Italian Phonetics and Diction

  • Kurt Adler


I have said before that the Italian needs only seven different vowel sounds to form words and sentences in his language. These vowel sounds are the purest of any language and the most easily produced. This purity, free from any disfiguring diphthongization, is the main reason for the undisputed position of Italian as the most musical language in the world. Vowels are only infrequently interspersed with consonants. Diphthongization is practically unknown. All this creates the basis for the bel canto style of singing which is predominant today in America. It is quite possible to adjust even French and German words to this style of singing. The seven Italian vowels are shown in Figure 20. Most of these vowels are long. They are short —but not necessarily open — only before a double consonant. This is true only of Italian, which is the sole language where the shortening of a vowel does not automatically mean the opening of that vowel.


Moderate Stress Musical Note Lower Tooth Strong Stress Vowel Sound 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© University of Minnesota 1965

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  • Kurt Adler

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