Test Driving Languages – Italian

Flag_of_Italy.svgMoving on quickly to another language test drive, I tried out a romance language. This time, it’s Italian. Having already studied French a lot, and a bit of Spanish, I went into this thinking it would be a lot more similar to Spanish than French, considering how it sounds. I was right. French is the most different Romance language, so Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese share a lot.

Io sono un uomo.

— I am a man.

Alphabet

This is probably the easiest thing about Italian. It uses the Roman alphabet, which is appropriate, considering that alphabet started there. There’s nothing difficult about this. Reading and writing are simple.

Pronunciation

I also found this fairly easy. The rules seem straightforward and not at all difficult to remember. I had no problem with this.

Grammar

Like Spanish, it has gendered nouns, and many different articles to go along with them. It seems that articles combine with other words, something I haven’t seen yet. Conjugation of verbs is something to get used to, but hopefully consistent. Lots of new pronouns to learn, too. But since it is similar to Spanish, I think this should be pretty easy to pick up.

Overall Impression

I think having studied a bit of Spanish has given me an advantage here. I found this easy to learn and I could remember the words well. The only difficulty is verb conjugation, which I should get used to as I study. I enjoyed the six lessons I did, which were pretty straightforward. They focused mainly on the “be,” “eat,” “drink,” and “read” verbs, which have similarities to both Spanish and French. I just have to make sure I don’t get confused between the languages. So, I think I have another language in Italian to look forward to.

Have you studied Italian? Are you interested in it? Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

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14 thoughts on “Test Driving Languages – Italian”

  1. I haven’t studied Italian but, on the rare occasions that I see it in written form, I do find it comfortably similar to Spanish. French is a language I don’t know if I’ll ever get. I just can’t seem to grasp all the crazy extra letters.

    1. French is one of those languages that seems to try too hard to be difficult. Another one is English. Damn English and its multiple pronunciation rule violations. French doesn’t do that as much, but I find a lot of the sounds difficult to pronounce. Spanish and Italian seem so much more straightforward.

  2. I haven’t studied Italian, but I used to sing in it. Much easier to sing in than, say, German, and sounds very beautiful. After awhile I was able to muddle through pronunciation without too much help, unlike French, which still baffles me.

  3. I speak all three Romance languages you mentioned, and have lived in Italy for years. Definitely easier to go from one Romance language to another, but not a given unless you’re willing to learn the new language well. Agree that Italian sounds more similar to Spanish (which also has more phonetic pronunciation/spelling than French). But Italian grammar is more similar to French than to Spanish. Also think the grammar is quite complex in all Romance languages, especially if you want to write well. Good luck with you Italian studying!

    1. My main beef with Romance languages is the gendered nouns. Germanic languages have it, too, but not all. I’m going to check out Portuguese, as well. I’m wondering how similar it is to Spanish. I’m patiently waiting for Romanian to be available on duolingo. And if I wanted, I could study Catalan there now. I don’t think my Spanish is good enough for that yet (can only do Spanish to Catalan). Though I hear Catalan is kind of between Spanish and French.

      Which Romance language do you prefer?

  4. I studied Italian in high school and was lucky to have a native speaker as a teacher. I still use the pronunciation frequently because I often sing in liturgical Latin, which is Italianate. I agree that Italian is easy to pronounce, with only a few rules to remember. As a singer, I also appreciate the pure vowels sounds of Italian.

    1. I don’t know much about Latin, but I understand there are different ways to pronounce it, right? I’ve heard that we don’t know the original pronunciation, so what we have right now is guesswork. I wonder how close liturgical Latin is to the original.

      1. Classical Latin is much more complicated to pronounce than liturgical Latin, which basically applies modern Italian pronunciation to Latin texts, with a few exceptions. The US tends to use liturgical pronunciation, but other countries, such as the UK and Germany, use other ways to pronounce the Latin that use sounds more familiar in their languages.

        1. Interesting. I read last night that Romanian is the modern language that’s probably closest to being like Latin. I wonder if pronunciation is similar or different.

          1. I hadn’t ever heard that about Romanian, so I searched and saw this hot debate on the topic: https://www.quora.com/Which-language-is-closest-to-Latin. It appears that the main argument for Romanian is that it has noun declension. Sardinian and Italian appear to be closer in pronunciation, although classical written Latin is more complicated in both grammar and pronunciation than any modern descendant languages, as well as in the common spoken Latin in the early centuries of the Common Era.

            1. Interesting that classic Latin is more complicated than modern languages. Usually, you’d think it would be simpler. I mean, English has become more complex over time due to the adoption of French words into the language. Pronunciation is a mess.

            2. I would hate to be learning English as a second/third/additional language. It’s difficult enough to learn to write and spell when one is a native speaker.

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