1. Anyone with any interest in matters of pronunciation who is either an Italian speaker of English or an English speaker of Italian can hardly fail to be fascinated by the Longman Dictionary of Pronunciation (1990 hereafter LPD). Besides being arguably the best pronouncing dictionary of the English language, the LPD supplies, for about three thousand words and names that obviously retain the written forms that they have in their languages of origin, not only their anglicised pronunciations but also their pronunciation in the language in question.
2. Of the languages quoted, ranging from Albanian to Zulu, the three most extensively represented are French, German and, for nearly ten percent of the total, Italian. The variety of Italian represented is the usual not-too-Florentine Tuscan and the LPD's author observes that he has "drawn particularly" on the Dizionario d'ortografia e di pronunzia by Bruno Migliorini, Carlo Tagliavini and Piero Fiorelli (ERI - Edizioni RAI 1969). He is Professor J. C. Wells of University College, London, a leading figure in the International Phonetic Association, whose admirable transcription symbols, clearly printed, are employed for every one of the 52 languages represented. LPD3 gives Italian pronunciations for about 400 words and phrases normally indicating explicitly when vowels are long and when consonants are doubled. It has naturally been "greatly indebted" to the "EPD", the famous Daniel Jones English Pronouncing Dictionary. From 1956 onward Jones included original-language versions of a handful of Italian words. These were almost all names, and didn't amount to much above 40 items in all.
3. The LPD items include Abbado, Abruzzi, accelerando, acciaccatura, aggiornamento, Agrigento, Aida, aioli, al, Albinoni, al dente, Alitalia, alla, alla breve, Amalfi, Amati, Ancona, andante, andantino, Andrea, Andrea del Sarto, Angelico, Annigoni, Antonioni, Anzio, Apulia (Puglia), arietta, Ariosto, Armani, Arno, arrivederci, Arturo, Ascona, assai, Assisi, Asti, Asti spumante, autostrada, Avogadro, bambino, Bari, Bartolommeo, basso, basso profundo, Beatrice, bel canto, Bel Paese, Bellini, ben, ben trovato, Bernini, Boccaccio, Boccherini, Bodoni, Bologna, Borgia, Borlotti, Botticelli, Brindisi, bruschetta (newly in 2008), buffo, cacciatore, Cagliari, Cagliostro, Calabria, Canaletto, cannelloni, Cannizzaro, Canossa, Capodimonte, Capri, Capua, carabinieri, Caravaggio, Carpaccio, Carrara, Caruso, Casanova, cassata, Castel Gandolfo, Cavalleria Rusticana, Cavour, Cellini, Cenci, Cherubini, Chianti, chiaroscuro, cicisbeo, Cimabue, cinquecento, commedia dell'arte, Como, condottiere, contessa, conversazione, Corelli, Correggio, Corti, Così Fan Tutte, Cremona, da, da capo, dal, Dallapiccola, dal segno, Dante, da Vinci, dolce, dolce far niente, dolce vita, doloroso, Donatello, Don Carlos (This opera originally had a French libretto; though usually referred to by its Spanish title, it is actually in Italian Don Carlo), Don Giovanni, Donizetti, Donna, Don Pasquale, duce, Elba, Enrico, espresso, Este, Eurydice (this spelling is "pronounced in imitated Italian" by some English speakers though not the modern Italian form which is Euridice ), fantoccini, Fellini, Fermi, Ferrara, Ferrari, fettucine, Fibonacci, Fra, Frascati, Friuli, Galileo, Garda, Garibaldi, Genoa (Genova), Ghia, Gigli, Giotto, Giovanni, Giulietta, Giuseppe, gnocchi, Golgi, Gorgonzola, gran