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25+ Inspirational Quotes for Language Learners

There are many benefits to learning a foreign language, from better cognitive health to higher salary wages. Learning a different language, however, can be difficult–not to mention time consuming.

If you need some motivation to help you get started, check out the 25+ inspirational quotes about language below. Keep these language quotes close by so you can refer to them whenever you’re feeling frustrated or defeated.

25+ Inspirational Quotes About Language

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” -Frank Smith

“The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.” -Victor Hugo

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” -Sarah Caldwell

“The conquest of learning is achieved through the knowledge of languages.” -Roger Bacon

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” -Chinese Proverb

“One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.” -Turkish Proverb

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” -Rita Mae Brown

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

“A different language is a different vision of life.” -Federico Fellini

“Language comes first. It’s not that language grows out of consciousness, if you haven’t got language, you can’t be conscious.” -Alan Moore

“Speak a new language so that the world will be a new world.” -Rumi

“Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift.  Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club-the community of speakers of that language.” -Frank Smith

“Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“As a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even so a man reacheth not to excellence with one tongue.” -Roger Ascham

“I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations.” -Samuel Johnson

1

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” -Benjamin Lee Whorf

Hopefully, these quotes about language will inspire you to start off the year learning a new language. Tell us… what’s your favorite from this list of quotes about language?

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language learning tips for adults

5 Important Language Learning Tips for Adults

University Life 104

Do you remember learning a language back in high school or college? If it’s been several years (or decades), it’s normal to feel a bit lost when you’re ready to get back at it.

And while receiving a formal education is wonderful for daily language practice, it isn’t always practical. Amid all of your responsibilities as an adult, finding the time to re-learn a language is undoubtedly a challenge!

Working with a language tutor, along with taking advantage of the many language-learning resources online, can be a great way to learn — but you also may need to approach it with a different mindset than you had in high school.

If you find yourself in this scenario, the language-learning blog Games for Language has some great ideas for you. Here’s an excerpt from their article, featuring five language learning tips for easing yourself back in:

1. Develop a new mindset
– Rather than being anxious about grades and not making a fool of yourself in front of your classmates, you can direct your attention to acquiring practical language skills.

2. Find something that makes re-entry into the language fun
– It can be anything you like: listening to music, scanning news headlines on your tablet, watching a tv soap, reading an easy ebook, playing language games, etc.

3. Start putting together your resource list
– While many of your resources will probably be online, a well-rounded resource list also contains some hands-on paper grammar books, phrase books, dictionaries, novels, stories, magazines, etc.

4. Do something in your foreign language (almost) every day
– The amount of time you spend is less important than the daily routine. Try to apply the 20-minute rule — doing something for 20 minutes is manageable for almost everyone.

5. Find a native speaker to talk with
– Find a language-exchange partner in an online community or a tutor on Skype. It could even be someone in your own neighborhood who is eager to speak his or her own language with you.

Seems pretty doable, right? Putting these five tips into practice is what will get you started on re-learning your language of choice. As with any skill, consistent practice is the main ingredient for achieving success. Don’t be discouraged by the workload — instead, organize your work and chip at it little by little every day.

For a more in-depth look at these tips, check out the full article here.

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useful italian phrases

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Dating

useful italian phrases

Navigating through the complex world of dating is hard enough, let alone trying to do it in a foreign country. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating…

You’ve tried Italian cuisine, explored every inch of the Vatican, and survived your first Italian conversation. Is dating an Italian next on your bucket list?

Perhaps you’re planning on studying abroad in Italy, or you’re simply mesmerized by the sophisticated allure of Italians. Whatever the case, dating in Italy is quite different from your local dating scene back home.

