One of the hardest words to pronounce in Italian for English speakers is the feminine noun aiuola, which means flowerbed. Why is it so difficult, you might ask? Well, it has a lot to do with the presence of four adjacent vowel sounds, a phenomenon that doesn’t really occur in English.
In fact, the plural aiuole contains all five vowels in the Italian alphabet – a, e, i, o and u – broken up only by the lonely consonant L!
Here are the definite and indefinite articles that should be used with this word:
- l’aiuola = the flowerbed
- le aiuole = the flowerbeds
- un’aiuola = a flowerbed
- (delle) aiuole = (some) flowerbeds
Non calpestare l’aiuola!
Don’t walk on the flowerbed!
Aiuola can be used to refer to a plot in a garden, the bed around the edge of a lawn, or the earth prepared for the growing of plants.
Aiuola spartitraffico, which literally translates as “traffic-separating flowerbed”, is the term used to describe the strip of land between the carriageways of a freeway or other major road. In English, we call this a central reservation or median strip.
There is another word, which is easier to pronounce for learners, and that is aiola (you basically drop the “u”). They’re perfect synonyms, but aiuola is considered more literary so it’s not uncommon to hear Italians say aiola instead.
Si dice aiola o aiuola? Tu lo sai?
Do you say “aiola” or “aiuola”? Do you know?
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.