• Stefano Chiaromonte

How To Pronounce SC in Italian | Italian Pronunciation for Beginners

Ciao! In today's article, we will take a look at the different sounds the letters SC can have in Italian. These sounds exist in English, so they shouldn't be hard to pronounce. Let's get into it!



Before we dive into today's topic, make sure you've read my previous article on the sound of Cs and Gs in Italian. This is because the same rules apply to SC, so once you understand how that works, it'll be much easier for you to remember how SC is pronounced.


SC can have two different sounds in Italian: a hard sound and a soft sound depending on the vowel that follows SC.



1. Soft sound


SC is pronounced as a soft sound when it is followed by the vowels E or I.


The soft sound of SC is the same as the sh sound you have in English in the words she, ship, or shell.


Let me give you a few examples with this word:

  1. Pesce (fish)

  2. Sciarpa (scarf)

  3. Sciare (to ski)

  4. Scemo (idiot)


P.S. Make sure to watch my YouTube Video on this topic to listen to the pronunciation of these words and repeat them after me.


Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!


2. Hard sound


SC is pronounced as a hard sound when it is followed by the vowels A, O, or U.


The hard sound of SC is the same as the sk sound you have in English in the words skill or skull.


Let me give you a few examples to better understand:

  1. Discutere (to discuss)

  2. Scale (stairs)

  3. Scarpe (shoes)

  4. Bosco (wood, forest)


Let's talk for a second about the third one, scarpe! You want to make sure to pronounce the sc there like a hard sound, because if you pronounce it like a soft sound, then you're saying sciarpe (sh-iar-pe), scarves!



3. Hard sound with the H


As we discussed in the article about the pronunciation of Cs and Gs, if we add an H after the C, we make the sound hard.


SCHI and SCHE are pronounced as hard sounds. Remember that you will find only the vowels E or I after SCH.


Here are a few examples you can practice with:

  1. Schiavo (slave)

  2. Scherzo (prank)

  3. Schermo (screen)

  4. Rischio (risk)

Do you remember the word pesce (= fish) we talked about at the beginning of this article. Well, adding an H and pronouncing the sc sound like a hard sound, would completely change the meaning of the word. Pesche (pe-sk-e) means peaches!



4. The word SCUOLA


This word is very unique, as its spelling and pronunciation are not common among Italian words.


I am sure you can guess what SCUOLA means! It simply means school.


The C in this word is pronounced as a q.


Its pronunciation is something similar to s-q-uo-la.



All right! We are done with today's lesson. As you can see, the pronunciation of SC is very simple and extremely similar to the rules we've seen for the Cs and the Gs.


One little piece of advice that I have for you is to memorize one word per rule. This way, you won't have to memorize the actual pronunciation rules, but just one example word you can connect the rule with!


Make sure you watch my YouTube Video on this topic, to better understand how I would pronounce these words. You will also find a little pronunciation practice at the end of the video to improve your pronunciation with me!


I'll talk to you soon!


Ciao!


Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!

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