Neapolitan/pronunciation

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Neapolitan Primer

Final vowel sounds[edit]

Neapolitan words can end either stressed (with an accent mark) or unstressed. As a general rule, words ending with a stressed vowel (called "acute" words) have the last vowel pronounced.

The ends of many unstressed words are pronounced as a schwa (ə); that is, it sounds as if the final vowel is being swallowed. This has led to Neapolitan often being written with many words ending in consonants followed by an apostrophe-

  • facenn' for facenno ("doing"), sacc' for saccio ("I know") etc.

Generally, all words ending in "a" have the last vowel pronounced, though less strongly than as would be the case in Italian.

  • còzzeca ("mussel"), varca ("boat"), mammà ("mother").

Pronunciation[edit]

  • a - /a~ɑ/ in stressed syllables, /ə/ in unstressed syllables
  • b - /b/
  • c - /k/ before a;o;u, /t͡ʃ~ʃ/ before i or e. Cia, cio, ciu have the /t͡ʃ~ʃ/ sound (no /i/ sound). It can also sound like /g/ when preceded by a voiced consonant ('ncoppa frequently sounds like 'ngoppa)
  • d - /d~r/ intervocalic d is usually pronounced like an r. dd can be pronounced /r/ or /dd/ (ro and do along with arrò and addò are examples of interchangeable spelling)
  • e - /e/ in closed, stressed syllables, /ɛ/ in open, stressed syllables, /ə/ in unstressed syllables
  • f - /f/
  • g - /g/ before a;o;u, /d͡ʒ~ʒ/ before i or e, gia, gio, giu have the /d͡ʒ~ʒ/ sound (no /i/ sound). Before a u that precedes another vowel, the g is silent, as in gualgione, sometimes also spelled uaglione or uagliò
  • h - silent. Used to differentiate between 2 words
  • i - /i/ or sometimes /ɪ/ in unstressed syllables
  • j - /j/
  • l - /l/
  • m - /m/
  • n - /n/
  • o - /o/ in closed, stressed syllables, /ɔ/ in open, stressed syllables, /ə/ in unstressed syllables
  • p - /p/
  • qu - /kw/
  • r - /r/ɾ/ is most common, but can also be pronounced /l/ before another consonant, like in barcone or borsetta, causing them to sometimes be spelled balcone or bolsetta. Or at the end of a word such as tir' or vir', pronounced /til/ and /vil/
  • s - /s~z/
  • t - /t/
  • u - /u/ or sometimes /ʊ/ in unstressed syllables
  • v - /v/
  • (w) - /w/ only found in foreign words
  • (x) - /ks/ only found in foreign words
  • (y) - /j/ only found in foreign words
  • z - /ts~dz/
  • gn - /ɲ/
  • gli - /ʎ/ʎʎ/ or /ʝ/ʝʝ/