Below are some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating so you can navigate the Italian dating world con gusto. But first, let’s go over some Italian dating tips:

Helpful Tips for Dating Italians

While they’re aren’t any hard and fast rules to dating Italians–as every individual is different–there are some things to keep in mind as you play the field. Below are some helpful tips for both men and women:

  • Italians are a very fashionable bunch. If you want to attract a date, be sure to dress appropriately at all times. Torn, revealing, or heavily worn clothing are a big no-no.
  • Ladies, don’t be too showy. Italian men are drawn to women who are elegant, funny, and intelligent. Bottom line, be your charming self!
  • Italians are often outgoing and expressive. Don’t be alarmed if your date gets enthusiastic, as he or she is just expressing his or her emotions.
  • Family is very important to Italians. Be respectful of that and show an interest in getting to know and learning about your significant other’s family members.

Useful Italian Phrases for Dating

What’s the key to a successful relationship? Communication. To make sure that you can successfully communicate with your date, brush up on your Italian language with these useful Italian phrases:

Below are some useful Italian phrases for sparking up a conversation with someone who peaks your interest:

  • Posso offrirti qualcosa? (Can I buy you a drink?)
  • Come stai? (How are you?)
  • Posso unirmi a te? (Can I join you?)

If you like the person you meet, you might continue to see each other. Here are some words associated with dating:

  • farsi delle storie (to see each other)
  • uscire (to go out on a date, but it can also be used in a more general context of leaving the house to go out somewhere)
  • accompagnarsi (to go with, accompany)

Italians enjoy doing various activities with the person they’re dating. For example, you might find yourself doing any one of the activities below:

  • fare una passeggiata (taking a walk)
  • andare al cinema (going to the movies)
  • cucinare insieme (cooking together)

Once you start seeing someone, you might want to clarify your relationship. The following words will help you to explain the status of your relationship:

  • il mio ragazzo/la mia ragazza (my boyfriend/my girlfriend)
  • il mio fidanzato/la mia fidanzata (my fiancé/my fiancée)
  • il mio amante/la mia amante (my lover [male/female])
  • innamorarsi (to fall in love [with each other])
  • divertirsi (to have fun)
  • relazione, rapporto (relationship)

As you fall more in love with the person you’re dating, you may want to use more affectionate names for them. There are many possibilities when it comes to affectionate terms for your partner, but here is a sampling of some of the most typical:

  • amore (love)
  • tesoro (honey or literally meaning ‘treasure’)
  • cucciolo (my pet or literally meaning ‘puppy’)

Learn more romantic Italian phrases here!

The better you are at speaking Italian and understanding the customs of Italy, the easier you’ll find it to date in Italy. Dating an Italian can be a fascinating, fun, and unique experience. Who knows, you may just find eternal love (amore eterno)!f

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

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italian vocabulary

Italian Vocabulary: The Proper Way to Use the Four B’s

italian vocabulary

Are you confused about how to properly use the Italian vocabulary words, buono, bello, bravo, and bene? Below, Italian teacher Giulio G. explains the right way to use the four b’s…

Buono, bello, bravo, bene—the so-called four b’s—are very common words in the Italian language. Their exact usage, however, can be quite difficult for beginner Italian students to master.

That’s because when translated to English these Italian vocabulary words all mean, “good.” Below are some tips and tricks that I hope will be useful for all of you who might be struggling with these four Italian vocabulary words.

Bene:

First, it is extremely important to emphasize that the Italian vocabulary words buono, bravo, and bello are adjectives and bene is an adverb.

This means that the actual meaning of bene is ‘well’ in English and it cannot be conjugated following the gender and the number of the noun it precedes.

Regarding its usage, bene is always used after the verb, and its function is to express a positive judgment. See example below:

  • Joseph parla bene l’Italiano. (Joseph speaks Italian well.)

Joseph speaks Italian in an excellent way. So, bene modifies the verb by giving the listener (or the reader) more information related to that specific action.

Buono:

This adjective is used to express a positive judgment related to the quality of a person, an animal, or an object. Specifically, buono is referred to:

  • Morality: Lui è un buon uomo. (Meaning Lui has a good soul or a good heart)
  • Quality: è un buon film. (Meaning that the movie is well-made)
  • Taste: La torta è buona. (Meaning that the cake tastes good.

It is important to know that this Italian vocabulary word can be used with animals, people, and things.

