I do not speak a word Italian but I wanted to solve the obligatory dispute amongst ignorants about the pronunciation of gnocco and gnocchi by looking up the IPA pronunciation on the Internet. Unfortunately my results were non-satisfactory (for reasons I list below), so I ask you:
- What is the pronunciation of gnocco and gnocchi in IPA? (Or is this a case of allophones with multiple “correct” pronunciations?)
- Unless the answers are [ɲɔko] and [ɲɔki], how can my issues (see below) be explained?
How is cch realised?
- [ɲɔkki] or [ɲɔk.ki] – Found in the the Italian Wiktionary, the Langenscheidt dictionary and the English Wiktionary. Contains probably the most reliable sources on the list. However the [kk] sound seems like something to me that would be quickly replaced by [k] unless it distinguishes between meanings. I also fail to hear a [kk] in all¹²³⁴⁵ but one⁶ of the pronunciation samples I found – but then again, I know how ears can be deceiving you with such a thing. Finally, no non-IPA pronunciation instruction I found contains this, though it could have been easily represented (e.g., nok-key instead of nokey).
- [ɲɔki] – I couldn’t find this in dictionaries but it has surprisingly many findings on the Internet and would probably be en par with 1., if it weren’t for Wiktionary clones. Also what I hear from most audio samples¹²³⁴⁵, though I know that I am fallible here. Finally, what seems most plausible to me linguistically, since it seems to be the way of least resistance.
- [ɲɔkːi] – Found on some Wikipedias, amongst others German. Lengthening the [k] does not make sense to me, as it is by nature a punctual sound and thus cannot be lengthened (it’s like lengthening the sound of a clap). When I try to lengthen it, it becomes something like [χ].
How is gn realised?
For the singular form, the Italian Wiktionary claims that it is pronounced [ɲɲɔkko] and not [ɲɔkko], while the pronunciation of the plural form is given as [ɲɔkki]. As pluralisation happens at the end of the word orthographically as well as in all Indoeuropean and in particular all Romance languages that I am aware of, this seems rather unlikely (though not impossible) to me, moreover so as there seem to be other clear means to distinguish the plural from the singular form. I also do not hear anything like this in the pronunciation samples¹ ² ³ ⁴ ⁵⁶.