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Lesson Transcript

Laura: "Buongiorno!"
Marco: Marco here! Italian Pronunciation Series Lesson 6 - Accents!
Marco: Hello, and welcome to ItalianPod101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Italian!
Laura: I'm Laura, and thanks again for being here with us for this Pronunciation lesson.
Laura: In this lesson, you will learn where to put accents in Italian words.
Marco: This is very important because changing the position of an accent within a word is not allowed.
Laura: Oh yes, sometimes it even changes its meaning.
Marco: Please remember that Italian words can be divided into four groups, depending on which syllable you put the accent on.
Laura: "Bravo," Marco. Let's start with the largest group of words. Do you remember what it was called?
Marco: "Parole piane," "flat words." The accent falls on the penultimate syllable for these ones.
Laura: That is, the one next the last one in order of reading. Most Italian words are "piane." For example, "ca-VAL-lo," "horse." "Sal-TA-re," "to jump." "Fan-TI-no," "jockey." "VI-no," "wine."
Marco: Not a good combination if you want to jump obstacles.
Laura: "Parole piane" is an easy obstacle to jump anyway, since it's flat.
Marco: And remember that most Italian words fall into this group.
Laura: "Esatto." Exactly. "E-SAT-to." That's also a "parola piana." So let's move on to the second group, Marco. Remember the name?
Marco: I just remember it was a difficult word. I refuse to jump for now.
Laura: I'll jump for you then. "Parole sdrucciole," "slippery words."
Marco: Not so easy to jump slippery obstacles.
Laura: Not if you drink wine, you or the horse. Otherwise not difficult at all. Just put the accent on the third-to-last syllable.
Marco: For example?
Laura: "O-STA-co-lo."
Marco: "obstacle"
Laura: "CA-me-ra," "room."
Marco: The last one was a "sdrucciola." Oh, you made me say it.
Laura: Very well. Let's jump to the third group. "Parole tronche," meaning "chopped." This is quite easy.
Marco: “Parole tronche" are my favorite ones because they are so easy to recognize.
Laura: "Perché?" "Why?" There, we go, I just said a "parola tronca!"
Marco: Because these are the only words with their accent clearly marked in writing.
Laura: True. In Italian, we never mark accents, except for "parole tronche."
Marco: So how do I know where to put the accent in the other ones?
Laura: In the beginning, you will have to check in a good dictionary. Or ask your Italian friends or listen to Italian songs. After a while, it will become automatic.
Marco: So, back to our "parole tronche." Where's the accent? It's always marked in the same position, right?
Laura: "Sì!" Always at the end of the word. That is, the last syllable. "Caffè," meaning "coffee," "città," meaning "city," and "cincillà," meaning "chinchilla."
Marco: Easy. "FA-ci-le." Did I just say a "sdrucciola?"
Laura: Yes! Accent on the third-to-last syllable. Now that you got the hang of it, it's time to move on to the next group.
Marco: Not an easy one as far as I remember.
Laura: Words of the fourth group have the accent on the fourth-to-last syllable, and they're
called "parole bisdrucciole."
Marco: "Double slippery?" Doesn't sound good at all. I don't like slimy things.
Laura: The good news is that they're not so common, and they're usually verbs in the third person plural, present tense.
Marco: Some examples, Laura?
Laura: "SU-pe-ra-no," meaning "they overtake." "CA-pi-ta-no," meaning "they happen."
Marco: What was the last word again?
Laura: "CA-pi-ta-no."
Marco: You said it means "they happen," but I thought it meant "captain."
Laura: Well, no, that's "ca-pi-TA-no." This is a "piana."
Marco: Ah, yes. Remember we said that sometimes the position of the accent changes the meaning of a word? Here's an example.
Laura: So, "ca-pi-TA-no," "piana," means "captain." "CA-pi-ta-no," "bisdrucciola," means "they happen."
