If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

12 March 2006

Language lessons

Italian is a brilliantly easy language to learn in one respect: there are clear rules of pronunciation, and they do not vary. Whereas English has all sorts of exceptions to our rules, I have not found many variations in my Italian studies-to-date. I have been horrified to discover a few things I have been pronouncing incorrectly for years. If you are a native English speaker who has never studied Italian, you're probably in the same boat.

Today, lesson number one: the K sound. (Much to my chagrin, the LETTER "k" does not exist in Italian - though the sound does.)

The letters c-h, when written together, create a "k" sound. So the word "che" (what) is actually pronounced "kay", or "keh" (a little softer), depending on the letters that follow it. "Chi" (who) is, similarly, "key".

So, as you order in Italian restaurants (or Italian items from the menu in an otherwise American restaurant, like the one I am sitting in as I type this...): the Bruschetta (that yummy bread, garlic, chopped tomatoes and olive oil goodness of an appetizer), is indeed pronounced broo-skeh-ta, not broo-shetta.

Una parola alla volta (one word at a time!)


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