turismo, grappa, grave, Guido, intaglio, Lamborghini, Lambrusco, Lancia, lasagna, Lepanto, linguini, lira, lire, Locarno, lollo rosso, Lombroso, Loren, Lucia, Lugano, Machiavelli, madonna, maestoso, maestro, Malpighi, Marconi, Marengo, marinara, Marsala, Medici, Menotti, Messina, Michelangelo, Milan, Modena, Modigliani, molto, Monaco, Monsignor, Monte, Montessori, Monteverdi, Monza, morbidezza, mozzarella, Mussolini, non troppo, Olivetti, opera, osso bucco, osso buco, Otranto, Padua (Padova), Paganini, Pagliacci, Palermo, Palestrina, Palladio, panettone, panini, papabile, paparazzo, Parma, parmigiana, Pavarotti, Peano, Perugia, Perugino, Pestalozzi, pesto, piazza, pietà, Pinocchio, Pirandello, Pisa, Po, poco, prosciutto, provolone, Puccini, Quasimodo, quattrocentro, radicchio, rallentando, Rapallo, Ravenna, Respighi (stress mark before the s), Rialto, Ricci, ricotta, Rigoletto, rilievo (close vowel), Rimini, ripieno (close vowel), Risorgimento, risotto, rocco, Rossini, Salerno, saltimbocca, San, San Marino, San Remo, Santa Santo, Savonarola, scaloppine, Scarlatti, scarlatina, scena, scherzando, scherzo, Schiaparelli, scirocco, secco, segno, segue, semplice, sempre, senza, Sergio, sienna (Siena), Signor, Signora, Signorina, simpatico, sinfonia, sinfonietta, Sorrento, sotto voce, stretto, Stromboli, terza rima, tessitura, Ticino, Tintoretto, Tivoli, toccata, tortellini, Toscanini, trattoria, Traviata, Trieste, troppo, Turandot, tutti, Uccello, Uffizi, Valpolicella, vaporetto, Verdi, Verona, Veronese, Verrazano, Vespucci, Visconti, Vivaldi,Volta (with separate entries as place and personal name), zabaglione, Zeffirelli.
4. Many other entries mostly fairly clearly also not "belonging" to English were not (at least originally) accorded Italian versions. These include adagio, Adolfo, agitato, Aleppo, Alfa-Romeo, alfresco, algebra, allegretto, Allegri, allegro, alto, amoretto, amoroso, Angela, Angelo, Angelina, Anna, antipasto, Antonia, Antonio, appoggiatura, arco, Ardizzone, aria, arioso, arpeggio, bagnio, ballerina, banditti, Bassanio (Bassano), Belinda, belladonna, Benita, Benito, Bernardo, Bianca, biretta (berretta: blended with Spanish bireta), bordello, Brabantio (Shakespearian coinage), braggadocio (coinage by Spenser who spelt it -occhio), bravo, bravura, breccia, brio, broccoli, Bronte, Bruno, Bugatti, Buitoni, cadenza, Cairo, cameo (cammeo), Camilla, cantabile, cantata, canto, capistrano, capella, capo, Capone, cappuccino, capriccio, capriccioso, Caprivi, Cara, Carlo, Carlotta, Cassio, Caterina, cavatina, Celia, cembalo, ciao, Cinzano, cicerone, cognoscenti, coloratura, Cortina, Cosmo, con, Con, con amore, concertante, concertino, concerti grossi, concerto, concerto grosso, confetti, continuo, contralto, Corvo, Cosa Nostra, crescendo, cupola, dado, D'Amato, De Bono, decrescendo, del credere, Del Monte, Desdemona, diabolo, dilettante, diminuendo, ditto, divertimento, doge, Dorabella, Eritrea, Etna, extravaganza, falsetto, fantasia, Ferranti, fiasco, Fidelio, Figaro, finale, finocchio, Finzi, Florio, forte, fortepiano, fortissimo, Francesca, fresco, furore, gala, Gallipoli, Gambaccini, Gemma, Genoese (Genovese), gesso, ghetto, gigolo, Gino, glissando, gondola, Gozo, graffiti, Gratiano (Graziano), Grimaldi, Griselda, grotto (grotta), Gucci, gusto, Horatio (Orazio), Iachimo, Iago, imbroglio, impasto, impresario, inamorata, inamorato, incognito, inferno, influenza, intermezzo, jacuzzi (Giacuzzi), Jessica (Gessica), Lambretta, Lanza, larghetto, largo, Laura, Lauretta, lava, lazaretto, legato, leghorn, Leghorn (Livorno), lento, Leonardo, Leonora, libretto, Lipari, loggia, Longobardi, Lorenzo, Loretta, Loretto, Lothario (Lotario), Louisa (Luisa), macaroni (maccheroni), magenta, Magenta, magnifico, majolica (maiolica ie Majorca), malaria, Malfi, Malta, Malvolio (Shakespearian coinage: would have been more authentically spelt -voglio), manifesto, Mantovani, Mantua (Mantova), maraschino, Marciano, Marco, Mario, martello, Martina, Martini, Maserati, Mecca, medico, Mercutio (Mercuzio), mezzo, mezzo-soprano, mezzotint (shortening of earlier mezzotinto), millefiori, Minelli, Minnelli, Miranda, moderato, Mona Lisa, Montebello, Montefiore, Monticello, morello, Morocco (Marocco), mortadella, motto, mustachio (mustacchio formerly also mustaccio), neutrino, Nicola, niello, Norma, Novello, numero uno, nuncio (nunzio), obbligato, oboe, oboe d'amore, Olivia, operetta, Ophelia (Ofelia), oratorio, orchestra, oregano (origano), Orlando, Orsino, ostinato, Othello (Otello), Pacino, padre, palmetto (palmetto), passacaglia (strictly "not an Italian word" as LPD comments), pasta, penseroso, pepperoni, Perdita, pergola, Petrarch (Petrarcha), Petruchio (would have been more authentically spelt Petruccio but that would not have so well conveyed to English readers the intended phonetic value), pianissimo, piano, pianoforte, piccolo, pistachio (pistacchio), pizza, pizzeria, pizzicato, politico, portamento, portfolio (portafoglio), portico, prestissimo, presto, prima ballerina, prima donna, Profumo, propaganda, Prospero, Punchinello (Pulcinella), punctilio (puntiglio), putto, Quaglino, Quattro, quota, Radice, ravioli, regatta (regata), relievo (rilievo), replica, rigatoni, ritardando, ritenuto, ritornello, rococo, Romano, Romeo, rondo, Rosetta, Rossetti, rubato, Sacco, salami, Salonika (Salonicco), saltarello, salvo, Santorini, scaloppine, scampi, scenario, scorzonera, Scutari, semolina, seraglio (serraglio), sforzando, Silvia, sinfonia, sinfonietta, sirocco (scirocco), soda, solfeggio, solferino, solo, sonata, sonatina, sopranino, soprano, sostenuto, staccato, stanza, Strada, Stradivari, stucco, studio, tagliatelle, tarantella, tarantula (tarantola), tempera, tempo, terrazzo, tiara, tombola, torso, Trasimene (Trasimeno), tremolo, trio, Tripoli, Turin, tutti-frutti, umbrella (ombrello), Umbria, Valentino, Valletta, Vanzetti, vendetta, Venice (Venezia), Venetia (Veneto), vermicelli, Vespa, Vesuvius (Vesuvio), vibrato, Vienna, vino, viola, viola da gamba, viola d'amore, violoncello, violone, virtù, virtuoso, vista, vivace, volcano (vulcano), Volpone, zero, zucchetto, zucchini.
5. From a glance through the foregoing list and comparison of its contents with the previous list of items which did receive Italian transcriptions it will be fairly obvious that most of the items in them were equally exotic.
6. LPD says that it shows original-language pronunciations for words "belonging to" foreign languages but it doesn't go into detail on just what "belonging to" might mean. It doesn't mean simply spelt the same way in English as in the original language as we have seen from the offering of the different Italian spellings of Genoa, Padua and Sienna whose English forms represent now archaic Italian versions. And in the case of Apulia we have not an Italian form at all but the Latin precursor of Puglia.
