How should one pronounce, "minestrone" in English? I was at an Italian restaurant (US) and ordered "min eh stron ee soup" and my friend told me that's wrong... that the ending "e" is silent. They said it's pronounced, "min e stron". What is correct?
Ministrone is an English loan word from Italian. Italian language courses teach the Standard Italian pronunciation in which almost all letters are vocalized except silent h. (So for example, "bella" is pronounced "bel la", not "be la".) So minestrone is pronounced "min eh stron ee" or "min eh stron eh".
However, many people in America pronounce it "ministrohn" (silent e), and this is also ok, as that's how it's pronounced in some Italian dialects. In fact, this type of pronunciation (dropping ending vowels, especially for foods) was popularized during the long running HBO series, "The Sopranos". (See Why do The Sopranos leave off the last vowel in Italian words?)
But those who insist that "ministrohn" is the only proper pronunciation don't know what they're talking about. From a linguistic perspective, neither pronunciation is "the one and only correct way" or "wrong", they're just different.
Here's a good article from the The New York Times: You Say Prosciutto, I Say Pro-SHOOT, and Purists Cringe.
For general reference, see Italian drop final vowel.
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