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When studying a language, pronunciation is one of the major obstacles, especially if your mother tongue is very different from it. What about Italian? For native-English speakers, it can be quite difficult. Just think about their “r”… terrifying, isn’t it? Well, not really. In this article we’ll give you some useful tips to improve your italian pronunciation! You’ll discover:

  • Why it’s important to have a good pronunciation;
  • Tips for a perfect Italian pronunciation;
  • Phonetic symbols for Italian consonants;
  • Phonetic symbols for Italian vowels and diphthongs;
  • Where you can find pronunciation exercises;
  • How to improve your Italian with Global General.

Eager to find out more? Read the article and discover how to improve your Italian pronunciation and speak like a native!

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Why Is It So Important to Have a Good Pronunciation?

Learning Italian and its pronunciation from scratch has many advantages. Pronunciation in particular is a very important aspect to consider when learning a language. Italian pronunciation can be pretty difficult, since it’s quite different from English. Nevertheless, it’s really important to learn to pronounce Italian correctly. Even if some Italian words look similar to English in their written form, as far as pronunciation goes, there are lots of differences between the two languages. Indeed, some sounds are so unique to Italian, they can seem hard to learn.

Learning the proper pronunciation is essential to read correctly, understand Italian speakers and be able to be understood by them when speaking. You need to learn how to pronounce every sound and you need to memorize some phonetic rules. If you really want to learn Italian, you can’t forget pronunciation: it’s a living language, so you’ll need to speak it! When talking to native people, you have to understand what they say and to be able to reply correctly with the proper accent and pronunciation so that they can understand you. What’s more, don’t you want to impress your native Italian friends with a perfect Italian accent on your next visit to Italy!


Tips to Keep In Mind for a Perfect Italian Pronunciation

If you want to speak Italian like a native with the proper accent and pronunciation, you should definitely follow these 5 tips!

Listen to native-Italian speakers

Listening to native speakers is probably the best way to learn proper pronunciation. Look for YouTube channels and podcasts, or watch movies and TV series in Italian, to get used to the authentic accent. Focus on the pronunciation and try to memorize it. You can put English subtitles at the beginning, then switch them to Italian and finally switch them off!

Repeat out loud

So, you found some interesting podcasts and engaging TV series in Italian. Why don’t you try to repeat out loud what they say? Pause the video and repeat a couple of sentences they just said, or rewind a few seconds, put the subtitles and read them with your best Italian pronunciation.

Focus on accent and intonation

While speaking, don’t worry if you make a couple of grammar mistakes. Focus on your accent and pronunciation, trying to sound like a native Italian. Once your accent has improved, you can try to put it all together: grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation! However, do not forget that you must learn the Italian alphabet and each letter’s pronunciation before focusing on the other things.

Learn the sounds “gn”, “gl”, “ch/gh”

Some sounds in Italian are actually a bit difficult. For example the sound “gn” and “gl” don’t exist in English, so it will take you some time to learn how to pronounce them. You can find them in some words like “ignorare” (to ignore) and “bottiglia” (bottle). Other sounds we don’t have in English are “ch” and “gh”, like in the words “chiamare” (to call) and “ghiaccio” (ice).

Speak with a native

To improve your accent, a very effective method is to speak with a native. Where to meet one? Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to Italy to find native-Italian speakers. Nowadays technology allows us to communicate with people who live very far away. You can use websites like Conversation Exchange to look for an Italian friend to talk to and practice your Italian accent! He will correct you and give you useful tips to improve your pronunciation!

Phonetic Symbols for Italian Consonants: Complete List

In the Italian alphabet there are 21 letters: 16 consonants and 5 vowels. But, as you can see in the following chart, the 16 consonants actually produce more sounds. Let’s take a look at them and let’s also see some examples with their translations.