7. Many Italian loanwords, even when maintaining their original Italian spellings, are not always necessarily recognised as such by English speakers. For example: alto, aria, belladonna, broccoli, canto, casino, contralto, dilettante, ditto, finale, gorgonzola, graffiti, lava, madonna, manifesto, motto, opera, padre, pasta, portico, quota, replica, salami, soda, sonata, soprano, spaghetti, staccato, stiletto, terracotta, tremolo, trio, vendetta, vista.
8. Sometimes a word has existed for a while in a changed form alongside its original Italian form. Shakespeare in As You Like It may well have been putting into the mouth of Jaques his own uncertainty when he had him ask Call you them stanzos? He seems to have used a singular form stanze earlier in Love's Labours Lost. In this case the form that survived into modern usage was the modern Italian one but that was not so in all cases. Examples of the contrary include grotto (modern Italian grotta), semolina (Italian semolino), umbrella (Italian umbrello), punchinello (modern Italian pulcinella), regatta (Italian regata), salvo (Italian salva), zucchetto (Italian zucchetta). Compare also volcano and Italian vulcano and nuncio with Italian nunzio. The Italian word that can be banca or banco has been adopted into English in the latter form only as a gambler's interjection. The English form macaroni may look a perfectly possible Italian spelling but it corresponds to the standard Italian form maccheroni. The entry -ado (suffix) in OED has similar observations.
9. Fairly certain to be identified as of Italian origin by virtue of what they refer to or because of an obviously exotic relationship between spelling and pronunciation are: cicerone, gondola, imbroglio, intaglio, maraschino (despite OED, EPD and LPD more likely to be treated phonetically as a loan via French than given the Italian sound value of its ch), pizza, seraglio, signor, vermicelli.
10. Although most of the foregoing words have pronunciations with more or less the minimum adaptation to English sound-qualities and rhythmic habits, others have had their rhythms changed and/or their phonetic values re-interpreted into line with those of words that have had a longer history in English. Such items include dado, falsetto, Garibaldi, gusto, malaria, stucco and, until well into the present century, gala. The words cupola and studio have had the 'yod' element of the English 'long u' inserted into their pronunciation. Oboe has had its stress fronted and its two latter syllables reduced to one. Doge no doubt owes its loss of its second syllable to its passage through French. This was a Venetian variant of duce which itself was subsequently borrowed in reference to Mussolini: contrary to the EPD opinion, duce is practically almost always heard with its final vowel like that of essay rather than that of happy, as LPD rightly indicates. The EPD is similarly wrong in attributing only the happy ending to dilettante and finale. So is LPD. Though at padre and forte LPD rightly gives precedence to the essay value. EPD does in fact acknowledge the essay value for the final syllable of Dante. As a noun, forte had earlier, like Doge, lost its second syllable: but since the second decade of the last century it has largely regained it. As a musical term on the other hand it never lost it. Just as Doge and forte (and for Americans eg dilettante) have or had pronunciations that showed that they reached English via French in the past, one finds in the present age of universal popularity of Italian cooking that many people spell bolognese the Italian way but pronounce it more à la française as (spaghetti) /bɒlə`neɪz/.
11. The powerful analogy of the paroxytone stressings of words of the very numerous casino type has often caused English speakers to transfer to this category words not so stressed in Italian. Although this hasn't happened at all to broccoli, cupola, gondola, Tivoli, Perdita or pergola, at least in educated speech, and doesn't necessarily happen to Cagliari, Domenico, Genoa, Isola, incognito, Medici, Monaco, tombola or Brindisi, it seems to be the exclusive treatment of Desdemona, Lepanto, Lipari, Modena, Otranto, Taranto and perhaps also Stromboli. Curiously the reverse treatment has been accorded to Romeo which, though paroxytone in Italian, seems to have been always proparoxytone in English except as more recently in the car name Alfa-Romeo. Such treatment also occurred 150 years ago to balcony and orchestra which was stressed Italian fashion by Lord Byron. Uniquely Capri is end-stressed by most English speakers as in a popular song of a a couple of generations ago. To give three syllables to opera may seem rather a deliberate manner of uttering the word to modern ears. And it's quite inconceivable how Gimson could have left the EPD showing maestro as generally pronounced as three syllables with the stress on the second as in Italian: LPD rightly doesn't even bother to offer that as a rare alternative. I have never heard the word from a native speaker of English who didn't make it two syllables. Two other borrowings into the musician's vocabulary fantasia and sinfonia both have alongside the Italian stressing a more popular stressing on the second syllable.