Bravo:

Whereas the Italian vocabulary word buono can be used with animals, people, and things, the adjective bravo can be used only with people or animals.

Bravo is used to underline that someone is good at doing something or that he/she has very good manners. See examples below:

  • Lei è un brava pittore. (She is good painter/ She is good at painting.)
  • Lui è un bravo ragazzo. (He has very good manners).

Bello:

Like the two Italian vocabulary words above, bello is used to express a positive judgment; however, it is usually used to emphasize another characteristic of the noun. It expresses a positive judgment related to the formal, aesthetic aspect.

For example, the phrase “Un bell’uomo” (A handsome man) doesn’t refer to his behavior and kindness, but just to his physical attributes. Essentially, it means that man is attractive.

Additionally, bello also has the purpose of intensifying a concept. For example, in the sentence, “Mi mangio una bella torta,” (I eat a beautiful cake) the speaker wants to emphasize his desire toward a specific sweet. In other words, he cannot wait to eat it.

Overall, the differences of these words are very small and it can be difficult to always choose the correct word. While you’re learning Italian, it is very normal to make occasional mistakes with the four b’s.

Therefore, don’t worry if you mix up these Italian vocabulary words. Just keep practicing with your Italian teacher and talking to natives and you’ll soon get it right!

Photo by MC Quinn

Giulio GPost Author: Giulio Giannetti
Giulio G. teaches in-person Italian lessons in New York City. He is originally from Florence, Italy and is currently a student at the University of Florence for Languages and Intercultural Relations. He has been teaching lessons since 2009. Learn more about Giulio here!

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italian grammar

5 Common Italian Grammar Mistakes That Even Natives Make

italian grammar

Don’t pick up any grammatical bad habits when visiting abroad. Below, Italian teacher Giulio G. shares 5 common Italian grammar mistakes natives often make…

Spending your vacation in Italy is amazing, both for the breathtaking landscapes and the opportunity to improve your Italian language skills.

When learning Italian through immersion, however, it’s necessary to know that even native speakers make some pronunciation and grammar mistakes.

It is extremely important to recognize these Italian grammar mistakes in order to avoid getting into any bad habits. Below are the five most common Italian grammar mistakes natives make while speaking.

1. “Ma Però” vs. “Ma” or “Però”

Italians will often put together these two conjunctions in daily conversation, not realizing that they’re making a common repetition mistake.

When translated into English “Ma però” means “but however.” As you can see, this is a repetition of two words that have similar meanings, which makes the expression wrong.

When you want to introduce an adversative sentence, it is necessary to choose just one of the adversative conjunctions.

For example, “Volevo andare al mare ma sono restato a casa” (I wanted to go to the seaside, but I stayed home.)

2. “A me mi” vs. “Mi” or “A me”

This is another repetition mistake similar to the one above. Many Italian speakers are used to emphasizing the “Mi” by putting it together with “a me” to express the piacere construction.

For example, “A me mi piace il gelato” (I like the ice-cream). This sentence is grammatically incorrect, however, as “Mi” is an alternative way to say “A me.”

Therefore, saying “A me mi piace il gelato” actually corresponds to saying “I I like the ice cream.” The correct way to say this sentence is “A me piace il gelato” orMi piace il gelato.

3. The usage of congiuntivo (subjunctive)

When traveling throughout Italy, it’s uncommon to hear the subjunctive while speaking with natives.

Rather, native speakers prefer to use the indicativo, even with sentences containing verbs that express doubts, wishes, beliefs and worries.

However, this is incorrect, as one should use the congiuntivo form when expressing such emotions.

4. The usage of “Ed/Ad”

Natives are used to putting the D eufonica (a Greek word for ‘Good Sound’) after the vowels ‘e’ or ‘a’ anytime they’re followed by a word that starts with a vowel.

For example, “Io vado ad Empoli” (I go to Empoli) is incorrect because the word “Empoli” does not begin with an ‘a.’

It’s only necessary to use the D eufonica when the ‘e’ and the ‘a’ are respectively followed by a word that starts with ‘e’ and ‘a’.

