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When I studied Italian for a few months in the U.S., with a native speaker, the difference in pronunciation between open and closed e’s and o’s received little attention, apart from distinguishing e=and from è=is. (Perhaps she spoke a dialect in which the differences are less than in Standard Italian.)

As I’ve continued with self-study, I’ve relied on a Collins Italian-American dictionary app to tell me whether a stressed e or o in a word should be open or closed, by looking at the IPA phonetic spelling of the word.

But for a verb, this only tells me how to pronounce the infinitive. The app’s conjugation tables don’t have phonetic spellings. (You can have the app speak them, but this gets tedious.)

When I read English Wikipedia’s article “Italian phonology”, I discovered, for example, that in Standard Italian the e in era should be open but the e’s in facesse should be closed.

Is there an authoritative source that has phonetic pronunciations in Standard Italian for conjugations, or at least for verb endings?

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The standard reference on Italian pronunciation is the Dizionario d’ortografia e di pronunzia, once a printed book and now in a web version with audio files added. It was originally compiled for RAI, the public broadcasting company, when a good, standard pronunciation was held in high esteem.

Unfortunately it uses a non-standard (but easily understandable) phonetic alphabet, explained starting here.

In particular, what you seek about regular word endings is here: “Desinenze grammaticali” and pages following it.

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  • I had exactly this question and this answer is exactly what I need. Thanks!
    – jleathwood
    Commented 11 hours ago

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