12. Even when a word is used by English speakers in its Italian spelling there is inevitably in pronunciation a good deal of mainly unconscious adaptation of its values to English language phonetic habits and even in some cases to habits of interpretation of the spelling. Although the letters al are given their value as in pal in alto, Vivaldi (in the UK, in the US the ah vowel is usual) and salvo, the term falsetto is always given the same value as in false and so is the al of Garibaldi at least in referring to the biscuits. The more specialist musical term aria is always heard with the Italian value of its first vowel but the commoner expression malaria is always made to rhyme with area. The first syllable of dado is always as in day. The first of gala also once had that value, and indeed and long had it for the miners of the northeast of England in reference to their annual celebration in reference to which there was once a BBC edict for their newsreaders to say it so in reference to that festivity, but otherwise sophisticated speakers below retirement age all now revise its pronunciation into line with its Italian value. On the other hand there seems to be no evidence of anyone ever having wanted to treat the first syllable of lava other than in the Italian manner.
13. A paradoxical feature of the anglicisation of Italian borrowings is the fact that, although English has in words like saw and law very similar vowel qualities to some of the values of their letter o used by Italians, the force of the associations of the spellings is such that we constantly use our oh diphthong where our saw vowel would far better reproduce the original Italian value: for example the Italian word solo would be very successfully imitated by many English speakers if they simply said saw-law. Similarly the non-final i vowel of ditto, Figaro, piccolo, Vinci, vista, dilettante, stiletto, vermicelli etc hardly ever has in English-speaking mouths the more Italian value it regularly receives in casino, graffiti, trio etc. Prima donna (not that you'd know it from the OED, EPD or LPD except that the last shows the more English value as the regular one in the US) and pizza tend to wobble in this respect.
14. Most unstressed vowels of Italian loanwords other than final i are reduced by English speakers to a schwa ie 'obscure' value. Thus, even if the Italian spelling maccheroni were used instead of macaroni, no English speaker would be likely to pronounce the word any differently. And the first syllable of Caruso, the second of Boccherini, Paganini, Toscanini etc are all given the same value. The long schwa value of ordinary English er is normally heard in inferno, pergola and vermicelli but not always in concerto, Palermo, Salerno etc and now very rarely in Verdi (which had it as a variant in EPD without the warning old-fashioned until Gimson threw it out completely in 1977).
15. The coverage of Italian words in
LPD is quite generous, having hardly any serious omission. Suggestions
for future additions might include the following:
Alassio, Alberti, Alberto, Barolo, Benedetto, Bergamo, Bernardo, Betti, Biancha, Boïto, Bononcini, Brunelleschi, Busoni, Carducci, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Catania, Cesario, Claudio, Clementi, contadino, Croce, Dario, De Sica, Deledda, Diabelli, Di Stefano, Domenico, Ezio, Farnese, Fo, Francescatti, Galli-Curci, Gesualdo, Giorgione, Gobbo, Goldoni, Grazia, Guarneri, Ischia, Isola, Leonato, Leopardi, Malipiero, Manzoni, Mazzini, Mirafiori, Montale, Moravia, Nabucco, Nerissa, Paolo, Pergolese, Pinza, Pizzetti, Ponchielli, Regata, Reggio, Rienzi, Roderigo, Romola, Rossellini, Scapino, Schipa, Stephano, Tagliavini, Taranto, Tartini, Tasso, Tebaldi, Tetrazzini, Tiepolo, Tipo, Tito, Tosca, Trovatore, Ugo, Verdicchio, Vicenza, Vincentio (Vincenzio), Zino.