For instance, “Io vado ad Ancona” (I go to Ancona) or “Luigi ed Ennio sono italiani” (Luigi and Ennio are Italian).

5. “Gli” vs. “Le”

In Italy, it is quite common to use the masculine indirect pronoun instead of the feminine indirect pronoun when talking about a woman. Doing so, however, is committing a gender mistake.

It’s important to keep in mind that “Gli” is a masculine pronoun and “Le” is a feminine pronoun.

For example, “Gli ho detto che era bello” (I said to him that he was handsome), or “Le ho detto che era bella” (I said to her that she was beautiful).

Traveling to Italy is a great way to learn Italian. However, be aware of these common mistakes, so you don’t pick up any bad Italian grammar habits from the natives you meet.

Giulio GPost Author: Giulio Giannetti
Giulio G. teaches in-person Italian lessons in New York City. He is originally from Florence, Italy and is currently a student at the University of Florence for Languages and Intercultural Relations. He has been teaching lessons since 2009. Learn more about Giulio here!

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italian traditions

15 Strange Italian Traditions and Superstitions Explained

italian traditions

Did you know that in Brazil its bad luck to let your wallet or purse hit the floor, as it means you’ll lose money? Or that in France it’s actually good luck to step in dog poop with your left foot?

Like many countries, Italy has its fair share of wacky traditions and superstitions. In fact, Italy is said to be one of the most superstitious countries in the world.

Below, we explore the 15 strangest Italian traditions and superstitions. Review this list before traveling to Italy to make sure that your trip isn’t cursed by Malocchio or the evil eye.

After all, you don’t want to take any chances!

1. Don’t take a bath when you’re sick

When you’re feeling under the weather, chances are you want to take a nice hot bath to soothe your pain. According to Italian traditions, however, taking a bath when you’re sick will only make you sicker as will going outside with wet hair.

italian traditions

2. The unlucky number 17

Have you ever wondered why some hotels in Italy don’t have a 17th floor? It’s because the number is considered unlucky. The Roman numeral for 17 is XVII, but when rearranged to look like VIXI it means “I have lived,” a symbol that’s placed on ancient tombstones and associated with death.

italian traditions

3. Don’t place a loaf of bread up-side-down

According to Italian traditions, a loaf of bread must always be placed facing up. This superstition is based on the religious fact that bread is considered a symbol of life, therefore, its bad luck to turn the bread up-side-down or stick a knife into it.

italian traditions

4. Watch where you lay your hat

After a long day of sightseeing you might be tempted to toss your hat onto your bed—don’t! Putting a hat on a bed is considered unlucky because it’s associated with death. According to tradition, when priests visited the dying to give them their last rights, they would remove their hat and put it on the bed.

italian traditions

5. Never seat 13 people at a dinner table

If you find yourself sitting at a dinner table with 12 other people, then consider yourself unlucky. Having 13 people around the table at mealtime is considered bad luck, as there were 13 people at the Last Supper.

italian traditions

6. Single people, avoid brooms

If you’re single and you see someone sweeping the floor, make a run for it. If someone brushes over your feet by accident, then you’re destined to be single for the rest of your life.

italian traditions

7. Don’t toast to bad luck

When it comes to toasting, there are several things that can cause you to have bad luck. For example, never raise a glass that’s full of water and don’t cross arms with the person next to you when you clink glasses.

italian traditions

8. Stay clear of air conditioners

Wonder why there are no air conditioners in Italy? Italians believe that these evil contraptions blow dangerously cold air in your face, leading to “colpo d’ari” or a “punch of air.”

italian traditions

9. Touch iron to avoid back luck

In the U.S., people will knock on wood to avoid tempting fate. In Italy, it’s common for people to “tocca ferro” or “touch iron.” We just hope they aren’t touching a hot iron.

italian traditions

10. Bless a new home

It’s common for people moving into a new home-especially newlyweds–to rid evil spirits and bless their home by performing certain rituals, such as sprinkling salt in the corners of all the rooms.

