Below we will give an overview of the Italian language and our picks for the best way to learn Italian on your own. Before getting into the words and phrases that make up the Italian language we will look at some of the background of this language. Let’s take a look at some of the background.
How many people speak the Italian Language?
While the statistics aren’t always exact as the amount of people that are learning Italian changes daily, the most current estimates have approximately 86 million people that speak Italian total, with 65 million of those people located in Italy and a few other European countries.
One trend that has increased the popularity of the Italian language in recent years is the number of Italian-Americans that are trying to learn the language of their ancestors. While many baby boomers and seniors had family members that spoke Italian in their youth, many of these people have passed on, thus limiting the amount of original Italian speaking Americans.
An increase in the popularity of the Italian language has made the popularity of Italian language learning tools to increase each year.
Where is Italian the official language?
While the Italian language is obviously the official language of Italy, many other countries have adopted the Italian language as its official language. Below is a list of what countries speak Italian as it’s main language.
- San Marino
- Vatican City
- Certain regions of Croatia & Slovenia
Besides these countries, Italian is the minority language of Bosnia, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia.
Where is Italian spoken the most?
While Italian is spoken most in Italy, there are several other countries that have a large population that speak Italian as their main language. Here is the list of where the Italian language is spoken by the most people.
- Italy: 58 million
- Romania: 1.5 million
- France: 900,000
- Switzerland: 700,000
- Croatia: 620,000
Difference Between English and Italian Language
For many that speak English, learning to speak Italian can have somewhat of a learning curve. Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between Italian and English languages.
Italian is more phonetic: Unlike the English language which has many different rules when it comes to silent letters and sounds, the Italian language on the other hand is more straightforward with pronunciation and sounds do not change very much.
Italian is more gender specific: Perhaps the main difference between English and Italian language is the use of gender specific nouns in everything. All nouns in the Italian language have either a masculine or feminine representation.
Adjectives usually follow nouns: While adjectives come before nouns in the English language, in the Italian language adjectives almost always follow nouns.
Best Way to Learn Italian On Your Own
While immersing yourself into a language fully is the best way to learn Italian on your own, most people who are learning a new language in 2017 are self taught through either books or a software program.
After reviewing several books and programs, we feel that the best self taught way to learn Italian is through the Learn Italian: Fluenz Italian 1 program.
Best Software to Learn the Italian Language: Learn Italian: Fluenz Italian 1
After reviewing several language learning programs for the Italian language, we have picked Learn Italian: Fluenz Italian 1 as our choice for the best Italian language learning tool. For those who are looking to learn the Italian language on their own, this audio program is the best choice. Let’s take a look into the reasons we like the Fluenz Italian 1 program for learning Italian.
- Great for working professionals: One of the main reasons we chose this program is because of the flexibility that it gives to users. Working professionals and students can both learn with the Fluenz Italian 1 program as it is not set to a specific schedule and allows it’s users to learn at their own pace.
- Uses multiple forms of learning: We all learn different ways and Fluenz Italian 1 compensates for different types of learning styles. Audio learning, visual learning, writing and tutoring are all covered by this program.
- Teaches reality: While a traditional Italian class may start off with the basics and progress slowly, Fluenz Italian 1 works pretty quickly in learning USEFUL phrases and words. For those who are looking to travel to Italy or another Italian speaking country a month or so of training with this program will help them learn some basic phrases that will be useful on vacation.
These are the reasons why we chose Fluenz Italian 1 as the best way to learn Italian.
Basics of the Italian Language
At Languageholic our goal is to provide the basics for those looking to learn a new language. As we explore the Italian language, our goal is to give an overall feel for those looking to learn this fantastic language.
Colors in the Italian language end in vowels. Here is a look at some of the primary colors.
Black- Nero or Nera
Blue (Light)- Azzurro or Azzurra
Blue (Dark)- Blu
Gray- Grigio or Grigia
Red- Rosso or Rossa
White- Biano or Biana
Yellow- Giallo or Gialla
Italian nouns are broken up into masculine and feminine nouns. Here is a list of some of the most common Italian nouns.
Masculine Italian Nouns
Many of the most popular Italian masculine nouns end in “o” in singular form and “i” in plural form. There are exceptions to this rule, but only for a small percentage of words.
Group of Boys- Bambini
Male Cat- Gatto
Male Cats- Gatti
Feminine nouns in the Italian language typically end in the letter “a” in the singular form. The plural form of these words will end in the letter “e”. There are exceptions to this rule, but these are true for most of the words.
Group of Girls- Ragazze
Female Cat- Gatta
Female Cats- Gatti
Italian verbs typically end in three different patterns of conjugation (-are, -ere, -ire). Many of these verbs are irregular. Let’s take a look into some of the most common Italian verbs.
To Fall- Cadere
To Happen- Accadere
Italian adjectives differ from English adjectives in a few ways. Italian adjectives can typically have an attributive function when linked to a noun or predicative function when it is linked to the noun from the word to be. Let’s take a look at some of the most common Italian adjectives.
Italian adverbs are typically divided into four different categories semplici, composti, derivanti & locuzioni avverbiali. Let’s take a look at a few examples of each.
Simple Adverbs AKA Avverbi Semplici are formed from a single word.
Compound Adverbs AKA Avverbi Composti are formed when combining multiple elements.
In Fact- In Fatti
At Least- Almeno
Locution Adverbs AKA Locuzioni Avverbiali are arranged in specific order
This way- Per di qua
A bit ago- Poca fa
Derivative Adverbs AKA Avverbi Derivati are when a suffix is added to a word, in many cases -mente .
Italian prepositions are used similarly to English prepositions as they provide a specification, condition or direction. Here are some of the most widely used Italian prepositions.
From, By- Da
Italian pronouns replace nouns in sentences. In the English language we use pronouns such as he, she, them, I, you, him or her. Italian pronouns can be singular or plural depending on which noun they are replacing. Here are some of the most common Italian pronouns.
You- Lei (singular)
You- Loro (plural)
If you are traveling to Italy or another Italian speaking country it is important to know basic Italian phrases, as this can help you on a daily basis. Here are some of the common Italian phrases to know.
Excuse Me- Mi Scusi
I Don’t Understand- Non Capisco
Do You Speak English? – Parla Inglese?
How Are You? – Come Va?
I Don’t Understand- Non Capisco
Italian Curse Words
At Languageholic one of the most common requests that we get is for curse words in foreign languages. Since curse words are a part of every language we feel that we are obliged to talk about these words too. Many people with Italian grandparents and older relatives may know that Italian curse words are a very important part of the language, as they are used quite often. Here are some of the most used Italian cuss words.
Damn – Accidenti
Fuck – Fanculo
Asshole – Stronzo
Go Fuck Yourself – Vaffanculo
What the hell/ What Balls! – Che palle
Shit – Verda
Dick – Cazzo
Ass – Culo
Now, if you want learn a bit more than just single words, take a look at our post on common Italian phrases.