If you’ve ever paid for something in Italian, bravo!
You know your numbers and prices well enough to get the important stuff done. There’s just one small detail you might have missed…
Can you pronounce euro in Italian?
You might be making a mistake without realising!
There are a couple of nuances that learners nearly always get wrong. The good news is, once you know they exist, they’re pretty easy to learn.
With the tips and tricks in this lesson, you’ll be able to confidently say euro like an Italian.
Let’s start with the thing that will make the biggest difference to your Italian pronunciation: the vowels.
Italian Vowels in EURO: Say Them Like you See Them
When Katie first started learning Italian, she started off by saying ‘YOUR-ROW’ and then went through a phase of saying ERO. Turns out, neither of these is correct!
The main thing that makes the pronunciation of euro tricky, are those two vowels at the beginning:
EEEE – UUUU
In English, we pronounce the beginning of euro as a Y. In fact, when you say it aloud, the first syllable sounds a lot like the word “your”: YOUR – ROW.
In Italian, things are actually simpler, because to speak with an Italian accent, you just say the vowels exactly like you see them.
See that first E? Pronounce it like the E in “egg”. Now make it nice and long.
Next, the U. Pronounce it like the OO in “too”. Say it slowly and clearly:
Now put them together:
EEEEEEE – UUUUUUUUU
Try saying them aloud a few times. Take your time and say them in a really slow and exaggerated way to allow your mouth muscles to adapt to the new sounds.
Feeling silly yet? Great, that means you’re on your way to perfect Italian pronunciation! Pronunciation is a practical skill, so you need to learn by doing.
Once you’re used to moving from EEEEE to UUUUU, move them closer together and make the transition quicker:
That’s it! You’ve already mastered the first (and trickiest) part of the word. Now let’s move onto the last part.
Practise the Italian R Sound in Euro
If you can’t roll your Rs in Italian, this sound might seem intimidating at first. But the good news is, you don’t actually need to roll your Rs to pronounce the word euro!
That’s because in Italian there are two R sounds. The double RR, in words like Ferrari, is the rolled one. When you have a single R, like in euro, it’s easy peasy.
In fact, if you can do an American accent, you can already say it!
The Italian single R is the same as the American T in words like ‘water’ or ‘potato’. Try to say ‘potato’ a few times in an American accent:
What does the T sound like? What happens to your tongue when you say it?
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that your tongue flicks up and down really quickly. This is exactly the same as the Italian R!
So now you already know how to make this sound, let’s try it in the word euro.
We’ll start by isolating the last part (TO):
Potato. Potato. Potato… tato, tato, tato, tato… to, to, to, to, to, to.
Remember to keep the “flick” quality of the t, where the tongue bounces up and down quickly. This might feel a bit strange at first because we never say it at the beginning of words in English.
Let’s try that again:
tato, tato, tato, tato, to, to, to, to = RO (in Italian)
You’ve got it! You can say -RO in the word euro.
Now you know how to pronounce each part of the word, all you need to do is put them together.
EU + RO = You Can Pronounce EURO in Italian!
Let’s come back to our vowels again. Remember how we pronounced each one slowly and carefully?
EEEEE – UUUUUU
Now let’s get them closer together again:
Perfetto! Next, remember the RO, which actually sounds like the -TO at the end of the word potato?
Potato, potato, potato… tato, tato, tato, tato… to, to, to, to, to
Remember to keep the “flick” quality of the tongue movement. It flicks up and down really quickly:
to, to, to = RO
OK, now let’s put them together:
Once you’re comfortable with each syllable, try speeding up the transition:
Sì!! You’ve got it. Don’t worry if the pronunciation feels unnatural or difficult for now, that’s normal when you’re learning pronunciation in a foreign language.
In fact, it’s a sign that you’re doing it right! It takes time to build your mouth muscles and get them used to moving in a new way. Keep practising in short bursts over the next few days and weeks, and you’ll soon start to feel more confident.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to the O in EURO (it’s different to English!)