italian traditions

11. Eat plenty of lentils on New Year’s Eve

Every culture has it’s own set of New Year’s traditions. According to Italian traditions, it’s customary to eat lentils after the clock strikes 12:00. Also, don’t forget to wear red undergarments, as this too will bring you luck in the coming year.

italian traditions

12. Beware of a black cat crossing your path

If a cat is crossing the street, don’t be the first one to cross it’s path, as you’ll have bad luck. It’s believed that black cats are a symbol of witchcraft and the devil. We, however, think they are super cute!

italian traditions

13. Carry a cornicello charm

If you want to protect yourself against the evil-eye, carry a corincello charm around with you at all times. The charm, which resembles a chili pepper or a small horn, represents the horns of the Old European Moon Goddess and will bring you luck.

italian traditions

14. Don’t place objects in the shape of a cross

Never cross objects in the shape of a cross–for example, your fork and knife–as this is considered to be an insult to the religious symbol of the cross and will bring you bad luck.

italian traditions

15. Don’t spill the salt

This superstition–which states that one must toss a handful of salt over their left shoulder to get rid of bad luck–is also common in the U.S. In Italy, it’s also customary when passing the salt to place it on the table first before handing it over.

italian traditions

 

This is just a sample of the many unique Italian traditions and superstitions. In addition to learning Italian, familiarize yourself with these “wives tales” before your trip to avoid getting into any trouble.

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useful italian phrases

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Shopping in Italy

useful italian phrases

If you’re taking a trip to Italy, chances are you’re planning on doing some serious shopping. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for shopping in Italy…

Do you have a trip to Italy planned? Besides the delicious food, Italy has some of the best shopping in the world. Whether you’re looking for a souvenir for your loved one or some high-fashion duds for yourself, Italy has it all.

In this article, we’ll explore some useful Italian phrases for shopping as well as some general tips. Learning how to speak Italian will ensure that you’re getting what you want at the appropriate price.

But before we dive into these useful Italian phrases, below are some shopping tips to help make sure that your first shopping trip in Italy goes off without a hitch.

Italian Shopping Tips

From big-name fashion brands to antique mom and pop shops, Italy boasts some of the world’s best fashion and art. Use the tips below to ensure that you have a positive shopping experience.

  • Watch out for imitations: When you’re visiting cities with lots of tourists, for example Florence, you might be tempted by the designer look-a-likes being sold on the street at bargain prices. Attento! (Watch out!) The police have been known to fine tourists and sellers alike for buying and selling these items. If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably fake.
  • Look for the “Made in Italy” tag: The “Made in Italy” tag has been created to guarantee buyers that an item is authentically conceived, manufactured, and packaged in Italy. Look for items that have this tag so you can ensure that’s it authentic. What’s more, you’ll be supporting classic Italian workmanship.
  • Ask for a tax refund: If you’re making purchases that are taxed with the VAT (value-added tax), ask the shop owner for a tax refund form. This form enables you to receive a refund at the airport. The standard rate of this tax is 22%, so you stand to save quite a bit!
  • Remember to pack light: Resist the temptation to pack five pairs of shoes or three pairs of jeans. You’ll want to leave enough room in your suitcase to bring back the souvenirs and clothing you purchased. However much you think you need to pack, cut it in half.
  • Brush up on your bargaining skills: Brush up on your bargaining skills to get fantastic deals. Chances are you’ll have better luck in smaller stores or if you’re buying more than one item. Don’t get too greedy; start with a small discount and go from there.

Useful Italian Phrases for Shopping

When you first enter a shop, the salesperson might greet you and ask how they can help. You can respond by telling them one of the following phrases:

  • Cerco… (I’m looking for…)
  • Vorrei… (I would like…)
  • Ho bisogno di… (I need…)
  • Avete…? (Do you have…?)

