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Italian vowels are divided into two categories: hard and soft.
1) Hard vowels (A, O, U) cause the consonant that precedes them to be pronounced with a hard sound (HS).
2) Soft vowels (E, I) are preceded by a soft sound (SS).
The consonants affected by this hard/soft distinction are C, SC, and G.
Some Italian words need a hard sound in front of a soft vowel, in which case it’s necessary to change the spelling in order to maintain the desired pronunciation. This is the reason behind many Italian spelling changes in nouns, adjectives, and verbs:
|C CH||stanco –> stanchi|
|meccanica –> meccaniche|
|SC SCH||tedesca –> tedesche|
|affrescare –> tu affreschi|
|G GH||lungo –> lunghi|
|pagare –> paghiamo|
Less commonly, Italian words may need a soft sound in front of a hard vowel:
|C CI||cucire –> cucio|
If you follow the rules of regular –ire verb conjugations, the io form of cucire (to sew) would be "cuco."
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Ciao! I’m Laura K Lawless, creator, writer, editor, and CLO (Chief Lawless Officer) of this free online Italian learning site. Lawless Italian is an official Lawless Languages site.