Is the “g” silent, hard, soft…? Something else? Is it like “lee”, “glee”, “jlee”, or what?
It’s pronounced “ye” as in “Ye of little faith”.
The “g” is silent, and the “l” is pronounced roughly like the “lli” in “million”. This is the same letter combination as “ll” in Spanish or “lh” in Portuguese. However, in most dialects of Spanish, the “l” part of the pronunciation has been dropped, leaving just the “y” sound as in “caballero”.
Pagliacci = Pahl-YAH-chee. Or is it Pah-lee-AH-chee? I’m not sure myself.
Silent “g”. It’s pronounced almost as if there’s a “y” in front. “Yli”.
Not so much a “y” in front, as a “y” after the “l”, thus: “lyi”
Depends (you guessed that !)
You need to distinguish between gli the masculine plural article (the) which is pronounced as hibernicus said, anywhere from yi to li, where the y is more implied than stated - kind of a click of the tongue.
gli in a word such as aglio (garlic) or tagliato (cut), where the g is quasi silent, more of a slowing down before the ‘l’ than anything…
You really need to hear the sounds though, these phonetic renderings make it sound like italian sounds are composed of the same elements as english sounds, which of course is not always the case…
Asteroide makes a very good point, you really need to hear the word pronounced. And pronunciation is very important in Italian.
One of my favorite stories from college Italian had to do with the nuances of pronunciation. Our teacher (Brunella, and she looked like a Brunella) was trying to stress this with the phrase “I am twenty years old” (Ho venti anni). It’s important to ellongate the “n” sound in “anni” slightly, otherwise you come up with the word “ani”. After 3 or 4 students pronounced this incorrectly she stopped class and explained that when you don’t stress the “n” the phrase “I am twenty years old” becomes the phrase “I have twenty anuses”. Quite the difference.
When I learned Italian (I did a minor), the idea was to pronounce the first part of the gli (if you can imagine the ‘gl’ as a sound) from the back of the throat. Begin by saying the ly with the tongue at the back of the throat, and the tongue moving forward as you say the ‘ee’.
Same principle for ‘gn’ - silent ‘g’, but no invisible ‘y’ - but still from the back of the throat.
Like those “ugly ass” Bruno Magli shoes that OJ said he never wore. Most of the talking heads pronounced it “Molly”.