If you’re looking for a specific clothing item, one of these words may be just what you’re looking for:

  • L’ abbigliamento (clothing)
  • La camicia (shirt)
  • La gonna (skirt)
  • Il vestito (dress)
  • I pantaloni (pants)
  • Le scarpe (shoes)

If you’re looking for accessories, try one of these Italian words:

  • La collana (necklace)
  • Il braccialetto (bracelet)
  • L’ anello (ring)
  • La cintura (belt)
  • La sciarpa (scarf)
  • I guanti (gloves)
  • Il portafoglio (wallet)
  • Gli occhiali da sole (sunglasses)

Once you’ve spotted something you like, here’s a phrase you can direct toward a shopkeeper

  •  Posso provare questi articoli, per favore? (Can I please try these items?)

Once you’ve tried them on, you might want to discuss the fit with a salesperson. Here are some useful Italian phrases to use:

  • Mi sembra troppo… (It seems too…)
  • stretto/a (tight)
  • allentato/a (loose)
  • grande (big)
  • piccolo/a (small)
  • Come mi sta? (How does it look on me?)
  • Mi piace… (I like… [for a singular object])
  • Mi piacciono… (I like…[for a plural object])
  • Non mi piace… (I don’t like [for a singular object])
  • Non mi piacciono… (I don’t like…[for a plural object])
  • Mi può portare una taglia più grande/piccolo, per favore? (Can you please bring me a bigger/smaller size?)

If you’re thinking of buying a particular item and want to discuss price, use the following Italian phrases;

  • Quanto costa? (How much does it cost?).
  • E’ caro. (It’s expensive.)
  • E’ economico. (It’s inexpensive.)
  • I contanti ( money)
  • la carta di credito (credit card)
  • lo scontrino/la ricevuta (receipt [informal/formal])
  • la borsa (bag)

Learning Italian before your trip will definitely come in handy–especially when you’re shopping. Use the useful Italian phrases above to ensure that you have an enjoyable shopping experience.

Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Shopping in Italy

nadiaB
Post Author:
 Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

 

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Exploring the Six Most Popular Italian Dialects

Exploring the Six Most Popular Italian Dialects

Exploring the Six Most Popular Italian Dialects

There are numerous Italian dialects spoken throughout Italy. Below, Italian teacher Liz T. shares the six most popular Italian dialects…

In the big boot of Italy, there are dozens of Italian dialects. In fact, almost every region has it’s own unique accent.

While the literary Italian language is used throughout the country for law, business, and education, many people still use their region’s original Italian dialect.

While it’s not necessary for you to learn every Italian dialect, familiarizing yourself with the most popular accents could come in handy when you’re traveling throughout Italy.

Below is a breakdown of some of the most common Italian dialects. Review the list to help you recognize accents on your next trip to Italy!

1

Milanese is not actually classified as a form of Italian. Rather, it’s a dialect of the Gallo-Italic sub-group that is closely related to French and German.

Similar to French and German, Milanese uses two additional vowels “ö” and “y” and subject pronouns are doubled in the second and third person.

For example, the standard Italian phrase “Tu non sei” (You are not) is pronounced “ti te seet no” in Milanese.

2

Spoken in Venice and the surrounding areas by over two million people, Venetian derives from Latin and Greek.

The Italian dialect is used mostly in informal contexts. One example of how it differs from standard Italian, is that in Venetian the word “Farmacia” (pharmacy) is replaced with “Apoteca.”

3

Florentine is the most standard Italian dialect, commonly used by people under the age of 35. The dialect uses nicknames of words. For example, the standard Italian word, “Formaggio” (cheese) is pronounced “Cacio” in Florentine.

The further south you travel, the more heavy and harsh the Italian dialect becomes. Also, because there are many immigrants that settle in Florence, there are several different sounds that influence the accent.

4

In Romanesco, there are several deviations from standard Italian. For example, “il” turns into “er” and “gli” or “I” turns into “li“.

What’s more, the letter “j” is pronounced as “i“, whereas in the other Italian dialects it’s not. Typically, the letter “j” will appear in between two vowels or at the beginning of a word followed by a vowel.

5

In Neapolitan, a lot of vowels and endings are dropped. For example, the standard Italian “Piove” is written as “Chiove” in Neapolitan and “Ci veddiamo dopo” is written as “Ce verimm’ aròppo

Also, many traditional Italian songs are written in this dialect, including the popular song “O sole mio”.

