Learn Italian Online: Every Language is Made Up of Words



Learning Italian


Obvious statement that is, I know. But if we consider numbers, nouns and a few adjectives (cutting out verbs/pronouns and all the rest as not essential in the beginning) we can look at the whole thing from an unusual point of view I’d like to get deeper into.


Imagine someone coming from abroad entering a shop in your town and asking the clerk “bread, oil, apples, how cost?” and being able to understand “twelve seventy-five” as a reply. Wouldn’t this kind of conversation work? Far from being articulate or specific, this guy would be able to shop for food anyway, without needing anything else than a few right words.


Words are the skeleton a language is built around, once we know them we can grow in confidence and refine our knowledge with simple phrase patterns. Practice is the key anyway, and speaking things out loud is vital. Once you can speak the words you need, you have a lot less to think about while building a sentence and can put all your energies into choosing a grid to place words on, selecting a verb mood and so on.


While approaching a new language we usually set a sort of a standard with ourselves, based on our ability in our own native language. This way we tend to get an expectant attitude, but nothing can be perfect from scratch. We’re so good in our language and all of a sudden find ourselves babbling nonsense out, unable to match sounds and structure, words and their meaning.


We should change that: we master our own language and didn’t certainly reach mastership starting with books and rules. Progressive approximation took us there, tons of daily mistakes nobody blamed us for and little improvements everybody around would flatter us for. Neither a whole beloving world is around all day to welcome every little forward step of ours anymore, nor we usually are so great at considering mistakes as a necessary part of learning. Therefore a proper attitude seems to me the first vital tool when approaching a new language: don’t blame your mistakes, praise your own progresses and start learning words!


Which words, and how?


Start with nouns of things you have around all the time and talk to yourself like “I’ll drink un caffè now”, “let me andare in salotto for a while”, “tempo to cook again”, “adesso is time for una pausa” and so on. You’ll soon grow accustomed to it and will notice that English and Italian share several sentence structures. Go for objects, adjectives and infinitive verbs and choose those you use everyday first, the ones you find easiest first. A dictionary is all you need at this stage and this kind of practice will store words in your brain very efficiently: they’ll pretty readily come out whenever needed and all these uncommon and beautiful Italian sounds will soon become familiar. Also, the more you speak and the more easily you can understand someone else speaking, so stick on it!


After a while you can choose a situation you like (or one you think it’ll will be important for you to get ready for) and build up a word set for it. Nouns, adjectives and verbs’ infinitive mood to start with.


As time goes by, you can start understanding how the verbs system works but just after you have a good amount of words at hand. Regular verbs are not hard to learn and a few things can be simplified so don’t worry about verbs too much: there’s always time for modals, while basic words are always needed!



Last note, on writing


I wouldn’t bother writing in the beginning; writing in my opinion comes after speaking: once you can speak a sentence in Italian you'll mostly be able to write it down because all the work is actually done already. Misspelling is hard in Italian: pronunciation and spelling go very much together, unlike they do in English. I'd just write things down in order to fix something new on paper and carry it in my pocket, not as an exercise itself.


Hopefully you’ll find these notes useful.


We’ll start with a few nouns and basic regular verbs next time, please send me any request you might have and buono studio until then!


