43: Common Pronunciation Mistakes in Italian Part II

by | Feb 5, 2021 | Podcast | 0 comments

Ciao! In a previous episode I covered common pronunciation mistakes in Italian and I wanted to keep it going and share a few more here.

First up is “GLI” G-l-i-

Ask a beginner (or even an intermediate) Italian language learner to pronounce terms such as figlio, pagliacci, garbuglio, glielo, and consigli and often their first reaction is a look of bewilderment: the dreaded “gli” combination! Even the short-cut explanation that in Italian gli is pronounced like “lli” in the English word “million” often doesn’t help (nor do other technical descriptions about how to pronounce gli improve the long odds of mastery). Perhaps the most effective way to learn how to pronounce “gli” is to listen and repeat until it becomes second nature. Remember, though, even Michelangelo was a beginner once.

The accent on days of the week

Except for Saturday and Sunday, the days of the week in Italian are pronounced with the accent on the last syllable. They’re even written that way to remind speakers, e.g., lunedì (Monday), how to pronounce them. But too frequently, non-native speakers ignore the accent and persist in placing the accent on the first (or other) syllable. Don’t shortchange the giorni feriali (workdays)—the accent marks the stressed vowel of a word in Italian.

Double vowel words.

Let’s look at two words, PUOI and POI – can you hear a difference? Poi means then and puoi means you can. I often hear English speakers shortening this (and other double vowel words) making them sound the same.  Remember in italian you must pronounce every single letter, always. Another example is voi, and VUOI – voi is you all, vuoi is you want! Big difference just by changing one letter.

That’s all for now, hope this helps! Ciao ciao!


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Ciao, I'm Rachel

I am obsessed with everything Italian! After years living in Italy, being married to an Italian, getting my Italian citezenship through my Pugliese lineage, a BA in Italian language and literature, then a MA in Italian Art History, I have lots of experience with this country! Hang out with me to learn more!