Learn Italian reading, Italian writing and Italian speaking with these free words and sentences about greetings, saying Hello and common phrases. All words and sentences are spoken by real Italian natives and this helps you in learning the correct pronunciation.
Our ten Italian lessons teach you some of the most important Italian words and phrases. We will try to make your learning Italian as easy as possible and give you a lot of resources about Italian.
Lesson 1: Introduction
How are you?
Sto bene, grazie.
I'm fine, thank you.
Mi chiamo Tanja.
My name is Tanja.
Nice to meet you.
Do you speak English?
Si, parlo inglese.
Yes, I speak English.
No, non parlo inglese.
No, I don't speak English.
How to learn Italian?
- Get an Italian Phrasebook and write simple phrases and words on Flashcards and memorize them
- Make sure you understand the basic Italian grammar as the grammar is more complex than e.g. English
- Italian is a Roman language. So if you know e.g. some Spanish or Portuguese already it will be much easier to learn
- Try and find a good Italian teacher or other person to talk with you or enroll in an Italian language class or visit Italia for more immersion
- Use a spaced repetition vocabulary builder to learn words and phrases
Check out our comprehensive Italian learning App L-Lingo which contains 105 lessons with grammar notes, thousands of words and high quality audio.
As a warm-up, I would like to give you some basic information about how the Italian language works, so that you get a general idea of what to expect.
It is often said that, in comparison with English or other languages, Italian (like all Romance languages) has “more grammar”, and is therefore more difficult to learn.
However, as you will see, there are also quite a few similarities that may help you in the learning process.
While Italian (unlike languages such as German or Russian) has no case endings, it has two genders (masculine and feminine) and two numbers (singular and plural).
Articles, both definite and indefinite, are very widely used;
Verb conjugations can be rather complex, especially irregular forms, which require some memorization. Another difficulty for learners of Italian is the widespread use of the subjunctive mood, which in English is practically non-existent.
On the other hand, the basic sentence structure is relatively straightforward, and rather similar to English.
Italian is what is generally called a “phonetic language” – meaning that you can generally predict the pronunciation of a word by the way it is spelled.
Most words end with a vowel, and most of the letters in a word are pronounced, with very few exceptions that we will see in the course of our lessons. Some of the letters of the English alphabet (j, k, w, x, y) are not present in the standard Italian alphabet, though they appear in loan words.
Here are some basic rules about Italian pronunciation:
Double consonants are always pronounced as two (long), not as one (short);
Vowels at the end of words are always pronounced: therefore, a word like nave has two syllables;
- the letter h is always silent;
- the letter c is pronounced as in the English word cat when followed by a, o or u; it is pronounced as in chat when followed by e or i;
- the letter g is pronounced as in game when followed by a, o or u; it is pronounced as in joke when followed by e or i;
- ch is always pronounced as in cat;
- gh is always pronounced as in game;
- sch is always pronounced as in skate;
- sc is pronounced as in skate when followed by a, o or u; it is pronounced as in shine when followed by e or i;
- qu is always pronounced as in the English words quite and quarter;
- gl and gn are probably among the trickiest sounds for learners of Italian to master. However, if you know some French, Spanish or Portuguese, you will be familiar with these sounds, which are found in words like lluvia and niño;
As a general rule, the primary accent (word stress) tends to fall on the second but last syllable of a word; when it falls on the last syllable, it is always marked, as in the following examples:
Now that you have a general idea of how the Italian language works, we can start learning some basic nouns and structures.
Italian nouns have both gender and number, and both of these aspects are clearly marked in a word’s ending.
As a general rule, masculine nouns end in –o, feminine ones in –a; however, there are also nouns, both masculine and feminine, ending in –e, such as nave. In such cases, the article will show clearly if the noun is masculine or feminine.
Articles are very important in Italian, and are used in most situations. Like English, Italian has both indefinite and definite articles. For this first lesson, we will concentrate on the use of the indefinite article un(o)/una.
Have a look at these examples:
ince un(o)/una also means “one”, it is only used with singular nouns. In the following lessons we will learn about definite articles.
Finally, we will learn the Italian equivalent of ‘and’ / e. Please note that ‘e’ becomes ‘ed’ before a word beginning with a vowel, such as the indefinite article un(o)/una:
uomo e donna
man and woman
un uomo ed una donna
a man and a woman
Plural Forms of Nouns
We will introduce the plural forms of nouns. Generally speaking, masculine nouns in -o take the ending -i, and feminine nouns in -a take the ending -e:
ragazzi ragazze uomo donna
boys girls uomini donne
As you can see, the plural of uomo, uomini, is irregular.