By Carlo Pescatori


Learn Italian Online


Pronunciation: Consonants
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by admin
Italian for Beginners: Consonant pronunciation Mp3 Audio:  It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now. Frasi di aiuto - Help AudioPlayer.embed("mp3player_1", {soundFile: "../mp3/consonants.mp3"}); Most Italian consonant sound the same as in English. However, there are a few spelling peculiarities you should take notice of: c before an e or an i is always pronounced soft ch is always pronounced hard, as in the letter k ca, co, and cu are always pronounced hard g before an e or an i is always pronounced so...
Italian False Friends: false cognates in Italian     Learning a foreign language is not a simple task and to many it can be a challenge. Things get even more complicated when more than one meaning is contained in one single word: if, on a side, it is a good thing because our memory does not have to make too much effort, it also becomes more difficult to understand which meaning is more apt to the context.  Whether it is better or not, ambiguity can certainly arise and the learner has to simply understand the message through the context.   Fal...
Verbs in Italian
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by admin
INTRO TO ITALIAN VERBS AND CONIUGATIONS Mp3 Audio: It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now. Learning Italian I verbi hanno un ruolo fondamentale nel meccanismo delle frasi. Non può esserci una frase con significato compiuto senza il verbo. Attorno ad esso si organizzano i diversi elementi che servono ad esprimere un’idea. In questa sezione imparerete a usare i verbi italiani, utilizzando le forme semplici e complesse, i verbi attivi e passivi e come riconoscere e utilizzare i diversi tempi e coniugazioni, come il tempo presente e la coniugazio...
Negative Sentences  in Italian In English the purpose of a negative statement is to express a negation, which is to say that something is incorrect or untrue. In order to create a negative sentence a negative adverb is included before the first auxiliary verb in a positive sentence, if there is no auxiliary verb then one needs to be added in order to create a proper negative statement. An example of a Present Simple positive sentence without an auxiliary verb is "I see," to make this into a negative sentence one would add "do not" or "don't" (ie. "I do not see.")  Negative sentences in Eng...
The Gerund Tense
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by elisabressan
Il Gerundio Il Gerundio nella lingua italiana esprime l'idea del verbo in funzione di complemento (di tempo, di modo, di mezzo, di causa ecc); es. Lavorando ( = col lavoro) mi guadagno la vita; Avendo sbagliato ( = A causa dello sbaglio) sono stati puniti. Il gerundio ha solo 2 tempi: presente e passato. Il presente ha il valore di ogni altro presente; la parte che cambia è la parte finale che si aggiunge alla radice del verbo: -ando per i verbi in -are; -endo per i verbi in -ere/-ire/- isc. Il gerundio passao è composto dall'ausiliare di avere/essere al presente del gerundio + part...
Learning Italian
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by admin
Learning Italian The silence was killing me. I was mute, and it wasn't for lack of want. I found myself walking the streets of Milan not being able to greet anybody, or make sense of even a signpost, and it was beyond entertainingly humorous. My previous experience with the Italian language was non-existent. I had heard 'ciao' but didn't know if it was 'hello' or 'goodbye', and I had some inclination that 'grazie' could be a useful word. But beyond that, my ignorance was obvious. After the first month of living an isolated, solitary existence, my desire to commu...
Italian Subjunctive Mood
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by ancos
In Italian language subjunctive mood is expanding and it's active, however in modern English it's disappearing. The subjunctive mood  expresses doubt, (I doubt they'll come = io dubito che loro vengano), possibility, emotion or an uncertain event (I hope that you'll come = spero che tu venga). The Italian subjunctive is used mainly in subordinate clauses following a set phrase or conjunction, such as benché, senza che, prima che, or perché. As I already said, it is also used with verbs of doubt, possibility and expressing an opinion or desire, for example with credo che, è possibile che, an...
Italian Imperative Tense
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by ancos
The imperative tense in Italian expresses a command (sit down - siediti, come here - vieni qui, bring me the ticket - prendimi il biglietto, etc...), but it can also express an invitation to do or to have something: have some cake, feel fre to ask, etc). In English, commands can be interpreted as rude and insensitive, but we can hear often them in informal Italian, but the most important thing is don't use this informal imperative with strangers, because it could be considered quite rude or primitive. In English often they use "please" for inviting somebody to do something, so the expres...
Italian Conditional Tense
Friday, June 01TH, 2012 by ancos
In Italian grammar, we use the conditional tense when it refers to an action that is possible or likely, but dependent upon a condition. Example: I would go on holiday, but I haven't enough time. Vorrei andare in vacanza ma non ho abbastanza tempo It can be used in two tenses, the present, by conjugation of the appropriate noun, or the past, using the auxiliary conjugated in the conditional, with the past participle of the appropriate noun: Ex: Mangerei un sacco se avessi molta fame = I would eat a lot if I was hungry. Sarei andata a Roma se avessi saputo che andava Paola.= I wo...