6

Sicilians talk with such a thick accent that people often mistake the dialect as a completely different foreign language–and they are right! Sicilian doesn’t derive from standard Italian. Rather it has linguistic elements from Greek, Latin, Arabic, French, Spanish, and more.

What’s unique about this Italian dialect is that plural endings of nouns end in “i“, no matter what the gender.

Mastering these Italian dialects can be tricky, but with the help of your Italian teacher you can practice speaking, reading, writing, and hearing these dialects together!

Bona furtuna! (Now, can you guess this dialect?)

 

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, music and Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

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italian games

5 Fun Italian Games for Learning Numbers

Can you count to 10, 20, or 30 in Italian? Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some fun Italian games that will help students learn numbers…

Learning numbers in Italian is as simple as uno, due, tre. From referencing amounts to sharing phone numbers, learning the Italian numbers will serve you well.

Play the following Italian games with your instructor or friends to help you learn and memorize the numbers–and before you know it, you’ll be using numbers with ease!

italian games

1. Bingo

An old favorite, bingo can be transformed into an Italian game. Print off a bingo sheet with numbers (there are a ton of websites where you can find blank bingo sheets), then designate someone to call out the numbers in Italian.

When someone completes an entire line, he or she yells “bingo” and then recites the numbers he or she has in Italian. If you don’t have chips to place on the sheet, try placing a clear sheet over the printout so you can simply erase the x’s on the sheet and start over.

2. Catch it!

In a circle (or between two people), start tossing a small ball back and forth. Every time a person catches the ball, he or she must say a number in Italian. The next person who catches the ball must say a numeral higher than the previous one.

You’ll start to learn more and more as the numbers ascend. Before you know it, you’ll be reciting the number 1,395 or milletrecentonovantacinque. To add extra challenge, you can also recite the numbers in threes, tens, or whatever sequence you wish.

3. Story Time

This Italian game is an imaginative way to practice using numbers in conversation. As a group, create a story by having each person contribute a sentence, one by one, building on the previous sentences. Every third person (or sentence) needs to have at least one number included in it. Here is an example of a story:

Mauro è un ragazzo che abita vicino ad un bosco. Un giorno, quando camminava nel bosco, ha visto un lupo. Il lupo gli ha detto, <<Dopo quattro giorni, vedrai un albero alto e accanto all’albero, due fiori. Questi fiori sono magici.>>

[Mauro is a boy who lives near a forest. One day, when he was walking in the forest, he saw a wolf, and the wolf said to him, “After four days, you will see a tall tree and, next to the tree, two flowers. These flowers are magical.”]

4. Solve it

In a circle, have someone start by proposing a math question using multiplication, division, addition, or subtraction. For example, tre per tre (three times three), dieci diviso per due (ten divided by two), or cinque più tre (five plus three).

The next person in the circle has to answer the question, then using their answer create a new math problem. Keep the equations simple–or else you could end up with complex math to do! If someone gets a problem wrong or mispronounces a number in Italian, he or she steps outside the circle. The last person left wins!

5. Number patterns

First, have everyone stand in a straight line. Choose a number pattern to count ( for example, odd numbers, even numbers, multiples of five, etc.). The first person starts off by saying the first number of the sequence and then moves to the back of the line. The next person continues and so on until the number 100 is reached in each sequence.

This Italian game is good practice and can also add extra challenge if a quick pace is established. The movement of walking and standing also helps, since learning happens best when the whole body and brain are engaged!

These Italian games for learning numbers are playful and fun, so make sure to enjoy yourself. You’ll see the benefit of having the numbers on the tip of your tongue when you start to use what you’ve learned outside of your Italian lessons, since all sorts of daily activities involve numbers.

 

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

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5 Basic Rules of Italian Pronunciation

5 Basic Rules of Italian Pronunciation

Learning new vocabulary doesn’t get you far unless you know proper Italian pronunciation.

