Learning Italian, Phrase by Simple Phrase
A Constantly Updated Series of Notes on Learning Italian as an English speaker
If one is learning Italian from a base of English, there will be a several interesting differences in spelling, pronounciation and grammar. I aim to list as many generalities as I can here, although this page will likely never stop growing!
In English, there is a hard c that sounds like a k, usually followed by the vowel a, o or u, and a soft c that sounds like an s, usually followed by the vowel e or i. In Italian, the soft c is pronounced with the English ch sound, as in chair, while the Italian ch is pronounced hard, like the English k.
Almost no words in Italian end with a consonant. Unless it is a fairly recent import, such as autobus, bus, every word ends in a vowel. This is part of the reason for the distinctive Italian accent in English!
In English, double consonants are treated as single consonants. In Italian, sets of double consonants are clearly elongated through use of the preceding vowel.