In countries like the UK and USA, Italian is touted to be one of the foreign languages in demand, that makes a CV very attractive and employable.
Italian is known for being one of the most beautiful languages there is. It is the language of Dante and Da Vinci, and the direct descendent of Latin. When learning Italian, however, it might help to start with the basics.
A few rules to keep in mind for Italian: It might seem to have quite a few rules, but once you learn these you are golden, since there are basically no exceptions (unlike English, which has many).
Read on to explore some nuances of the Italian language…
Common Italian Language Rules
The letter H exists in words, but is not pronounced.
When you see a double consonant, it is given more emphasis. So ‘dona’ is pronounced differently from ‘donna’.
The letter “C” followed by “E’ or “I” is always pronounced like the English “CH”. Otherwise it is pronounced like “K”. If “C” is followed by “H”, however, it is always pronounced like “K” (this confuses quite a few English speakers!)
“GL” and “GN” have a glottal pronunciation which, until you’re used to them, are more easily pronounced by ignoring the “G” and adding an “I” sound. So “Gnocchi” is pronounced “Niok-ki” (remember CH is pronounced like K, from above).
The stress in a majority of Italian words is on the second last syllable (think Pasta, Pizza, Mozzarella and Ferrari). When you see an accent on a word, that syllable is emphasized (as with the word città)
The Italian R is very different from the American R (and usually a dead giveaway for tourists). The rolling R of Italian is closer to the Spanish (or the Scottish R in “Freedom”, for those who remember Braveheart). This may take some practice.
Italian divides nouns into masculine and feminine categories. Il and lo are masculine articles, while la is a feminine article.
Unlike English, vowel sounds never change in Italian; a, e, i, o, u always sound like ah, eh, ee, oh, ooh
You can often omit the subject, since it can be understood by the verb ending. So “Io vado” (I go) is often just “Vado.”
Useful Italian Phrases
When traveling around Italy, some of the most useful phrases and words you can learn are those that can help you with your journey, whether you’re walking around or if you need help. Here are a few key words and phrases to keep handy:
Hello! – Buongiorno! / Ciao! (informal)
Good-bye! – Arrivederci! / Ciao! (informal)
It is nice to meet you! – Piacere!
How are you? – Come sta? / Come stai? (informal)
Yes. – Si.
No. – No.
Please. – Per favore.
Thank you. – Grazie.
Good morning. – Buongiorno.
Good night. – Buona sera.
What time is it? – Che ore sono?
What is your name? – Come si chiama? / Come ti chiami? (informal)
Let me introduce myself… – Mi presento…
My name is… – Mi chiamo…
I don’t understand. – Non capisco.
Happy birthday! – Buon Compleanno!
Merry Christmas! – Buon Natale!
Happy New Year! – Buon Anno Nuovo!
Where is…? – Dov’è…?
I need help. – Ho bisogno di aiuto.
I don’t speak Italian. – Non parlo l’italiano.
I speak a little Italian. – Parlo un po’ d’italiano.
Do you speak English? – Parla inglese? / Parli inglese? (informal)
Where is the restroom? – Dov’è il bagno?
I would like a glass of water. – Vorrei un bicchiere d’acqua.
I’m not well. – Non mi sento bene.
I live in the United States. – Abito negli Stati Uniti.
I live in Canada. – Abito in Canada.
I am on vacation. – Sono in vacanza.
I am lost. – Mi sono perso/a.
I can’t find my passport. – Non trovo il mio passaporto.
Taxi. – Un taxi.
Bus. – Il bus.
Train. – Il treno.
Airplane. – L’aereo.
Car. – La macchina.
Where can I catch a taxi (a bus)? – Dove posso prendere un taxi (un bus)?
Common Italian Phrases of Love
Italian is a romance language, and known for being very romantic, so it is only right to learn phrases of love in Italian:
I love you. – Ti amo.
You are beautiful. – Sei bella.
You are handsome. – Sei bello.
Would you like to go out with me? – Vorresti uscire con me?
Would you like to have dinner with me? – Vorresti cenare con me?
You have beautiful eyes. – Hai degli occhi bellissimi.
Will you marry me? – Mi vuoi sposare?
How to Say Numbers in Italian
One. – Uno.
Two. – Due.
Three. – Tre.
Four. – Quattro.
Five. – Cinque.
Six. – Sei.
Seven. – Sette.
Eight. – Otto.
Nine. – Nove.
Ten. – Dieci.
Twenty. – Venti.
Thirty. – Trenta.
Forty. – Quaranta.
Fifty. – Cinquanta.
Sixty. – Sessanta.
Seventy. – Settanta.
Eighty. – Ottanta.
Ninety. – Novanta.
One hundred. – Cento.
One thousand. – Mille.
How to Say Days in Italian
Monday. – Lunedì.
Tuesday. – Martedì.
Wednesday. – Mercoledì.
Thursday. – Giovedì.
Friday. – Venerdì.
Saturday. – Sabato.
Sunday. – Domenica.
How to Say Months in Italian
January. – Gennaio.
February. – Febbraio.
March. – Marzo.
April. – Aprile.
May. – Maggio.
June. – Giugno.
July. – Luglio.
August. – Agosto.
September. – Settembre.
October. – Ottobre.
November. – Novembre.
December. – Dicembre.
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