Italian is known for being one of the most beautiful languages, and learning how to correctly speak it is all about mastering the right sounds.

In this article, you’ll learn the five basic rules of Italian pronunciation for beginners.

5 Rules for Italian Pronunciation

Let’s take a look at five Italian pronunciation rules to help you better understand this language.

After the video, keep scrolling for more detail on these helpful tips and tricks!

1. Vowels

Similar to the English language, Italian uses the vowels, a, e, i, o, u. However, there is a slight difference in the way vowels are pronounced in Italian.

Here is how to pronounce Italian vowels. Remember that most words in Italian end in a vowel!

  • A- Ah (as in, Amore)
    • Practice it: “Ah-moh-reh”
  • E- Eh (as in, Bene)
    • Practice it: “Beh-neh”
  • I- eee (as in, Vino)
    • Practice it: “Vee-noh”
  • O- Oh (as in, Modo)
    • Practice it: “Moh-doh”
  • U- ooh (as in, Lungo)
    • Practice it: “Loohn-goh”

2. Consonants

Some Italian consonants – such as bfmn, and – are pronounced the same as they are in English.

The majority, however, are pronounced much differently. Below are some tips for how to pronounce Italian consonants.

If you need to hear them sounded out, watch the video above for more explanation.

  • D- Put your tongue to your teeth, to make the sound more explosive (for example, dove)
  • L- Sharper and more forward (for example, lingua)
  • H- Usually silent (for example, hanno)
  • P- A little less forced than in English (for example, pane)
  • Q- Always accompanied with a U after (for example, quanto)
  • R- Make sure you roll the R’s by flipping your tongue against your upper teeth (for example, arriverderci)
  • T- Very pronounced (for example, antipasto)
  • Z- Often can sound like T, but add more zest to it, especially when two Z’s are together (for example, pizza)

There are some consonants in the Italian language that have two unique pronunciations, such as:

  • S and SS- If S is used singular, in the middle of a word, it can often sound like a Z. If a double S (SS) is present, then the S is very much emphasized. (For example, casa, passare)
  • Z and ZZ- When used singular, it can be silent, as in Dizionario, but when doubled in Pizza it can sound more like a T.
  • G- If G appears before the letters A, O, or U, it has a hard sound like Grande, but if it precedes E or I, like in Gelato, it has a soft and gentle sound.
  • C- Before A, O, or U, it sounds like a K, as in Cane, but if before I or E, it has a CH sound, as in Cena.

3. Consonant Digraphs

Another important thing to know about when learning Italian pronunciation is that there are several consonant digraphs in Italian. These are combinations of two letters that make one sound.

Memorizing these combinations will allow you to more easily recognize the pronunciation of words. Below are some examples of how to pronounce Italian consonant digraphs correctly.

  • CH- Spoken as K (for example, Che)
  • GN- G is silent and N is hard (for example, Gnocchi)
  • GLI- G is silent, and L is the focus (for example, Famiglia)
  • SC- Before A, O, and U, it sounds like SK (for example, Scarpe). But if it’s before I or E, it has a SH sound as in Pesce.

SEE ALSO: Fun and Interesting Facts About Italy

4. Double Consonants

Many Italian words have double consonants.  It’s wise to remember that all consonants can be doubled except for the letter H because it’s always silent.

It’s common for English speakers to stumble over double consonants since there are very few in the English language.

Here’s a helpful hint: double consonants have a stronger and more forced pronunciation together. For example, the CC is pronounced as K in the word Secca.

5. Phonetics

Italian is a phonetic language, which means it’s written the way it sounds, and visa versa. This makes it fairly easy for English speakers to learn Italian pronunciation, compared to other languages.

Nonetheless, it’s very important that you take the time to learn correct pronunciation. There are tons of fun exercises that you can do to practice.

Try singing popular Italian songs such as “Volare” or “That’s Amore” to really get the feel of the pronunciation. You can also watch some Italian TV or listen to Italian radio.

With these tips you’ll be speaking perfect Italian in no time!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

Photo by Steve Slater

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