Learn How to Use Italian Accents in Writing by Listening (& Singing) to 2 Gorgeous Italian Song

Here you can learn Italian accents with fun by listening to “La Donna Cannone” by Francesco De Gregori, one of the greatest Italian song singer-writer:

La Donna CannoneThe Cannon Woman
ItalianEnglish Translation
Butterò questo mio enorme cuore
tra le stelle un giorno,
giuro che lo farò.

E oltre l’azzurro della tenda, nell’azzurro io volerò.
Quando la donna cannone d’oro
e d’argento diventerà,
senza passare dalla stazione

l’ultimo treno prenderà.

E in faccia ai maligni e ai superbi il mio nome scintillerà,
dalle porte della notte…
Il giorno si bloccherà,
un applauso del pubblico pagante

lo sottolineerà
e dalla bocca del cannone

una canzone suonerà
E con le mani amore,
per le mani ti prenderò
e senza dire parole
nel mio cuore ti porterò
e non aver paura se non sarò
bella come dici tu…
Ma voleremo in cielo in carne ed ossa, non torneremo più.
E senza fame e senza sete,
e senza aria e senza rete
voleremo via...
Così la donna cannone,
quell’enorme mistero volò,
sola verso un cielo nero s’incamminò.
Tutti chiusero gli occhi nell’attimo esatto in cui sparì,
altri giurarono e spergiurarono

che non erano mai stati
E con le mani amore,

per le mani ti prenderò 
e senza dire parole

nel mio cuore ti porterò 
e non aver paura se non sarò come bella come vuoi tu 
ma voleremo in cielo in carne ed ossa, non torneremo più…
E senza fame e senza sete 
e senza aria e senza rete

voleremo via...
I will throw this enormous heart of mine into the stars one day.
I swear I will do it.
And over the blue of the tent
into the blue, I will fly.
When the cannon lady
will turn into gold and silver.
Without going to the station
she will take the last train.
And in the face of the evil and the proud, my name will sparkle.
At the gates of the night…
The day will stop,
Applause from the paying public
will emphasize it.
And from the mouth of the cannon
a song will play…
And with the hands, love,
I will take your hands.
And without words
I will carry you into my heart.
And don’t be afraid
if I won’t be as pretty as you say…
But we will fly in the sky in the flesh,
we will never return.
And without hunger, without thirst,
and without wings and without a net we will fly away.
So the cannon lady,
that great mystery will fly
All alone agains the black sky
she began her journey.
Everybody closed their eyes
on that very moment she disappeared.
Others lied and gave false testimonies
claiming they had never been there
And with my hands, my love,
I will grab yours.
And without words
I will carry you into my heart.
And I will not be afraid
if I won’t be as pretty as you say.
But we will fly in the sky in the flesh,
we will never return.
And without hunger, without thirst,
and without wings and without a net we will fly away.

How to Use the Tonic Italian Accents

The main rule for italian accents is: in normal writing the accent is required only if the stress is on the last syllable of the word, i.e. the word ends with an accented vowel.

Examples:

perché (why)

città (town)

This kind of words are also called “truncated” words”

The vowel “e” and “o” have two different sounds:

* an OPEN one, indicated with the grave accent : è
* a CLOSED one, indicated with the acute accent : é

Note: However that such accents are NOT normally written (unless they are required for tonic reasons), and appear only in dictionaries.

Moreover, dictionaries report an “ideal” Tuscan pronunciation which is subject to ample regional variations.

For instance, the words perché (why) and stélla (star) are usually pronounced in the North as perchè and stèlla.

In general, a mispronunciation at this level won’t be noticed, or if it is noticed (for instance méla (apple) is pronounced everywhere like that, and if you pronounce mèla it will sound funny) you will be understood.

There are words in which a difference in accent causes a different meaning, as in pèsca (peach) and pésca (fishing), but in the North, we pronounce both words as the first one and are understood everywhere.

A note on accents: dictionaries indicate the tonic accent, i.e. put an accent on the vowel in the stressed syllable in the word (this is in the vast majority of cases the last but one, so-called “plain” or “flat” words).

This accent is not used and not required in normal writing.

In normal writing, the accent is required ONLY if the word ENDS with an accented vowel (i.e. the last syllable is accented, so-called “truncated” words), e.g. perché.

In handwriting do not bother to use the acute or the grave accent, just put any little sign over the vowel.

On typewriters with Italian keyboards, there are accented keys:

Italian Accents on the Italian Keyboard

On computer keyboards, we usually prefer to use ASCII keyboards without accented keys, and just use an apostrophe instead of the accent, e.g. perchè: it is simpler and more portable.

Otherwise, you can use the following list of Alt Codes for accented vowels in the Italian alphabet:

LetterLetter TypeAlt Code
ÀUppercase Accent Grave (A)0192
ÈUppercase Accent Grave (E)0200
ÉUppercase Accent Acute (E)0201
ÌUppercase Accent Grave (I)0204
ÒUppercase Accent Grave (O)0210
ÙUppercase Accent Grave (U)0217
àLowercase Accent Grave (a)0224
èLowercase Accent Grave (e)0232
éLowercase Accent Acute (e)0233
ìLowercase Accent Grave (i)0236
òLowercase Accent Grave (o)0242
ùLowercase Accent Grave (a)0249

The Italian Accents in Another Whimsical Italian Song – Con Te Partirò (by Andrea Bocelli)


More Great Songs With Italian Accents

Click Here to Learn More Italian – The Numbers

Best Songs to Learn Italian — Europass

 

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