Rules for the Italian tongue.

Of Pronounciation.

THE Italian tongue is pronounced as it is written, and written as it is pronounced: No letter of it is loſt or altered but G. & that chiefly when N. followeth the ſame, as in theſe wordes. Ingégno, Mágno, Pégno, Ségno, Sdégno, &c. which then is pronounced much like the Engliſh word Onion, as if an I. were included between the N. and the vowell following: It is likewiſe ſomewhat loſt when Li. followest, as in theſe, and infinite other wordes, Fíglio, Móglie, Quégli, Tógliere, and then it is pronounced as the Welchmen and Spaniards pronounce their double Ll. in Lloid, and Quéllo, or as the French men doe their double Ll. after an I. as in their words Fille, Eſtrille, Merueille, &c. except in the word Negligénza, where it is pronounced as in the Latine, or in the Engliſh word Gleeke.

Note that C. before A. O. and V. is euer pronounced as K in Engliſh: which the Italians never vſe, as in theſe wordes. Cáſa, Cáſta, Cóllo, Cóſa, Cúlla, Cuſtóde, &c. Whereas before E. and it is euer pronounced as Ch in Engliſh, as in theſe wordes, Celeſte, Celebre, Cíbo, Cínto, as you doe in theſe Engliſh wordes, Cheape, Cheries, Children, Cheeſe, and ſuch.

Note that whenſoeuer C. is double before A. O. and V. it is euer pronounced as double K. in Engliſh, as Accaſáre, Accadére, Accomodáre, Accoſtáre, Accumuláre, Accuſáre, &c. whereas if it come double before E. and I. as in theſe wordes Eccedere, Eccellente, Accióche, Vccídere, Vcciſóne, you must pronounce the firſt C. as a T. as if they were written, Etcedere, Etcellente, Atchióche, Vtcídere, Vtciſióne, &c.

Note that Ch is at all times, and in all Italian wordes pronounced as the letter K in Engliſh, as in theſe wordes, Chè, Chénte, Chì, Chiúnque, euen as you doe in theſe Engliſh wordes, Kettle, Kent, Keeper, Kindred, &c.

Note that the rule giuen for C. may alſo ſerue for the letter G. for before A. O and V. it is pronounced as in Engliſh, as Gámba, Góndola, Gúglia, &c. as Gad, God, Good: whereas before E. and I. it is pronounced as the I. being a conſonant in Engliſh wordes, as Gentíle, Ginócchio, &c. and Ghe. in Italian is pronounced as Gue. or Gui. in Engliſh, as Ghermíre, Ghirlánda, as in theſe wordes, Gealding, Guilt, &c. and if G. be double before A. O. and V. pronounce it as you doe in Engliſh, but being double before E. or I. as in theſe wordes, Leggere, Leggiéro, Lóggia, Loggiáre. You must pronounce the first G. as it were a D. euen as you doe in theſe Engliſh wordes, Hedge, Pledge, Dredge, Madge, Lodge, Drudge, &c.

For ſo much as the Italians haue two very different ſounds for the two vowels, E. and O. which for diſtinctions ſake, they name the one cloſe and the other open, and that I neuer yet ſaw booke printed with their differences but one, which was the Familiar letters of that learned man Claudio Tolomei, and that no rule hath yet beene giuen in ſo many of their tedious Grammars for the helpe of the learner, or for the right vſe of them; to eaſe him, and teach him to auoide the many errors that diuers commit (namely my countrey men the Engliſh) in not giuing them their right ſounds, I haue thought it most conuenient to ſay ſomething of them.

Note then that throughout all my Dictionarie I haue cauſed two ſeuerall E. and two different O. to be caſt and uſed, whereby the reader and learner may aſſuredly know how to pronounce them right, and giue them their proper and due ſounds.

The cloſe E. hath euer this forme, e. and is pronounced as the Engliſh E. or Ea. as in theſe wordes, Bell, Beaue, Den, Deane, Fell, Flea, Meade, Quell, Sell, Tell, &c. and the open E. hath this form e., which is euer pronounced as Ai. in Engliſh, as in theſe words Baile, Baine, Daine, Faile, Flaile, Maide, Quaile, Saile, Taile, &c

The cloſe E. is ſeene in theſe Italian wordes, Béne, Béuere, Sedére, Tenére, Vedére, and infinite others, and the open E. in theſe, Bello, Beſtia, Sella, Sedia, Teſta, Terra, Verro, Vette, &c.

