How to speak Italian
So you’ve decided you want to learn how to speak Italian. Fantastico, because you’re in good company! More than 65 million people speak Italian around the globe, mostly in Italy (#obvs), parts of Switzerland and the small states of San Marino and the Vatican City (which are both within the borders of Italy). The language is also spoken by immigrant and minority groups in a number of countries, notably in the USA where they have invented many unique Italian-American words of their own.
The Italian language as we know it dates from the unification of Italy in the 19th century and is based on the language previously spoken in Florence. Before that, there were a variety of languages spoken in Italy. This is why, even today, there are quite distinct regional differences in the accent throughout the country. Once you start to learn Italian, you will find that you can make yourself understood anywhere - but you will hear several variations as you travel from North to South. Or South to North!
Differences between Italian and English
Both languages are derived from Latin, so it is not too difficult for English speakers and beginners to grasp the basics and learn how to speak Italian. There are some differences in grammar, although some of these - such as putting the adjective after the noun - will be familiar to anyone who has studied French. Overall, there are a large number of Italian words English speakers would recognise. Especially in music, for all you divas out there.
One difference from English is that almost all words in Italian end with a vowel, often an “o”, an “a” or an “i”. The old clichéd joke is that Brits - normally when holidaying in Italy - just add one of these letters to an English word to ‘Italianise’ it. Unfortunately, this usually only results in one thing: very incorrect and awkward mistakes! But it’s ok, it all still helps the learning of course.
When you start learning how to speak Italian, you may find that it sounds quite different from English. It has a more rhythmic, musical sound and a more regular pattern of stress. One big advantage for when learning Italian is that, once you have learnt the rules, you will find it is pronounced exactly as it is written. Unlike English, there are hardly any spelling irregularities at all. Facile, no?
Learning to speak Italian
There are lots of ways to Italian. Online courses and resources, apps, ‘traditional’ language school classes, books, private tutors - so many options await! Maybe even an exchange trip to stay with an Italian family or work in Italy for a little while. There’s no better way to pick up a language than to be surrounded by and completely immersed in it.
Don’t forget all the extra online resources you can use in addition to your main learning method. All available in your pocket (not literally). Podcasts, blogs, audiobooks, Italian films/series (with or without subtitles), social media accounts to name but a few. Even YouTube videos on how to give yourself an Italian makeover.
Learn how to speak Italian with Babbel
When you learn Italian with Babbel, you’ll learn practical, real-life conversation. Stuff you can use when and as you need it. From ordering at a café to buying tickets, we quickly get you talking with confidence.
There’s no chance of boredom because you choose the lesson topics that matter to you. Whether it’s Italian tongue twisters or holiday vocab for your next Italian getaway, you learn what you find interesting and useful. And all course content is crafted and tailored for English speakers by our in-house team of expert linguists. They know their stuff so you learn yours!
And if you’re worried about not having time, then don’t. Because Babbel lessons are only 15 minutes long on average. That’s short enough for most commutes or your lunch breaks. And a perfect in-flight activity to help time pass (when you download lessons in advance). Even one lesson a day makes a difference!
Give Babbel a go and start your Italian language journey today. Your first lesson is free!