Are the pronunciations of "cie", "ce", "gie", "ge" the same when the letter "i" is used to soften? Why I'm asking it is because I saw some words as you can see below;

  1. Cielo = It is pronounced as if there is no i sound there. It sounds like "celo"
  2. Astrologie = It is pronounced with the sound of the letter "i".

I have been taught that if the letter "i" comes after "g" or "c", it makes their sounds soft and it doesn't get pronounced. My questions are:

1-) If this rule is correct, why is there "i" sound in the word "astrologie" ?

2-) Why does the word "cielo" sound like "celo" ? Are "cie" and "ce" the same?

3-) Is there any Italian words including "cie" that has the sound of the letter "i" during its pronunciation like "astrologie" ?


1 Answer 1


If the i is unstressed (as in cielo), cie/ce and gie/ge are pronounced the same. If it is stressed, though (as in astrologia, astrologie and likewise e.g. farmacia, farmacie), it is pronounced even before an e.

  • Is this situation special for the letters with soft and strong sounds? Are there any words including "bie", "die", "vie", "lie" in which the letter "i" doesn't get pronounced? I think there aren't. If there is the letter "i" with a vowel that has just one sound possible, then "i" must be pronounced, right?
    – Jawel7
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 15:47
  • 2
    @Jawel7: As the answer clearly explains, in cie and gie (and cia and gia etc.), if the i is unstressed, “ci” or “gi” may be considered a single grapheme, say the equivalent of (I think) “č” or “ch” in other languages. After any other consonant, the “i” is an actual letter, with different sounds whether stressed (“fobie”, “ferrovie”, “malie”...) or unstressed (“guardie”, “veliero”, “cavie”...). In the first case, it is the normal vowel /i/, in the second one it is the semivowel /j/.
    – DaG
    Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 17:25

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