So likewiſe to the close O. I haue throughout my booke giuen this oualle forme O. and to the open this round forme O. The firſt, cloſe or oualle is euer pronounced as the Enlgiſh ſingle V. in theſe wordes, Bun, Dug, Flud, Gud, Rud, Stun, Tun, &c. whereas the other round or open is euer pronounced as our O. in theſe wordes, Bone, Dog, Flow, God, Rod, Stone, Tone, &c. as for example in theſe Italian wordes, Io honóro il mío Dío cón ógni diuotióne, where euery O. is cloſe and oualle. And in theſe, lúi mi vuóle tórre la mia tórre; or else, lúi mi hà róſa la mia róſa; where Tórre with an open or round O. is a verbe and ſignifieth to take, and tórre with a cloſe or oualle O. is a noune ſubſtantiue, and ſignifieth a tower; and Róſa with an oualle and cloſe O. is a participle of the verbe Ródere, and ſignifieth Gnawue or Nibled, and Róſa with a round or open O. is a noune ſubſtantive, and ſignifieth the floure that we call a Roſe.

I could with many amplifications inſiſt upon these two letters, but becauſe I deſire to ſhunne prolixity, and addreſſe mine endeauours to reaſonable creatures, and no Critikes, I thinke this ſufficient, & for a triall referre them to my Dictionarie, where they may perceiue euery word truly accented, which was yet neuer ſeen in any printed booke of what language ſoeuer, and which was only done for her ſacred Maieſtie, whom alone next to God I deſire to ſerue and ſatisfie, which if ſhee be, I haue my deſire, I aime no further, and care not for the vulgar.

Note that I. is neuer conſonant in the Italian tongue, but euer a vowell, and is commonly pronounced as double Ee. in Engliſh, as in theſe words, Biánco, Gridáre, Gíro, Líbro, Mirácolo, Nído, Siréna, Tíro, Vilúppo, &c. as you doe in theſe Engliſh words, Bee, Creeke, Greene, Lee, Neede, Meede, Queene, Seene, Speede, Reede, Seede, Tree, Weede, &c.

Note that Sce, and Sci, as in theſe Italian wordes Scempio, Sceleráto, Scilinguáto, Scimonito, &c. are euer pronounced as you doe Sh in theſe Engliſh words, Shame, Shent, Sheepe, Ship, &c.

Note that V. in the beginning, and ſometimes in the middle of words, namely another vowell following the ſame, is euen a conſonant, as in Vário, Vedére, Veníre, Antiuedére, Preueníre, &c. but being a vowell, as in theſe words, Cúra, Furóre, Manducáre, Natúra, Púro, Rúta, &c. it is commonly pronounced as double Oo. in Engliſh, as in theſe words, Foode, Moode, Good, Moote, Roode, Stoode, Wood, &c.

Note that the coniunction copulatiue Et. Ed. or E. comming before a vowell it ought to be pronounced Et. or Ed. as for example, António, et Andrea, et ío ſiámo trè, or elſe, António, ed Andrea ed io ſiámo trè. whereof the latter is the most elegant. Whereas before conſonants it ought to be pronounced but as ſingle open E. as for example, Io, e tù, e lui,e tútti gli áltri nón facciámo chè vn córpo, except ſometimes in verſe by Poetica Licenza, which among Italians is very great.

Note that when two Zz. come together betweene two vowels, as in theſe words, Bellézza, Certézza, Grandézza, Fortézza, &c. you ought to pronounce the firſt Z. as a T. as if they were written Bellétza, Certétza, Fortétza, Grandétza, &c. except in theſe words, Mezzáno, Mezzo, Lezzo, Rezzo, Rózzo, and some few others, where the firſt Z. is pronounced as a D. as if they were written, Medzáno, Medzo, Ledzo, Redzo, Ródzo, &c. all which words were better written and printed with a ſingle Z. then with a double.

Note alſo that when Z. commeth betweene a vowell and a conſonant, as in theſe words, Ammorzáre, Fórza, Scorza, Sénza, &c. you ought to pronounce the ſame Z. as if a T. did goe before it, as if they were written, Ammortzáre, Fórtza, Scórtza, Séntza, &c.

Thus much I thinke ſufficient for the pronunciation.

Next section: Of the Articles of the Italian tongue, and of the frequent vſe of them.

Here are some examples of Florio's variant letters "E" and "O", as seen in this transcript and in the original text:

close open
Mercè Merce
E'ccio E'cci
tórre tórre
Oleáre Oleário

Remember that this distinction exists only in Florio's book, and solely indicates a difference in pronunciation. You should not ordinarily write an open "E" or "O" any differently from a close one.