Translated by Alanna Quintyne
In today’s article called “3 practical suggestions to improve your Italian“, I want to share with you some little tips that will help you to sound more natural when you speak Italian.
These tips came from my classes with my students, they are general advice, but this is why I think everyone can benefit from them!
If you are curious and want to know more about it, keep reading!
Are you looking forward to improving your Italian and to expressing yourself like a native speaker? Then this article is the right one for you!
In fact, in the following paragraphs I’ll talk about three small tricks that if applied will make you feel more comfortable with Italian and allow you to gain more fluency.
If you have been following me for a while you already know that my articles, and consequently the tips you will find within them, are drawn from observing my students during our classes. What you will find are very general tips, and I think all of you can benefit from them.
So without further ado, let us examine these 3 points together:
1. The euphonic D
Everyone knows, even beginners, that Italian does not like repetition, and even less the presence of the same vowels close together.
To avoid the repetition of the same sound and to make the sentence more pleasant, but also to make the pronunciation of certain words easier, we Italians automatically add what is called the euphonic D, especially in front of the vowels -a, -e and -o.
Consider the following sentences:
- Vado a Ancona.
- Mangio e esco.
Well, the first thing that is noticeable is the repetition of the letters A and E, which, as we have already mentioned, is not particularly encouraged in the Italian language. The second noticeable thing is an interruption in the flow of speech, a pause in the middle of sentences, which it would be better not to have.
So how do we get around these small but real problems, and give more fluidity to our speech? Simple, we add the euphonic D as in the following cases:
- Vado ad Ancona = I go to Ancona.
- Mangio ed esco = I eat and go out.
Much better! Don’t you think?
2. Beware of the apostrophe
The apostrophe is a graphic sign used to avoid the presence of two neighboring vowels, one of which is considered to be one too many.
The mistake many students make is to regard the apostrophe as a separating element, dividing two words, as in the following examples:
- Vado all’ _ università.
- Quell’ _ amica ha una casa in montagna.
- Il vino dell’ _ annata 2006 è ottimo.
Remember, as I always tell my students, the apostrophe is a sign placed between two different words, but in reality, it does not separate but unites them. So, when we read or say sentences that contain it, it is better to link everything together, saying for example:
- Vado all’università. = I go to university.
- Quell’amica ha una casa in montagna. = That friend has a house in the mountains.
- Il vino dell’annata 2006 è ottimo. = The wine from the year 2006 is great.
As you can hear these sentences come out much more natural and melodious.
3. The Pronunciation of N
Before talking about N, I would like to open a parenthesis to spend a moment on two terms: no and non.
– No means No
– Non means Not
It goes without saying that these two words are not the same thing and do not have the same meaning. Many of my students tend not to pronounce the last N, causing a bit of confusion among listeners. Let’s give some examples:
- No sono italiano.
- No ho fatto i compiti
These two simple sentences can become a headache for Italians themselves. I myself might ask: “In these sentences is he or she who is speaking denying or affirming something?”
- No, sono italiano (No, I am Italian) is different from Non sono italiano (I am not Italian).
- No, ho fatto i compiti (No, I did my homework) is different from Non ho fatto i compiti (I didn’t do my homework).
So, remember to always pronounce all the letters of words, even the letter N of the word non when you want to create the negative form of a sentence.
It is in fact essential to make everyone understand what we mean, but it also serves to make our speech more fluent and melodious, especially if the non is linked to the next verb.
I hope you have found in this article useful tips to improve your Italian and make it more and more natural, like that of native speakers.
These are simple, even trivial, but precisely for this reason fundamental suggestions. In fact, they can be considered a starting point from which to develop your Italian.
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