According to the Bologna statistics of the European Union, Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 65 million people in the EU (13% of the EU population), mainly in Italy, and as a second language by 14 million (3%). Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is more than 85 million.
In Switzerland, Italian is one of four official languages; it is studied and learned in all the confederation schools and spoken, as mother tongue, in the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Grigioni and by the Italian immigrants that are present in large numbers in German- and French-speaking cantons. It is also the official language of San Marino, as well as the primary language of Vatican City. It is co-official in Slovenian Istria and in part of the Istria County in Croatia. The Italian language adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based off Tuscan, a language previously spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders.
Italian derives from Latin. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.
Italian Frequency Dictionaries Edit
These Italian frequency dictionaries cover about 98% of all spoken Italian, and 97% of all written Italian texts.
- Top 10.000 most used Italian words listed by frequency.
- Frequency as part of speech ( most used nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc..).
- 10.000 Italian to English example sentences, showing you word usage in context.
- Phonetic spelling of Italian words with the International Phonetic Alphabet.
- Recommended in conjunction with an audiomethod (Michel Thomas or Pimsleur).
- Great for building vocabulary fast.
- No grammar.
- 5 levels available.
- Recommended as a beginning tool.
- Strongly not recommended to be used as the only tool.
- Covers pronounciation, reading, listening, vocabulary, writing.
- Very poor for grammar.
- Easy to use. Shouldn't take more than an hour to set up and begin using.
- More expensive than it's worth. Thank you based internet!
- 3 levels with 100 total lessons.
- Recommended as a learning tool.
- Strongly not recomended to be used as the only tool.
- Covers mainly speaking and being able to hold a conversation.
- Easy to use, just open the audio file and repeat.
- Try a free lesson!
- Free booklets that correspond to the lessons.
Now available for Italian, no longer in beta.
Books and .PDF filesEdit
- Le avventure di Pinocchio - Carlo Collodi - The Adventures of Pinocchio (full text and audio)
- Uno, nessuno e centomila- Luigi pirandello One, No One and One Hundred Thousand 1924 (Pdf)
- Il canto delle sirene - A blog that posts poems, quotes and short biographies daily
- Paralleltext - Shows book text in two languages side-by-side or hover over to see translations
- Huffington Post (HuffPost)
- La Stampa
- Il Sole 24 Ore
- Corriere Della Sera
- la Repubblica
Movies and TVEdit
- Sublearning - learn languages from movie subtitles. Flash cards of movie lines in 62 languages
- (add more if you know them)
- Ladri di biciclette (1948) - Vittorio De Sica
- Mediterraneo (1991) - Gabriele Salvatores
- 8½ (1963) - Federico Fellini
- La dolce vita (1960) - Federico Fellini
- Tre uomini e una gamba (1997) - Aldo, Giovanni & Giacomo e Massimo Venier
- Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo (1966) - Sergio Leone
- Suspiria (1977) - Dario Argento
- Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988) - Giuseppe Tornatore
- La vita è bella (1997) - Roberto Benigni
- Malena (2000) - Giuseppe Tornatore
- La grande bellezza (2013) - Paolo Sorrentino
- Lo chiamavano Trinità... (1970) - Enzo Barboni
- La maschera del demonio (1960) - Mario Bava
- Amici miei (1975) - Mario Monicelli
- Un americano a Roma (1954) - Stefano Vanzina
- Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (1964) - Pier Paolo Pasolini
- Vallanzasca - Gli angeli del male (2010) - Michele Placido
- Romanzo criminale – La serie
- Boris (Complete on vimeo with english subtitles)
- Puffing Rock
- Holly e Benji (Captain Tsubasa)
- Mimì e la nazionale di pallavolo (Attack no.1)
- Assassin's Creed 2
- Eldar Scrolls: Skyrim - There is a mod on pc which allows you to change subtitles to English, just change the audio to Italian.
