The [C] pronunciation

Hello everyone! I hope you can help me with this one.

When I learned italian phonetics, I was taught that 'C' in front of an 'E' or an 'I' is pronounced like the 'CH' on words like choke or change.

However, I've heard some italian people pronunciating it like the "SH" on words like she or shame.

Example: cinema -> I've heard people saying CHinema as well as SHinema. In fact, I hear more people using the 'SH' sound than the 'CH'.

I guess that both pronunciations are correct, but I would like to confirm it.

Thanks a lot!

July 25, 2013


You need a native for this, but I think it's regional.

July 26, 2013
  • 2063

Yes, slurring 'ch' to 'sh' is rather common, with varying degrees; in the area around Rome where I live it wouldn't happen with 'cinema', but it does when the groups 'ci' or 'ce' are alone in the middle of two vowels: for instance 'bacio' is often pronounced 'basho'. There are a lot of local varieties, more or less influenced by dialects and older languages; for instance Milanese speakers tend to favor open vowels (sometimes with funny effects, like 'te', you, being pronounced like 'tè', tea) and Sardinian speakers tend to double the consonants after a stressed syllable. You'd do best to stick to the proper language anyway, even though it's becoming rarer now that regional accents and dialects are welcome in popular media.

July 27, 2013

Thank you, I hope to find it out sooner or later, but I guess I'll stick with the "ch" pronunciation.

July 26, 2013

definitely regional .... excellent explanation by f.formica :-)

July 27, 2013
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