I am happy to announce the release of the Italian phonetic transcription translator on EasyPronunciation.com.
There were several people who asked me to create the phonetic translator for the Italian language. I don't speak Italian, so for a long time I didn't want to do that. But the requests were very persistent, so finally I decided to spend some time and analyze the general pronunciation rules in Italian. I still don't speak Italian, so please forgive my amateur approach to this task.
In order to create the translator, I used mostly the information from Wikipedia articles on Italian orthography and phonology. Then I tested the translator using the first 1,000 of the most frequent words in the Italian language. I checked their phonetic transcription in the online dictionary of Italian pronunciation (Dizionario di Pronuncia Italiana). This dictionary doesn't contain inflected word forms (exceptions are rare), so it was quite difficult for me to verify their transcription. As far as I can tell, the translator follows pretty well the general Italian pronunciation rules, including syntactic gemination. However, there are three things that are difficult to predict in the Italian language:
- Stress position in Italian words. Usually the primary stress falls on the second-to-last syllable, but there are a lot of exceptions to this rule.
- Open [ɛ] vs. closed [e] vowel
- Open [ɔ] vs. closed [o] vowel
I started to create my own lists of words that don't follow regular rules (stress position, open vs. closed vowels), but these lists include only the most frequent words in Italian. If somebody knows whether such lists exist (ideally for free), please let me know. Such lists will greatly improve the work of the translator.
For the time being the translator is available as beta version. I hope it will help people learn Italian phonetics.