How do you say ‘August’ in Italian?
Wait for it… agosto!
You’d be forgiven for thinking ‘Easy, that’s basically the same as English’ and quickly moving on to learning the other months.
That’s exactly what Katie did. But then, a few years later, she discovered she’d been saying it wrong all this time!
That’s because there are a few important details that learners nearly always get wrong.
Luckily, once you know about them, they’re easy to correct! In fact, with these tips and tricks, you’ll be saying it like an Italian before you get to the end of this blog post.
So, how should you pronounce agosto in Italian? Let’s break it down.
Step 1: Say It How You See It
Augusto? Agusto? Agosto? If the pronunciation of agosto feels confusing, it could be because you’re mixing it up with the English pronunciation.
The good news is, the Italian pronunciation is very simple!
In Italian, words are nearly always pronounced exactly as they’re spelled. So, let’s look at the spelling of agosto: A – G – O – S – T – O.
Notice there’s no U in agosto. That’s important because many English speakers mistakenly add a U sound when pronouncing it. Instead, in Italian, we just say the vowels how we see them, in this case ‘A’ and ‘O’.
Try saying the word agosto aloud, without any U sound, just A and O:
Psst! Did you actually say it aloud? Remember, pronunciation is a practical skill: you need to practise saying the words so you can get your mouth muscles used to the new sounds. So find a quiet space (or warn anyone in the vicinity that you’re practising your Italian!), then go for it.
Got it? Bene! You’re sounding more Italian already. All you need now is a little more practice to help the new pronunciation patterns sink in.
Step 2: Break Down the Word into Sections
So, you already know that when saying agosto in Italian, you should pronounce the A and the O (and avoid saying U). But knowing is different from doing!
When practising the pronunciation of Italian words, it helps to break them down into sections. Let’s start slow and practise each bit of agosto separately, in three parts:
A – GOS – TO
Here’s a pronunciation tip for each part:
1. A – Don’t say “AU”, like in English. It’s just A, like in ‘apple’.
2. GOS – It’s not GUS. Remember, there’s no U sound. It’s GOS, like in ‘gossip’
3. TO – Careful not to say “tow”. In Italian, there’s no little ‘w’ sound at the end. It’s a short, sharp ‘o’ sound.
All together now!
A – GOS – TO
A – GOS – TO
A – GOS – TO
Let’s go faster…
Sì! You’ve got it. Starting slow like this will help you avoid slipping into English habits and instead focus on the details of the Italian pronunciation. Then you can speed up gradually as you practise the Italian version and it starts to feel more familiar to you.
Time for one last tip to perfect your pronunciation of agosto in Italian.
Step 3: Practise in sentences
Once you can say the word agosto on its own, try saying it in some sentences. As you practise, remember to keep paying attention to the vowels, and say them as you see them.
In agosto fa caldo – In August, it’s hot (lit. ‘it does hot’)
Non lavoro in agosto – I don’t work in August
How to Say August in Italian – Review
Saying agosto in Italian is simple when you know how! Focus on clearly annunciating the A and the O, and be sure to avoid inserting a ‘U’ by accident.
By paying attention to spelling, breaking words down into smaller parts and practising them in sentences, you’ll build skills that will help you pronounce any Italian word. Keep practising agosto and you’ll hear how your pronunciation becomes more and more Italian over time.
Speaking of agosto, there’s something else you should know about this month in Italy!
Take a Break with us this Agosto
In Italy, agosto is the month when most people go on vacation. The whole country basically shuts down as Italians head to la spiaggia (the beach) or cooler countries to escape the heat. That’s why we’ll be taking a short break from our podcast and blog during this month.
But, we’d love to stay in touch! Join our newsletter here to receive updates and tips to improve your Italian during this time. Plus, we’ll let you know when doors to our online Italian school are opening in September.
So, take a break with us and enjoy the summer ☀️
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Vocabulary: How To Pronounce August in Italian
agosto = August
in agosto fa caldo = in August, it’s hot (lit. at August, it ‘does’ hot)
non lavoro in agosto = I don’t work in August (lit. at August)
la spiaggia = the beach
Quiz: How To Pronounce August in Italian
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Click here to take the quiz for this episode: How To Pronounce August in Italian
Flashcards: How To Pronounce August in Italian
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Transcript: How To Pronounce August in Italian: The Beginner Mistake Everyone Makes!
Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.
