One source pronounces scuola as "sk'WOH-lah," and another says "sk'WAH-la".

Which one is it, or are there differing dialects in Italian for scuola? Grazie!

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    What you mean is whether (and possibly where) the pronunciation of scuola is /'skwoːla/ or /'skwɔːla/. I believe the standard pronunciation is the second one, but I'm not 100% sure. – Walter Tross Jan 30 '15 at 7:59
  • My Zingarelli dictionary reports /'skwɔːla/. Even in ditionaries without IPA, /o/ and /ɔ/ are usually told apart as ó and ò, at least on stressed sillables - in this case it is scuòla. – Walter Tross Jan 30 '15 at 8:22

BakaSara, lad5450: /'skwɔːla/
DelidiC, sales: /'skwoːla/
How close or open the 'o' is depends on local accent.
Standard pronunciation is /'skwɔːla/, as can be heard here (first audio): http://www.dizionario.rai.it/poplemma.aspx?lid=12292&r=932

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In Italian “u” can only be pronounced either “oo” (IPA /u/) or, in diphthongs as this one, something like “w” (IPA /w/).

As for the “o”, it is only ever pronounced as a closed or open “o” (IPA /o/ or /ɔ/); here it is /ɔ/. No way it can be pronounced “a”; where did you find it?

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  • I guess that WAH in sk'WAH-la is to be pronounced the English way, /'wɔː/ – Walter Tross Jan 30 '15 at 8:14
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    But then how is squalo to be rendered in English? Maybe you are right... – Walter Tross Jan 30 '15 at 8:26
  • @WalterTross: I see your point: it may well be a not too successfull attempt to describe an /ɔ/. I wonder. – DaG Jan 30 '15 at 8:37
  • Sorry, I'm not familiar with IPA. I'm only sounding it out as if I'm speaking. In English, I believe I hear something like this from Italian speakers: "Sk'wah-la," but in my Italian book it is pronounced phonetically "sk'woah-la". So, it seems that I'm hearing two ways. – Filippo Jan 30 '15 at 18:12

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