Marco: "Ca-pi-TA-no" and "CA-pi-ta-no." Same spelling, different accent, different meaning. Laura, do you have any other examples?
Laura: "PRIN-ci-pi" and "prin-CI-pi." Did you get that?
Marco: I think so. "Princes" and "principles." "PRIN-ci-pi" is a "sdrucciola," right?
Laura: Correct, and "prin-CI-pi" is a "piana."
Marco: So how would you say "princes have principles?"
Laura: I wouldn't say that, but there we go…"i PRIN-ci-pi hanno prin-CI-pi."
Marco: Any other examples?
Laura: "An-co-ra" and "an-CO-ra."
Marco: "Ancora," meaning "anchor," and "ancOra," meaning "again."
Laura: "Bravissimo." Now our "cavallo" has jumped all the "ostacoli."
Marco: Yes, and I am starting to feel exhausted. Maybe it's time for a "caffè."
Laura: Which is a "parola tronca," with a nice accent on the "-e."
Marco: Ah, yes, a chopped word. Is this why coffees are so short in Italy?
Laura: You definitely need a coffee. But let's recap first.
Marco: So, different words, different accents. "Parole piane," "sdrucciole," "tronche," and "bisdrucciole."
Laura: Let's see some examples of each group. Everyone, repeat after me. Marco, are you ready?
Marco: Yep.
Laura: "Pol-TRO-na" (silence).
Marco: "PolTROna." That's "armchair," "piana."
Laura: "Di-VA-no" (silence).
Marco: "DiVAno." "Couch," "piana."
Laura: Yes. "Fa-GIO-lo" (silence).
Marco: "FaGIOlo." "Piana" again. Meaning "bean," but also "beanbag." Are you trying to get me sleepy?
Laura: Just a bit of relaxation after all that obstacle jumping, just like in a yoga class.
Marco: Sounds good to me. Some "sdrucciole?"
Laura: Yes, repeat after me. "Te-LE-fo-no" (silence).
Marco: "TeLEfono." "Phone" or "I make a phone call."
Laura: "NU-me-ro" (silence).
Marco: "NUmero." "Number." Both "drucciole," with the accent on the third-to-last syllable.
Laura: Now for some "tronche." Repeat after me. "Li-ber-tà" (silence).
Marco: "Libertà." "freedom."
Laura: "Lunedì" (silence).
Marco: "Lunedì." "Monday."
Laura: Now a couple of "bisdrucciole," and then we wrap it up.
Marco: Don't forget you promised me a "caffè."
Laura: Marco, first listen and repeat…"ME-sco-la-no" (silence).
Marco: Accent on the fourth-to-last syllable. "MEscolano," "they mix."
Laura: "RE-ci-ta-no" (silence).
Marco: "REcitano." "They act."
Laura: "Bravo," Marco. That should do for today. So, time for that coffee?
Marco. Finally! One for me and one for my "cavallo," "please."


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Monday at 6:30 pm
Pinned Comment
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This concludes our Pronunciation Series. We hope you enjoyed it!

Wednesday at 8:35 am
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Hi Tanya,


Thank you for posting.

We are glad to hear that.

A presto,


Team ItalianPod101.com

Friday at 10:27 am
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Ciao! The lesson notes for the 6 lessons in this series have been very helpful. I printed so I can keep close as reference when studying flashcards. Grazie!

Thursday at 10:41 am
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Hi everyone!

Thank you for posting!

@moahmed shaalan, please let us know if you have any question.

@Mei, I compared the the audio with the lesson notes and they match. Anyway, you may find more effective this video lesson: https://www.italianpod101.com/2015/04/24/ultimate-italian-pronunciation-guide-9-accents/

Grazie a tutti,


Team ItalianPod101.com

Sunday at 1:22 pm
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Do the lesson notes match the dialogue? Did I miss something? I didn't even find them close enough to follow?

moahmed shaalan
Monday at 11:04 pm
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wow, very easy to learn

i love it very much

italianpod101 make me good in italian

i wish to be fluent when i 'll be in italy soon