Nouns in -e, such as nave / ship and piede / foot, generally take the ending -i:
As regards to the plural of definite articles, ‘I’ corresponds to ‘il’, and ‘gli’ to ‘lo’, while the plural of ‘la’ is always ‘le’:
Note that apostrophes are never used with the plural forms of definite articles.
Unlike in English, plural nouns in Italian are usually preceded by a definite article, or by adjectives that indicate either a definite quantity (numbers) or an indefinite one.
Now that we have learned some basic notions about nouns, in order to make complete sentences, we need to learn something about verbs.
Italian verbs can be rather tricky, and require some patience and a reasonably good memory. However, there are also some basic rules that will make it easier for you to learn them correctly.
Unlike in English or French, in Italian it is not mandatory to use a personal pronoun before a verb, because the subject can be identified from the verb's ending. There are two main auxiliary verbs:
Now we will learn the present tense of essere, together with the personal subject pronouns:
io sono – I am
tu sei – you are (singular)
egli/ella/esso è – he/she/it is
noi siamo – we are
voi siete – you are (plural)
essi/esse sono – they are
Note that in colloquial Italian, the third-person pronouns egli, ella and essi/esse are generally replaced wit tu is used as an informal address; while Lei (capitalized) is used as a formal address, like the German Sie or the Spanish Ustedi.
There are three conjugations in Italian, each identifiable by the ending of the infinitive form: -are (1st), -ere (2nd), -ire (3rd).
Here are the infinitive forms of three commonly used verbs:
camminare – to walk
correre – to run
partire – to leave
Simple Present Tense
To form the simple present tense of a verb, you remove the –are/-ere/-ire ending from the infinitive form in order to get the stem, then you add the ending that identifies the person:
However, there are many irregular verbs in Italian, whose behavior is not as predictable. For the time being, we will concentrate on regular forms.
Present Progressive Tense
For the Italian counterpart of the present progressive tense in English. Have a look at the following examples:
L'uomo sta camminando.
The man is walking.
L'uomo sta correndo.
The man is running.
When you want to refer to an action that is taking place at the moment of speaking and that lasts over a period of time, you can use the present tense of the verb stare + the gerund (-ing form) of the main verb. Literally, the verb ‘stare’ means ‘to stay’, but it is often used as a synonym for ‘essere’, as in ‘stare in piedi’ / to stand.
The gerund is formed by adding the ending -ando (1st conjugation)/-endo (2nd/3rd conjugation) to the verb stem:
camminare > camminando
correre > correndo
dormire > dormendo
Here is the present progressive conjugation of camminare, which we will use as a template for this very common verb form:
io sto camminando - I am walking
tu stai camminando - you are walking
lui/lei/esso sta camminando - he/she/it is walking
noi stiamo camminando - we are walking
voi state camminando - you are walking (plural)
loro stanno camminando - they are walking
Unlike in English and other Germanic languages, in Italian adjectives normally follow the noun they refer to.
una camicia bianca
a white shirt
una maglietta blu
a blue T-shirt
These are singular forms, now we will have a look at plurals.
I pantaloni blu sono vecchi
The blue pants are old.
Le palle rosse sono piccole
The red balls are small.
As shown, adjectives that follow the verb ‘essere’ always agree in gender and number with the subject of the sentence
Adjectives such as those denoting color, size or other similar characteristics can also be placed before the noun for emphasis, though this use is not as common as the one illustrated above. On the other hand, some categories of adjectives - such as numbers are always placed before the noun.
Lui sta tenendo in mano due palle grandi e una palla piccola
He is holding two big balls and one small ball
Some prepositions in Italian that are used to express place:
in – in, at
su – on
sotto – under
Prepositions in Italian are used before a noun, generally (but not always) preceded by an article:
Un bam Un uomo a una fermata d’autobus
A man at a bus stop
una bicicletta su una macchina
A bike on a car
Negative Statements in Italian
To give a sentence a negative meaning, the word ‘non’/ not is used before the verb:
Il telefono non è rosso, è nero
The telephone is not red, it is black.
L'uomo non è seduto, è in piedi
The man is not sitting, he is standing.
I think by now you understand that the Italian grammar is more complex than others. If you want to get more details about Italian grammar, you can purchase a comprehensive grammar book or also check out our 105 lessons Italian app that contains also lot of grammr hints.
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