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  • If your native language is Italian

  • but you're speaking English

  • you may have an Italian accent

  • But what does this actually mean?

  • Almost all words in Italian end in vowel sound

  • which means that Italian speakers are

  • not used to pronouncing words ending in a consonant

  • For English words ending in a consonant

  • Italians may add a vowel to make it easier to pronounce

  • For example, "man" would be become "man-a"

  • Listen to how vowels are added in the following clips

  • The /r/ sound in English

  • is made with the tongue

  • not touching the top of the mouth: /r/

  • In Italian

  • the tip of the tongue does touch the top of the mouth

  • It's sometimes called a rolling R

  • but linguists call it an alveolar tap or trill

  • Italians may use their /r/ sound

  • when speaking English

  • Italian has a difference between single

  • and double consonants

  • Listen to the difference between these two Italian words

  • Notice how the T sound in the second word

  • is longer

  • Linguists call these double consonants geminates

  • which comes from the Latin word for twin

  • In English, we have words written with

  • two identical letters next to each other,

  • but they aren't usually pronounced as a longer sound

  • For example, we say "happy" and not "happppppy"

  • When Italian speakers talk in English

  • they are likely to follow the Italian rules

  • and pronounce any double letter as a longer sound

  • There's no /h/ sound in Italian

  • so Italian speakers

  • are likely to delete this sound when speaking English

  • Italian speakers may add a /h/ sound

  • to words beginning with a vowel

  • For example, the word "out"

  • may become “h-out

  • This is called hypercorrection

  • Both Italian and English

  • have the /s/ and /z/ sounds

  • But these sounds exist in different environments

  • In Italian, when a word begins with SM or SL

  • the letter S is pronounced /z/

  • like in these words

  • But when a word begins with SM or SL in English

  • the letter S is pronounced /s/

  • For example

  • "small" and "slow"

  • Italian speakers are likely to follow

  • the rules of their native language

  • and pronounce words like "small" and "slow"

  • with a /z/ sound in English

  • Linguists give vowels names to make it easier to talk about them

  • The /əʊ/ vowel in the word "notes"

  • is called the GOAT vowel

  • It's a diphthong which means it moves from one vowel

  • towards another: /əʊ/

  • This vowel doesn't exist in Italian

  • so Italian speakers are likely to replace it

  • with a vowel sound in their native language

  • usually a monophthong which means

  • just one single vowel sound

  • Like many non-native English speakers

  • Italians may not distinguish between

  • the /iː/ vowel in FLEECE

  • and the /ɪ/ vowel in KIT

  • so words like "beat" - "bit" and "feet" - "fit"

  • may get mixed up

  • Unfortunately, the word "sheet" may also get

  • mixed up with another word...

  • Italian has 5 to 7 vowel sounds

  • depending on the variety

  • whereas British English has around 20

  • It's not easy speaking a foreign language

  • when there are so many new sounds

  • you have to make

  • But it's not just about new sounds

  • As we found out with the S and Z

  • there are rules about where a sound can appear in a word

  • and these rules are different

  • from language to language

  • These are just some of the features

  • that create an Italian accent in English

  • of course there are many others

  • such as rhythm and the TH sounds

  • but I can't cover everything in one video

  • If you're a non-native English speaker

  • who wants to improve your pronunciation

  • then sign up for my online course

  • Go to my website to find out more

  • If you've enjoyed this video

  • please like it

  • and share it with your Italian-speaking friends

If your native language is Italian

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B1 italian vowel sound native language vowel sound

Why do Italians sound Italian? | Improve Your Accent

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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