- Portal 2
- Pokemon (you can't change languages after choosing it)
- Monster Hunter
- Shadowrun returns
- Hatoful Boyfriend
- Giorgia (Pop)
- Adriano Celentano (Pop)
- Lucio Battisti (Pop/Soft Rock)
- Eros Ramazzotti (Pop/Soft Rock)
- Selton (Pop Rock)
- Nek (Pop/Rock)
- Laura Pausini (Pop/Rock)
- Gianluca Grignani (Soft Rock/Pop)
- Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti (Indie/Pop)
- Lacuna Coil (Metal)
- Andrea Bocelli (Pop/Opera)
- Premiata Forneria Marconi (Progressive Rock)
- Elio e Le Storie Tese (Progressive Rock)
- Area (Progressive Rock)
- New Trolls (Progressive Rock)
- Le Orme (Progressive Rock)
- Banco del Mutuo Soccorso (Progressive Rock/Jazz Fusion)
- Quella Vecchia Locanda (Progressive Rock)
- Reale Accademia di Musica (Progressive Rock)
- Osanna (Progressive Rock/Jazz Fusion)
- Fabrizio de André (Folk Rock)
- Ministri (Alternative Rock)
- Bluvertigo (Alternative Rock/Synth Pop)
- Morgan (Alternative Rock/Synth Pop/Experimental Music)
- Negrita (Alternative Rock/Funk Rock)
- Modena City Ramblers (Folk/Folk Rock)
- Franco Battiato (Alternative Rock/Beat/Experimental/New Wave)
- Caparezza (Alternative Hip Hop/Rock)
- Angelo branduardi (Folk)
- Paolo Conte (Jazz/Country)
- Be aware that whenever you talk with an Italian, you'll most likely hear him use some dialectal or colloquial form, or some other idiom; it is impossible for a foreigner to know them all, but you can just focus on the meaning of nouns and verbs in the phrase (disregarding grammar and syntaxis) and draw the meaning by yourself; doing so, most of times you'll understand it anyway. However, Italians are definitely not grammar Nazis; they'll ignore your errors (unless you ask them to correct you) and talk as easy as they can to put you at ease, so practicing in Italy (or even talking with an Italian on the internet) is extremely easy.
- Most of times, especially in colloquial situations, Italians tend to replace the future tense with the present (ex, "tomorrow I'll go to the cinema": domani vado al cinema instead of domani andrò al cinema).
- Italians are known for their exaggerated use of gestures and facial expressions. It is very important to take them into account, otherwise you might misinterpret a sarcastic or ironic phrase as an actual statement.
- Grammar is generally not observed strictly. It is more important to recognize details and nuances that distinguish words (ex.: volto and faccia are both translated as face, but there is a noticeable difference between the two).
- Being a language derived from Latin, Italian shares a lot of words with french and Spanish (an Italian can usually understand Spanish without having ever heard anyone else speaking it), therefore knowing one of the two can be of great help.
- Intonation is extremely important in Italian. Some statements become questions simply by how say them (ex.: stai bevendo birra(?) can be either You are drinking beer or Are you drinking beer?). The Italian accent is basically every terrible stereotype you're already familiar with. Sentences are rushed and said quickly and only the last two syllables are stressed. Don't be afraid to exaggerate your accent!
- To find anything on netflix that has italian audio/subtitles you can write "Audio in italiano" or "Audiodescrizione in italiano."
- Follow lots of facebook/twitter/any social media page that shares a lot of short content - jokes, quotes etc., because you will read anyway as it's short. You might not be compelled to study or read a lot everyday, also serves as a reminder.
- Remember that Duolingo has more than the short exercises to offer - a forum where people give all kinds of tips and material.
- Italians tend to be pretty receptive to people trying to learn their language, you can try joining a group chat somewhere and they'll probably be glad to help you out. Most of them seem to know english, so that helps.
- Italy has a strong base of well-known literature and poetry (from Dante Alighieri (1300) to Ungaretti (1900)). Although this can be an useful tool, keep in mind that Italian is a quick changing language, spoken by a lot of different people. Words that were popular and well known 70 or 80 years ago, are now long forgotten. (an example of this is the fall of the letter "j" that went lost, and replaced around 1930/1940). Always be sure of the time and place of the authors you're going to read.
- Spend a little time on pronunciation. Italian is spoken as it is written, but be aware of the differences between English and Italian, and be sure to know the sounds that English doesn't have (For example sc - sciare, gl - aglio, gn - legno)
- Uz-Translations (a very useful website that you should definitely check out)
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