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How to Do an Italian Accent

Learn how to do an Italian accent from voice and speech coach Andrea Caban in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Let's take a look at some for a general Italian accent. So, first we look at the oral posture. So what's the oral posture of a native Italian speaker? It's easy to find it if you pretend you’re about to trill your R's. So, and then you just hold your tongue there. The tongue is forward in the mouth and it's high and if you sign through that sounds you get an, which is sort of the Italian thinking sound. You know in American English you would say an a, which is the oral posture for American English but you pop into that Italian oral posture and it's an.

An interesting feature of an Italian is that there are no diphthongs in Italian. So there are no vowels with 2 elements like, in American English would be, in Italian. Here are some words to practice your pure vowels instead of go, I, play 2 elements, 2 elements you got 1 element. Go, I, play. Often in Italian H's are dropped so I'm so happy to see you becomes I'm so happy to see you. Try tapping or rolling your R's for a general Italian accent. So, the river is rough this time of day becomes the river is rough this time of day, the river is rough. You do a little tap of your uvula ridge, the gum ridge right behind your upper teeth. Sometimes Italian speakers will add a little vestigial schwa, so an extra a sound before a word. So instead of, do you like my new dress? You'll get something like, do you like my new dress? So you head that little a sound at the end. Start going all the way into it. Do you like my new dress? And then back off for a minute so it sounds a little more natural. The, to the E sound is a very important distinguishment. So, Italians and my Italian students will know this for sure that the, sound doesn't show up that that much in Italian. So I'm mixing it in, in American English and will become an Italian. I'm mixing it in, E. I'm mixing it in.

The T, H sound and, becomes very dentalized in the Italian accent just because of where the tongue is in the oral posture. So thick, thin, this, and that become thick, thin, this, that. The, to the, sound so in American English we'll say hat, chat, that. In Italian we might say hit, that, chat. This is a tricky 1 for Italian speakers to get this in American English that, sound. Good. So in Italian and in your Italian accent, you want to go all the way to an, good, books. So what's the musicality in Italian accent? Oh my gosh! Italian is all about musicality so just listen to some Italian speakers and you hear the music of the way they express themselves, it tells you a lot about who they are as people and it helps you to jump into the accent with your whole body, your whole spirit.

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