Italian, the Il Volo Way…Introduction and Lesson 1

Teach Italy.jpg final one ~Jana

Preface: Ok, let’s start with giving a little credit, where credit is due. As you know, I am not Italian! Lol! I was able to buy two dictionaries at my local Barnes & Noble. I was glad I was able to see them in person and not just order them off the internet, as I had to look through quite a few of them to decide what would be the best. Both dictionaries are by Collins. The first one is: Collins Beginner’s Italian Dictionary, more than 84,000 entries. 2nd edition 2008. The second one is: Collins Italian Concise Dictionary 5th Edition, in Color. 2nd edition 2010. (even though the title says “5th” edition.) The third book I was able to see it in the store before I purchased it online, as it was a bit cheaper. I have the B&N member discount… was Easy Italian, Step-by-Step; by McGraw Hill. Both the dictionaries have special sections for concentrated categories, even shorthand for texting, etc. The McGraw Hill book is more like a real textbook, something you might use if you took a “live” class somewhere in school.

Ok, now on to the lessons….

Your first lesson will be hosted by Ignazio!a u - Elgin 6 - 14 -  Il Volo-9933 for Jana's post

Part 1:

Buongiorno – Hello class! Today, we will start with basics. We start with the vowels and how they are pronounced. Ok…

a – sounds like “ah” – like in Ignazio and Ancora

e – has 2 sounds

  1. Like a long “a” – as in Grande and Te
  2. Like “eh” – as in Amore and Credo

i – sounds like “ee” – as in Piero and Bambino

o – has 2 sounds

  1. Almost like an “au-o” sound – as in Come and Sole
  2. Like a regular “o” sound – as in Boschetto and Volo (smile)

u – sounds like “oo” – as in Gianluca and Unico


Ok, now for the consonants. I will only go over those that are different from English.

c – has 2 sounds

  1. Like a “k”, before a, o, u, or any consonant – as in Ercole and Gianluca
  2. Like a “ch”, before i or e – as in Ciao and Cercano (from Romantica)

ch – sounds like “k” before i or e – as in Boschetto and Chi

g – has 2 sounds

  1. Like English “g” before a, o, u and any consonant – as in Grande and Frega
  2. Like a soft “g” before e or i – as in Gianluca and Gelato “we get gelato after class, yes?”

gh – is a hard “g” sound before e or i – as in Spaghetti and Funghi

h – initial “h” is always silent, as in honor – as in Ha and Ho

q – sounds like “k” or English “queen” – as in Quello and Questa

r – “r” is trilled…- no real English equivalent – will take practice – as in Roma and Piero

s – has 2 sounds

  1. Usually like regular English “s” – as in Respiro and Boschetto
  2. If between 2 vowels, sounds like a “z” – as in Cose (from Canzone Per Te) and Chiusa (from Ancora)

t – the “t” sounds like t, however, it is a “soft” t sound, where your tongue is more where your two front teeth, meet your gums. If you listen closely, you will hear it. It’s not a sharp “t” sound. You can hear it mostly with “me!” (Ignazio’s pronunciations…)

Now for sounds that are just in Italian…

The letters “g” and “l” together sound like a double “l” sound as in the English million. There are several versions and are usually, but not always, at the end of a word:

  • gli – as in orgoglio (from Canzone Per Te)
  • glie – as in sceglierai (from Grande Amore)
  • glia – as in voglia (from Ancora)
  • glio – as in voglio (from Canzone Per Te)

The letters “gn” – sound like “ny” as in English canyon – or as in Ignazio (smile)

The letters “sc” before e or i – sound like English “sh” sound – as in Nasce (from Grande Amore)

The letters “sch” sound like English schoolk” – as in Pesche

And that is the end of Part 1. Part 2; tomorrow.


19 thoughts on “Italian, the Il Volo Way…Introduction and Lesson 1”

    1. Great! Hope it wasn’t too basic, but I feel you have to start with pronunciations – at least they did in the book! Lol! It will be more interesting with the 2nd lesson! Wait until we talk about the Italian slide…

  1. Already my head spins. I can see I will have to print this lesson and listen to the songs WHOLE LOT MORE! Thanks for putting those comparisons in. Should make the lesson and the listening lots more fun.
    Barb W

    1. Barb don’t feel bad mine is too. I have enough in my head from work, learning a new system, electronic billing & so on & so on. I do have to print this out too so i can learn this also. I am a hands on see it practice it type person. when I was a lot younger I could learn languages easily…now it’s harder for me. Maybe I need a brain defrag. LOL
      Barb <3

  2. Don’t forget lesson 2 in the post below. Some fool editor accidently printed them both at the same time. Yeah, that would be me. Sorry Jana! Maybe English isn’t my first language. Maybe I’ll do better reading italian! Nice lessons though…thanks Ignazio, Baby.

  3. I am suggesting that this site be improved for use on mobile devices. On my notebook, anything written in black on the dark grey background is unreadable because there in no cintrsst… andve very thing that is written is partly in the dark grey. Very frustrating for the user. Also, it is impossible to scroll. Anyplace you touch brings up a new section instead of scrolling.

  4. Very nice lesson Jane, sorry Ignazio!. Now I understand the difference between the soft ci & ce and the hard K ie ca,co,cu etc.
    It is quite something to get your tongue around these vowels!. But practice makes perfect. Many thanks.

    1. yes, it will take some practice – we have been speaking English for a very long time, so our brains are pretty brainwashed at this point! Yes, it is even hard for me to say some of them, especially the ones with the “sche” and the “glia” lol!

  5. I have copied the Italian lyrics of the songs so it is easier to follow the words the guys are singing to find how they pronounce them

    1. Where did you find the lyrics? I went to (I think…) they have all of the Il Volo CDs on there and all the words to the songs! I copied and pasted them and have them in a Word file!

  6. Finalmente! I have a collection of books I ordered online and a DVD – but, you are a great teacher. You did your “homeworK” research before making a purchase. Let the lessons begin…Grazie

  7. Ciao tutti! (hello all…)

    I have read all of your comments and am very pleased with your progress thus far! Molto bene! (very good!)

    I was almost afraid it was a little too simple, but based on your feedback, I’d say it was just about right. It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed at the beginning of learning anything new. But hang in there. I will try to keep it as simple and fun as possible! I also thought there wasn’t much in there, but I guess it was enough for a first lesson?

    I must share something with you – I have one of the songs from the Pescara concert (I think) on my mp3 where Piero is talking before they sing one of their songs…it is when he asks the audience “who here is not Italian, who is American?” Apparently, he doesn’t get enough “English” response. So, then he responds in Italian, something like “parlaria in Italian…” I always knew he meant they were going to “speak” in Italian, but when I listened to it yesterday, it finally clicked in my brain and it recognized the word! (parlare – to speak) Ok, so I was excited!! Lol!

    You will experience that same realization when we get more into the vocabulary and then you listen to the songs. Or, if you get brave, find a few of the interviews on YouTube and see if you can understand any of it? I’ll try to find some, also.

    There’s also a little more on where to put the accents, etc., but I think I will do it as we go along, as part of the vocabulary, so as not to overwhelm!

    With Marie’s concurrence, I’d like to post the lessons on Monday nights or Tuesday mornings, which will give me the weekends to get the lessons together. I must say, it took me a little longer than I expected to put the first one together!

    Ok, ciao, for now!

  8. I enjoyed this lesson a lot. It was very thorough and not too simple at all. I know this is a lot of hard work for you, but us American Il Volo fans appreciate it so much. Keep up the good work!

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