Phonetic symbolPronunciation of the symbolExampleTranslation 
/b//b/bella, benebeautiful, good
/d//d/dove, codawhere, tail
/f//f/farfalla, farebutterfly, to do
/g//g/galleria, grandegallery, big
/k//k/casa, corsahome, ride
/ʎ//ʎ/taglio, bottigliacut, bottle
/m//m/madre, mitomother, myth
/n//n/nido, naturanest, nature
/ŋ//ŋ/tronco, ancoratrunk, again
/ɲ//ɲ/campagna, gnomocountryside, gnome
/p//p/palla, pipa, papàball, pipe, dad
/ɾ//ɾ/amore, farelove, to do
/ɾɾ//ɾɾ/torre, arrabbiatotower, angry
/s//s/suolo, salesoil, salt
/ʃ//ʃ/scelta, asciachoice, axe
/tʃ//tʃ/faccia, cieloface, sky
/ts//ts/marzo, azionemarch, action
/d͡ʒ//d͡ʒ/gioco, giaccagame, jacket
/t//t/tata, tunanny, you
/v//v/veloce, verofast, true
/w//w/uovo, cuocoegg, cook
/j//j/pioggia, diorain, god
/dz//dz/zero, stanzazero, room
/z//z/casa, asmahome, asthma

Phonetic Symbols for Italian Vowels and Diphthongs

Italian has 5 vowels, but just like consonants, they produce more sounds. Therefore you have to learn all of the Italian vowels along with their sounds. Let’s take a look at them, with some examples and their translations.

Phonetic symbolPronunciation of the symbolExampleTranslation
[i][i]isola, imporreisland, impose
[o][o]ombra, giogoshadow, yoke
[ɛ][ɛ]bene, ettowell, hectogram
[e][e]vero, navetrue, boat
[ɔ][ɔ]notte, notanight, note
[u][u]ultimo, unolast, one
[ɑ][a]alto, casahigh, home
[ei][ei]poteiI could
[oi][oi]voi, noiyou, we
[ɛu][ɛu]neutro, neutroneneutral, neutron

Now, try to repeat the words of the example. You can use this great video to learn more about the phonetic symbols of the Italian alphabet and their pronunciation. The explanation is very accurate and it also gives you some examples, so that you can practice by repeating.

Where Can You Find Italian Pronunciation Exercises?

There are many ways to learn the Italian language and its pronunciation.

On YouTube you can find tons of exercises, like “shadowing exercises”, guided exercises, exercises with phonetic symbols, and so on. You can find them on Youtube by writing these exact words, on channels like “Learn Italian with Italy made easy”. A great way to practice is listening to audiobooks. You can download them on LibriVox, to listen to them to get used to the proper Italian pronunciation. Try to repeat the words that you find more difficult. Listening is a great exercise to improve your pronunciation. If you don’t have time for an audiobook, you can listen to the radio, like Radio Rai, to some podcasts, such as LearnItalianPod, watch some short videos such as documentaries, TV series, and so on, for example on Rai News.

Another obvious way to improve your Italian accent is speaking. On Langmedia you can find many resources such as phrases with audio pronunciation, Italian expressions and short conversations. Listen to them and try to repeat. Use them in your next conversation with your native friends! Look for native-Italian speakers on websites like Conversation Exchange and practice with them! On websites such as Il tavolo italiano you can find basic pronunciation exercises you can do alone. You can find more exercise on Rocket Languages. If you are looking for the best solution to learn Italian online and improve your pronunciation, there’s a website you should definitely check out: Global General!


How to Improve Your Italian Pronunciation With Global General

Global General is the best solution to learn Italian grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation: an all-inclusive method to help you reach fluency in a flash! This e-learning method developed by GlobalExam is tailored for beginners and intermediate-level students to learn Italian completely online, in a dynamic and personalised way. Global General offers 5 languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French and German. Here’s what’s included in our comprehensive program:

  • Flashcards to help you learn new Italian vocabulary and train your memory in a fast and fun way!
  • Simulations to practice all of your language skills in real context, for all the competencies;
  • Exercises for learning the basics of grammar, vocabulary and listening comprehension;
  • A “did you know” section to deepen your knowledge of the language;
  • 5000 detailed corrections in your language;
  • Personalised feedback from our native-speaking coaches;
  • Online conferences with our native coaches, with a practical component where you’ll be required to complete some exercises and you’ll be given personalized corrections;
  • Validation of the acquired competencies every 5 simulations with certificates;
  • Scores for every exercise to help you understand your level and progress;
  • 150 hours of unique content and 500audio tracks;

Why should you choose Global General?

With Global General you will be able to learn Italian at your own pace: you can study wherever you want and whenever you want, choose which skills you want to practice more and receive personalised feedback from our native coaches. The video conferences will give you the opportunity to directly talk to native speakers, listen to their accent and receive tips from them: a perfect way to improve your pronunciation! Choose a method that guarantees results — choose Global General!

Sign up on our website and start learning Italian today with Global General!