22. Double The Consonant! (Culture Shot)

LearnItalianPod In this episode we’ll talk about something that’s very specific to the Italian language, that is, the pronunciation of double consonants. We’ll see how to avoid some funny mistakes people can do if they don’t pay attention to it. And, to make it “stick”, we’re going to use rhymes and a little bit of poetry, like Jane’s elementary teacher, ms. Piotta, used to do. Thanks, ms. Piotta, your rhymes are still useful after all these years!

Culture Shot – Episode Nr. 22

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9 thoughts on “22. Double The Consonant! (Culture Shot)”

  1. Hi. Just wanted to tell you the subtitle in this episode is also “Arrivederci, Luciano”–not about double consonants or Ms. Piotta!

  2. Ah, double consonants. My most embarassing moment in Italian class came when we were going around the room telling each other where we lived.

    I was trying to say that I live in a small house: una “casetta.” Unfortunately, it came out “cassetta.” I really don’t live in a box!! ;>

  3. I have just returned from Italy and visited Tirano in Lombardia. I heard about the townspeople of Baruffini who used to smuggle coffee and cigarettes over the Swiss border into Italy. These people, men and women, risked their lives to improve the lifestyles of their families. I thought this might be a topic for Culture Shot.

  4. In Italian, “CC” before an “i” or “e” is pronounced like “ch” in english, right? Are there any exceptions when “CC” in Italian is pronounced as a “K”??

  5. Mike, as a general rule, “CC” is pronunced as a “K” before “a”, “o”, “u”, “hi”, “he” and as the English “CH” before “i” and “e”.

    Examples:
    “secca” – dry (female adj.) as “K”
    “secco” – dry (male adj.) as “K”
    “specchi” – mirrors as “K”
    “secche” – dry (female plural adj) as “K”

    “frecce” – arrows as “CH”
    “fantocci” – puppets as “CH”

  6.  I learned Italian in Sardinia, where the double consonant is the norm. The Italian accent there is very enunciated and clear, making Sardinia perhaps the easiest place to learn to speak italian fluently.

  7. Double consonants are very important when spelling a word, sometime the meaning of a word changes completely when a double consonant is omitted
    for example cassetta means cassett, but casetta spelled with one “s” means little house
    Caro = dear
    Carro = cart
    nona = ninth
    nonna = grandmother

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