve watched plenty of movies with ‘Italian speakers’ doing a rather poor job at pronouncing the trilled ‘r’. Rolling your ‘r’ sound may not be easy when you’re an English speaker, but it’s not impossible. All you have to do is position your tongue like a native Italian. Here’s how:

  • Involve your lips, tongue, roof, and teeth.
  • Relax your tongue, and bring it within touching distance of your front teeth and roof.
  • Do not let the roof and tongue touch or you’ll interrupt the vibration.
  • To make the sound, tap the tongue lightly against the back of your front teeth.

Learn Italian by Listening to It

You’re not born speaking a language; it comes to you from experience, which is why it’s never too late to learn Italian by reading and listening to it on Arianna Maria Giliberto’s learning platform. Pick up an audiobook online or read a short story to start your language learning journey today.

Reach out to Arianna for questions related to learning grammar and vocabulary.

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