I

Italian Vowel

When by itself or accented, the Italian letter I is pronounced "ee," as in see or fee, but without the "y" sound at the end.

Italian sound files Per esempio…
the letter i
inverno   winter
biscotti   cookie
mi scusi   excuse me
  yes

When I is unaccented and preceded or followed by a strong vowel, it diphthongs with that vowel and is thus pronounced more like "y":

Italian sound files Per esempio…
piacere   nice to meet you
grazie   thank you
vaniglia   vanilla
voi   you

I can also affect the pronunciation of consonants that precede it – more about this in a future lesson.

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Italian pronunciation