Once you’ve mastered the vowels and R sound, you’re pretty much there when it comes to pronouncing euro.
But there’s one last detail to pronounce it like a true Italian: The O sound.
To get it right, it’s important to understand the differences between the English and Italian O. Did you know that the O sound in English is often made up of two sounds? For example, try saying these words aloud:
go, no, so
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the vowel is really long, with a little “w” sound at the end:
go(w), no(w), so(w)
In English, we actually say “euro” like this: “euro(w)”. The last syllable sounds like the word “row” as in “row boat”.
Not so in Italian! The “O” is a very short, sharp, clean “O” sound.
Euro, euro, euro, euro
It NEVER sounds like euro(w). Be careful not to add that little “w” sound at the end, because it’s a tell-tale sign of a foreign accent.
To say it like an Italian, keep the last O short and sharp:
Euro, euro, euro, euro.
Now you know how to pronounce euro in Italian, you’re ready to practise using it in some sentences!
Try Saying these Phrases with EURO
Un euro – one euro
Due euro – two euros
Tre euro – three euros
Venti euro – twenty euros
Take your time and focus on pronouncing all the new sounds carefully. Once you’re confident with the slow pronunciation, you can speed up and try saying the word in some longer sentences:
Il caffè costa un euro e dieci – the coffee costs €1.10
Abbiamo pagato un euro e dieci – we paid €1.10
Notice that in Italian we literally say ‘one euro and ten’ – un euro e dieci. It’s a perfect tongue twister to practise the pronunciation of euro!
The Secret to Mastering the Pronunciation of EURO
As you practise saying euro faster and in sentences, you might find yourself slipping back to the English way of saying it. This is normal.
The secret to breaking this pattern is to keep working on it little and often. It took Katie a little patience (and a lot of pratice!) to get it right, but it’s worth it to feel that little more Italian every time you pay for stuff.
Start by getting comfortable with the individual sounds first (E-U-R-O), then practise saying the whole word (EURO). Be patient and give your mouth muscles time to get used to the new Italian positions.
Finally, practice using the word in sentences, being sure to carefully enunciate the sounds as much as you can.
And remember, practice makes perfetto!
Master the Pronunciation of EURO: Review
To pronounce euro like an Italian, say the vowels like this:
EEE (like the “e” in “egg”)
UUU (like the “oo” in “too”)
The Italian R is the same as the American T sound at the end of “potato”. The tongue flicks up and down really quickly:
Potato… to, to, to
Finally, in English, we often add a little “w” sound to the end of “euro(w)”. In Italian, we don’t. It’s a short, sharp “O”.
Euro… you’ve got it! Now check out our quiz to see how much you can remember.
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Vocabulary: Master the Pronunciation of EURO in Italian
un euro = one euro
il caffè costa un euro e dieci = the coffee costs €1.10
abbiamo pagato un euro e dieci = we paid €1.10
due euro = two euros
tre euro = three euros
venti euro = twenty euros
Quiz: Master the Pronunciation of EURO in Italian
How much did you learn? Find out in the quiz!
Click here to take the quiz for this episode: Master the Pronunciation of EURO in Italian
Flashcards: Master the Pronunciation of EURO in Italian
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Transcript: Master the Pronunciation of EURO in Italian: Tips and Tricks
Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.
K: YURO, YURO, EEERO, EEERO
M: Katie. Tutto bene?
K: Yeah, I’m just remembering all the problems I used to have saying the word EURO.
M: Yes it’s hard for Italian learners! It’s kind of similar to English, but not really, and that can lead you to make mistakes.
K: But you don’t need to wait years to get it right, like I did! You just need the tips in this episode, and a little practice.
M: Let’s start with the most important part, the vowels. The mistake I hear most is “YURO”. With a Y at the beginning.
K: Yeah, that’s the mistake I made. Because in English, we have this Y sound: “YOUR-ROW”, so we do it in Italian, too.