K: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti! Hi everyone and welcome to “Learn Italian with Joy of Languages”. Today we’re talking about how to pronounce agosto in Italian. Which is deceptively tricky!
M: True! A lot of learners say this wrong. Even at an advanced level. I think it’s because it’s very similar to English, but it’s not the same.
K: Yeah, we try to say it like we would in English which leads us to get the details wrong. And it’s something we don’t really pay much attention to. I’d been speaking Italian for years before I realised I’d been getting it wrong! Then it took me a little while to get out of bad habits and start saying it right. But you can learn from my mistakes and get things right a lot sooner! So how do Italians pronounce “August?”
M: AGOSTO. AGOSTO. AGOSTO.
K: In Italian, the trick is always to look at the spelling. Because we nearly always say words exactly as we see them. In Italian, it’s spelt: A – G – O – S – T – O. Notice there is no U in the word AGOSTO. I remember being quite surprised when I noticed that! Because I’d been inserting a phantom “U” in there for years. I’d either say ‘AU-gusto’ or ‘AgUsto’. But there’s no U in the Italian version. So let’s start with the first part.
M: A. A. A.
K: We don’t say “AU”, like in English. It’s A. A. A. Then, the next part:
M: GOS. GOS. GOS.
K: Notice that here, it’s a GOS sound. It’s not GUS. Again, there’s no U sound. GOS. Let’s put the first two together.
M: A-GOS. A-GOS. A-GOS.
K: Then, you just have to add the last part:
M: TO – TO – TO.
K: Be careful not to say it like “tow”. English speakers tend to say the ‘o’ sound as if it had a little ‘w’ at the end, for example like T-O-W, as in ‘tow’ your car. But in Italian, it’s a short, sharp O. TO.
M: TO – TO – TO.
K: Let’s try the whole word together.
M: A-GOS-TO. A-GOS-TO. A-GOS-TO.
K: And here we can learn a really important lesson for Italian pronunciation in general. We say words as we see them, so you can learn how to pronounce them by looking at them. Then, once you can see the word written down, you’ll need to fully enunciate every vowel you see. Like the A and the O in AGOSTO.
M: A-GOS-TO. A-GOS-TO. A-GOS-TO. AGOSTO. AGOSTO. AGOSTO.
K: To learn more about this important tip for mastering Italian pronunciation, check out episode 87, ‘how to have an Italian accent the quick and painless way’. Particularly when the word is similar to English, but a bit different, it’s really important to focus on these details because it’s almost guaranteed that the vowels will be different.
M: You need to see the word, identify the vowels and practice pronouncing them fully.
K: I find it really helps to break down the word into little sections, because then I can see that actually, it’s quite different compared to English.
M: A–GOS–TO. A–GOS–TO. A–GOS–TO. AGOSTO. AGOSTO. AGOSTO.
K: Starting slow like this will help you avoid slipping into English habits and instead focus on the details of the Italian pronunciation. Then you can speed up gradually as you practise the Italian version and it starts to feel more familiar to you.
M: Then, once you can say the word on its own, you can try in some sentences.
K: For example, how would you say ‘In August it’s hot’. In Italian, we literally say ‘it does hot’:
M: In agosto fa caldo (x3)
K: I don’t work in August:
M: Non lavoro in agosto (x 3)
M: Now you’ve got the pronunciation of agosto right, there’s something else we need to say about agosto. Something Italians nearly always do in agosto…. Nothing – Niente!
K: Yeah! If you’ve been to Italy or worked with Italians before, you might have noticed that the whole country basically shuts down in agosto.
M: Because it’s really hot, we normally save up all our vacation for this month and head to the beach. Or a cooler country! Especially because a lot of us don’t have aria condizionata. Air conditioning.
K: That includes us, and it gets quite tricky to record podcast episodes in the heat, because we have to close all the windows and doors and turn off all the fans, so that we don’t have background noise, and then sweat our way through the episodes – a bit like we’re doing now. Sorry if that’s too much information!
M: The heat is always a great excuse to slow down. So we’ll be taking a little break from the podcast over the next few weeks.
K: We’ll be back at the end of agosto, when things have cooled down a bit.
M: But we’d love to stay in touch!
K: Sì! You can stay in touch with us by joining our newsletter. You’ll keep getting emails with updates and tips to improve your Italian this month. And we’ll let you know when doors to our online Italian school are opening, which is soon, in September! To join, click the link in the podcast description. We’d love to see you there.
M: A presto!
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