Not a member yet?
Already a member?

Why does almost every Italian word end with a vowel?

Sign up for free to mark this post as completed.
Sign up for free to bookmark this post.
Sign up for free for a printer-friendly version.

Table of Contents

Italian words ending in vowels

Before we give you a more insightful explanation, let’s review some grammatical rules concerning nouns (things, people, ideas) and adjectives (words describing nouns).

They might help you understand why most words end with a vowel:

  • Masculine singular nouns and adjectives generally end in -o (i.e.: il freddo)
  • Feminine singular nouns and adjectives generally end in -a (i.e.: la pianta)
  • Masculine plural nouns and adjectives generally end in -i (i.e.: i pantaloni)
  • Feminine plural nouns and adjectives generally end in -e (i.e.: le macchine)

 

If you think about verbs, they all end in -e, as in parlare (to talk), bere (to drink), and dormire (to sleep).

Why do Italian words end with a vowel

Why does almost every Italian word end with a vowel?

Now, let’s clarify vowels are sounds rather than letters. This is why we’re going to represent these sounds inside slashes, i.e.: /a/, /b/, /k/.

A vowel is a sound that makes the vocal cords vibrate. It can be shouted until we’re out of breath.

The Italian language has 7 vowels: one sound for /a/, one for /i/, and one for /u/ and two different sounds for /e/ and /o/.

Why do Italians sound Italian? | Improve Your Accent

However, this depends on the region of Italy you are in. Some would argue there are only 5 vowels.

Consonants are sounds like /b/, /k/, /d/, /f/, etc. They cannot be shouted. If you don’t believe us, try shouting a consonant.

Then there are syllables. Syllables are made of consonants (C) and vowels (V).

The most common combination of sounds in all languages is CV. Italian likes to stick to this phonetic rule.

Also, Italian comes from Latin, which is a dead language nowadays, and Latin also preferred the combination of a consonant followed by a vowel.

Why does almost every Italian word end with a vowel

Why do most Italian words end with a vowel?

Did you know almost in every language the first word pronounced by babies is “mama” or a variant of it?

This, of course, has to do with meaning. Babies spend most of their early months with their parents so it makes sense to say “mama” (or “papa”).

However, there’s another important reason: a combination of “easy” sounds.

The word “mama” is made of the consonant /m/ and the vowel /a/. It can be produced by doing little more than closing and opening the mouth.

If you think about it, this combination of sounds is smooth.

Try pronouncing the sounds /pr/, /tl/, /mn/, and then the sounds /li/, /mo/, /sa/. The latter sounds are more natural.

This is why almost all Italian words end with a vowel.

This explains too why many Italians add a final vowel to English words: it’s a natural reaction.

Why do most Italian words end with a vowel

Italian words ending in consonants

There are, however, some Italian words ending in consonant, such as /l/, /r/, /m/, /n/.

If you think about those sounds, they can all be sustained, similarly to vowels and unlike sounds like/ t/, /k/, /b/. Again, if you’re not sure, try to pronounce them.

Here are some words ending in those consonants:

  • il (the)
  • in (in)
  • con (with)
  • per (because)

As you can see, they’re very short words.

By the way, if you’re struggling with Italian pronunciation, have a look at our Italian pronunciation guide.

Why does every Italian word end with a vowel

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

You might also like...

How to say “I like” in Italian? Learn the grammar with simple rules and examples and practice with audio lessons.
How to learn Italian irregular verbs and articles? Good question! Learning Italian irregular verbs and articles takes time but it’s totally feasible. Here’s all you need: Good memory Good attitude...
How to use "proprio" in Italian? Learn the grammar with simple rules and examples and practice with audio lessons.
What are the most difficult grammar rules in Italian? Good question! First of all, language learning is very relative and subjective. So, what someone else might find difficult might be...

Get my free updates in your mailbox...

Join
0 +
subscribers!
You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
stefano 1

Go premium

stefano

Join for free

square e1554257578857 o5t21enzk19ssqmyyki2t2qt4nafhx9jqsvgu870u8
What would you like to see on FluentSimple?

This form is anonymous. ;)