M: But in Italian, we say vowels exactly as we see them. EEE – UUU
K: Listen carefully to Matteo and try to pronounce them like he does. We start with EH, like in “egg”. EEEEEEEEE.
K: Next, the “u”. In Italian, it sounds like the OO in “too” or “boot”. UUUUUUU.
K: Let’s put them together.
M: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE – UUUUUUUUUUUUUU
K: Keep enunciating the vowels very carefully, gradually making them shorter and closer together. EEEEEE – UUUUUUUU, EEE – UUUU, EE – UU, EU, EU, EU.
K: If it feels strange, you’re doing it right! In English we’re not used to having big transitions from one vowel to another, so it’s a gym for the mouth. It takes time for your muscles to adapt.
M: Another mistake I hear is EERO. Without the U.
K: Oh yeah, I used to do that, too! Once we realise the Italian word starts with EH, we tend to leave out the U, because it’s tricky to move from EE to UU. So pay special attention to the U. Not EEEERO, but EUUUUUUURO.
K: Perfetto. Next the R. The good news is, you don’t need to roll your Rs for this one!
M: In Italian there are two R sounds. The double RR, in words like Ferrari, is the rolled one. When you have a single R, like in euro, it’s easier.
K: In fact, if you can do an American accent, you can already pronounce it. The Italian single R is the same as the T in words like water or potato. Apologies for my hammy accent! Try to say potato a few times: Potato. Potato. Potato. What does the t sound like? What happens to your tongue when you say it? Potato. Potato. Potato.
You might notice that your tongue flicks up and down quickly. This is exactly the same as the Italian R.
K: Yep! To hear it, we just need to isolate the last part of ‘potato’. The “T” “O” at the end:
Potato. Potato. Potato… tato, tato, tato… to, to, to, to, to, to.
M: Ah, that’s clever! That is the same as the RO in euro.
K: Remember to “flick” the tongue up and down really quickly. Let’s try again: Potato. Potato… tato, tato… to, to, to, to, to, to.
M: RO, RO, RO. Perfetto!
K: Now let’s add both parts together. Start with the last part, RO.
M: RO, RO, RO.
K: Next, add the vowels EEE – UUU.
K: Once you’re comfortable with saying the sounds slowly, speed up the transition:
M: That’s it!
M: There’s just one last thing that people tend to make mistakes with. The O at the end.
K: Oh yeah! Because the English O almost has a little “w” sound at the end: go(w), no(w), so(w).
M: But not in Italian! The Italian “O” is a very short, sharp “O” sound: O, O, O. Euro, euro, euro
K: The last part NEVER sounds like “row”. It’s RO.
M: O, O, O. EURO, EURO, EURO. I’ve said it so many times, it’s lost all meaning.
K: Don’t worry if the pronunciation still feels tricky, it’s normal! Keep practising in short bursts over the next few days and weeks, and you’ll gradually feel more confident.
M: Then, once you can say euro on its own, you’re ready to practise some sentences!
K: How would you say “one euro”?
M: Un euro.
K: Take your time and enunciate the new sounds carefully. Euro. Then, try saying the word in longer sentences. How would you say “The coffee costs one euro ten”. In Italian, we say “one euro and ten”.
M: Il caffè costa un euro e dieci (x3)
K: Keep focusing on the EEUU, the R and the O. EURO. We paid one euro and ten:
M: Abbiamo pagato un euro e dieci (x3)
K: As you practise saying euro in sentences, you might find yourself slipping back into old habits. This is normal. The secret is to keep working on it, first with the sounds (E-U-RO), then the word (EURO), so your mouth can get used to the new positions. Then try using it in sentences, remembering to enunciate as much as possible.
M: And remember, practice makes perfect!
K: To see everything written down from this lesson, and get bonus materials, like vocabulary cards and a quiz, head to our website by clicking the link in the description, or go to joyoflanguages.com/italianpodcast and search for episode 101.
M: See you next time. Or as we say in Italian.
K, M: Alla prossima!
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