Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world and for many reasons. From spectacular landscapes to stunning architecture (and the most UNESCO sites in the world!), you’ll be in awe in every place you visit. And the best way to enhance these trips is by learning Italian. If you become fluent in the language, you’ll enjoy your trips on a whole new level! Plus, you’ll have new opportunities to socialise with Italian speakers all over the world.
And if you are not really keen on travelling or making new friends but would like to learn a new language for business, you should know Italian can be a great choice, especially if you plan to relocate to Italy soon. Start learning Italian today and acquire one of the most beautiful languages in the world, learn more about an exciting culture, and expand your professional horizons! With our guide below, you’ll find many tips and resources to start your Italian journey.
How Many Italian Speakers Are There?
Italian is one of the most spoken languages in the world. With over 85 million native and non-native speakers, you are likely to find them scattered around the planet. While it’s true that most of them (around 60 million) live in Italy, the language is widely spoken in other European countries like Croatia, Switzerland, San Marino, Malta, and more! This means that learning Italian for travelling around Europe is a smart move.
Plus, knowing Italian will be useful if you are looking to expand your professional horizons. Italy has a long-standing trade relationship with the UK, with imports and exports between the two countries being valued at £34bn in 2021. In 2022, the International Trade Secretary announced the beginning of a new export and investment partnership between the UK and Italy, aimed at boosting trade between the two countries. This means that learning Italian can enhance your CV and help you get the job you always wanted.
The Italian Grammar System
The Italian grammar system can be one of the most difficult features to learn, as many aspects do not exist in English (such as the gender of nouns, adjectives and pronouns). Here are some basic rules and some useful tips to understand the Italian grammar system and boost your learning process.
Italian Nouns & Adjectives
Italian nouns are categorised into proper nouns (nomi propi) and common (nomi comuni). The first category is capitalised, while common nouns are not. You should note that certain categories which are capitalised in English (such as days, months or the seasons) are not capitalised in Italian.
In April, I went to school and came back every Tuesday
A aprile andavo a scuola e tornavo ogni martedí.
As we mentioned before, what makes Italian nouns so complicated is their gender. They can either be masculine or feminine, and this gender is arbitrary. Thus, you’ll need to learn this by heart. Here are some examples:
- “The chair” is feminine: La sedia.
- “The sea” is masculine: Il mare.
- “The road” is feminine: La strada.
Plus, Italian nouns can be singular or plural, but they don’t take a final “s” as in English. Instead, they take other letters, such as:
|Rule||Singular form||Plural form||English translation|
|Masculine nouns that end in -o take an -I||Appartamento||Appartamenti||Apartment|
|Feminine nouns that end in -a take an -e||Casa||Case||House|
|Nouns that end in -e (masculine or feminine) that take an -I in the plural form||Chiave||Chiavi||Key|
To make things a bit more difficult, Italian has a lot of irregular plurals:
|Irregularity||Singular form||Plural form||English translation|
|Feminine nouns that end in “o”||La mano||Le mani||The hand|
|Masculine nouns that end in “a”||Il problema||I problemi||The problem|
|Feminine nouns that end in “ice”||L’attrice||Le attrici||The actress|
|Foreign nouns are always singular||Lo sport||Gli sport||Sports|
In a similar fashion, adjectives are gendered and agree with the noun they modify. They typically go after the noun, though many of them can also be used before without changing the meaning of the sentence.
The new toy
The new house
As with all the Romance languages, the Italian verb system is complicated. Each tense has 6 different conjugations (one for each person, singular and plural) and you’ll have 21 tenses to remember between simple and compound. This means you’ll need a lot of persistence and good studying techniques to remember verbs meaningfully. Contact us today and start studying Italian with a native tutor who will help you master the Italian verb system in the shortest time!
Meanwhile, knowing the conjugation patterns for regular verbs in Italian will be helpful:
With this in mind, you’ll find it much easier to acquire the past, present and future conjugations. Of course, there are other features to consider, but this is a brilliant start. Find an example in the table below:
|Mangiare (eat)||Amaro (love)|
Essential Italian Phrases
Are you travelling to an Italian-speaking region soon but you don’t even know how to say hello in Italian? Don’t worry. In the table below, you’ll find some essential Italian phrases that can help you get by in Italy as a tourist.
|Excusing yourself||Mi scusi||Excuse me|
|Mi dispiace di questo||I’m sorry about this|
|Saying thank you||Grazie||Thank you|
|Molte grazie||Thank you very much|
|Grazie di tutto||Thanks for everything|
|Saying hello||Buongiorno||Good morning|
|Buona sera||Good evening|
|Buon pomeriggio||Good afternoon|
|Saying goodbye||Alla prossima||Until the next time|
|Arrivederci||Until we see each other again|
|Ci vediamo||See you!|
If you want to learn more useful phrases to travel around Italy and communicate like a native Italian speaker, you can find them in the following articles:
- Top 10 Italian survival phrases,
- The most popular Italian idioms and expressions,
- 10 Italian slang terms you should know.
Are you ready to get started with learning this fascinating language? Enjoy your trips to Italy to the fullest, increase your chances of being hired locally and abroad, and expand your global family while having some fun in your lessons with an expert tutor! We offer personalised lessons you can take from the comfort of your home or office. Just contact us today to know more! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Instagram and check out our blog, which we update bi-weekly.