Professor Malloy returns — How to properly pronounce Italian food
As a proud American of Italian ancestry who speaks Italian, I often get teased by my fellow Italians about the way I pronounce common Italian foods.
Many people in the New Jersey/New York area of Italian descent are second generation Americans. When their grandparents came over in the early 20th Century many were poorly educated and didn't even speak Italian. They spoke their regional or provincial dialect. Most were from the south of Italy and most had accents from that part of the country.
When they spoke Italian words, they used the pronunciation of vowel sounds that are different from the pronunciation of those vowels in American English. The result is that when we heard them and reproduced them we "bent" them to try and replicate what they were saying.
One quick example: the R in marinara is a rolled R in the Italian language. When our English speaking tongues tried to pronounce it, it came out like a D. Mahd-in-nahd!
Dropping the vowel sound at the end is the result of our Anglicizing the word. Thus over the years many of the words were "bent" to fit our mouths. I think you'll get a better idea if you watch this.
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