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IPA for Italian

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IPA for Italian

The charts below show how the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Italian language pronunciations in WorldHeritage articles.

See Italian phonology for a more thorough overview of the sounds of Italian. There is also an Italian pronunciation guide at Wiktionary.

To learn more about the correspondence between spelling and sounds, see Italian orthography.

Examples English approximation
b banca; cibo bike
d dove; idra done (with the tongue touching the teeth)
dz zaino; zelare; mezzo[2][3] dads
giungla; magia; fingere; judo jab
f fatto; fosforo fast
ɡ (ɡ)[4] gatto; agro; glifo; ghetto gas
k cavolo; acuto; anche; quei; kiwi scar
l lato; lievemente; pala lip
ʎ gli; glielo; maglia[3]
m mano; amare; anfibio[5] mother
n nano; punto; pensare[5] nest
ŋ unghia; panchina; dunque[5] singing
ɲ gnocco; ogni[3] roughly like canyon
p primo; ampio; copertura spin
r Roma; quattro; morte Trilled r
s sano; scatola; presentire; pasto sorry
ʃ scena; sciame; pesci[3] ship
t tranne; mito; alto star (with the tongue touching the teeth)
ts sozzo; canzone; marzo[2][3] cats
certo; cinque; ciao; farmacia watch
v vado; povero; watt vent
z sbavare; presentare; asma zipper
j ieri; scoiattolo; più; Jesi; yacht you
w uovo; fuoco; qui; week-end wine
Examples English approximation
a alto; sarà; elica roughly like father in some accents
e vero; perché; come roughly like pay
ɛ elica; cioè bed
i imposta; colibrì; zie; ogni see
o ombra; otto roughly like law (RP)[7]
ɔ otto; sarò off
u ultimo; caucciù; tuo too
Non-native sounds
Examples English approximation
h hovercraft; hertz[8] household
œ viveur; goethiano; Churchill[9] roughly like murder (RP)
x mojito; Bach[10] loch (Scottish English)
y parure; brûlé; Führer[11] future (Scottish English)
ʒ abat-jour; casual; Fuji vision
Examples English approximation
ˈ Cennini [tʃenˈniːni] primary stress, as in bottle
ˌ lievemente [ˌljɛveˈmente] secondary stress, as in intonation[12]
. continuo [konˈtiːnu.o] syllable break: co-op, rower
ː primo [ˈpriːmo] long vowel[13]
* però [peˈrɔ*]; sciame [ˈ*ʃaːme] syntactic gemination

Syntactic gemination

Syntactic gemination is a very common phenomenon in Italian language. It mainly occurs under the following circumstances:[14]

  • after all words with an accented final vowel, such as è, già, sanità, perché;
  • after the following monosyllables: a, che, chi, da, do, e, fa, fo, fra, fu, gru, ha, ho, ma, me (tonic), mo', no, o, Po, qua, qui, re, sa, se (conjunction), so, sta, sto, su, te (tonic), tra, tre, tu, va, vo;
  • after a few bisyllables: come, dove, qualche, sopra.


  1. ^ If the consonants are doubled between vowels, they are geminated. This may also happen between sonorants (genuinely, all consonants can be geminated except for /z/). In IPA, gemination can be represented either by doubling the consonant: fatto /ˈfatto/, mezzo /ˈmɛddzo/; or by the length marker ‹ ː ›. Notice that syntactic gemination also occurs in Italian (e.g. va via /vavˈviːa/).
  2. ^ a b z represents both /ts/ and /dz/. In order to determine which, consult a dictionary.
  3. ^ a b c d e /dz/, /ts/, /ʎ/, /ɲ/ and /ʃ/ are always geminated between vowels.
  4. ^ If the two characters ɡ and do not match and if the first looks like a γ, then you have an issue with your default font. See Rendering issues.
  5. ^ a b c The nasals always assimilate their place of articulation to that of the following consonant. Thus, the n in /nɡ/~/nk/ is a velar [ŋ], and the one in /nf/~/nv/ is a labiodental [ɱ] (though for simplicity /m/ takes its place in this list). A nasal before /p/ and /b/ is always the labial [m].
  6. ^ Italian contrasts seven monophthongs in stressed syllables. Open-mid vowels /ɛ ɔ/ can only appear when the syllable is stressed (e.g. coperto /koˈpɛrto/), close-mid vowels /e o/ are found elsewhere (e.g. Boccaccio /bokˈkattʃo/, amore /aˈmoːre/). Open and close vowels /a i u/ stay unchanged in unstressed syllables, though word-final unstressed /i/ may become an approximant [j] before vowels in a process known as synalepha (syllable merging), e.g. pari età /ˌparjeˈta*/.
  7. ^ "law" in Received Pronunciation has a mid back rounded vowel [lɔ̝ː] whereas in General American, that vowel varies between being open-mid back rounded [lɔː], open back rounded [lɒː] or even open back unrounded [lɑː].
  8. ^ Usually dropped.
  9. ^ Open-mid [œ] or close-mid [ø] if stressed, usually [ø] when unstressed. May be replaced by [ɛ] (stressed) or [e] (stressed or unstressed).
  10. ^ In Spanish loanwords it is usually realized as [h] or dropped; in German ones, it is usually pronounced [k].
  11. ^ Often realized as [u] or [ju].
  12. ^ Since in Italian there isn't a distinction between heavier or lighter vowels (e.g. English o in conclusion vs o in nomination), a defined secondary stress, even in long words, is extremely rare.
  13. ^ Stressed vowels are long when in a non-final open syllable: fato /ˈfaːto/ ~ fatto /ˈfatto/.
  14. ^

External links

  • (Italian) Dizionario italiano multimediale e multilingue d'ortografia e di pronunzia (not based on IPA)
  • (Italian) Dizionario di pronuncia italiana online by Luciano Canepari (based on IPA)
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