Italian language sounds beautiful, musical, and romantic. The language alone fully depicts the richness of Italian culture and art. So, if you’re planning a trip to Italy and want to learn Italian to interact with the locals or are fascinated by the language, you may be asking yourself this one question – Is Italian hard to learn?
Learning a new language comes with its own set of challenges. However, focusing on the wrong myths, such as learning Italian is hard, can leave you feeling stuck early in your lessons. Fortunately for you, I’m here to help you master the Italian language with ease.
So, read on to find out how fast you can learn and speak Italian!
How Long Can it Take You to Learn Italian?
How fast you learn the Italian language will depend on several factors. These include your attitude, dedication, resources at your disposal, and, most importantly, other languages you already speak. The latter will either accelerate your learning process or make it a little tricky at first, as you will see below.
Learning Italian is not as straightforward as you may think if you are a native English speaker or speak English well. The US Foreign Service Institute (FSI) ranks Italian as a Category I Language, meaning it is closely related to English as they both originate from Latin. Still, you will need a good Italian teacher if you want to learn Italian well and fast.
Speakers of other romance languages—French, Spanish, and Portuguese—may be surprised to find a few common words in Italian. The reason behind this is that romance languages share strong similarities in terms of spelling and pronunciation because they originate from Vulgar Latin.
Is Italian Vocabulary Hard to Learn?
Learning Italian vocabulary can be challenging for English speakers as English is a Germanic while Italian is a Romance language.
The good news is that while English is Germanic, it does have some Latin influence. At least 25% of English words are directly borrowed from Latin or indirectly from Italian or French. Thanks to this etymological relationship, you will find that some Italian words have English counterparts.
A few examples of common vocabulary in Italian and English are:
- Problema – Problem
- Necessità – Necessity
- Melodia – Melody
- Finale – Final
- Concerto – Concert
- Realtà – Reality
Spanish, Portuguese, and French speakers may also notice similarities in some basic words when learning Italian.
Consider the verb – to sing
- Italian – cantare
- Spanish – cantar
- Portuguese – cantar
- French – chanter
Is Italian Pronunciation Easy or Difficult?
When you learn Italian, you will need to focus on pronunciation. It can be difficult to pronounce the words if you’re not a native speaker. This is because Italian is a phonetic language, unlike other languages such as English and French.
Fortunately, once you get a grasp of it, pronouncing many Italian words becomes straightforward, as the rules do not change. In turn, this helps you pronounce even words you are unfamiliar with—a major benefit when learning a foreign language.
Some of the rules you will encounter at the very beginning include:
- c + a, o, u, he, hi [k] cane (kah-neh) – dog
- c + ia, io, iu, e, i [ch] cinema (chee-neh-mah) – cinema
- g + a, o, u, he, hi [g] gatto (ga-toh) – cat
- g + ia, io, iu, e, i [dj] gelato (djeh-lah-toh) – ice cream
Before we look at Italian grammar, one of the challenges you may face when learning Italian pronunciation is the rolled “r” sound. Here’s why-
The rolled “R”
Italian is a beautiful melodic language. For this reason, language learners need to pronounce words and speak in a certain way to sound like native Italian speakers.
One of the challenges native English speakers face when learning Italian is the rolled R. This sound, also common in other European languages, is made by vibrating your tongue on the roof of your mouth. The good news is you can learn how to roll your “r” with some practice and patience.
Is Italian Grammar Hard?
The rules for Italian grammar are very specific and have few exceptions. With both regular and irregular verbs, you will notice that most Italian verbs end with -are, -ere, and -ire. The good news, however, is that you can learn to identify and conjugate regular verbs with practice. As for the irregular ones, you will make them out, with time, by heart.
So, Is Italian Hard to Learn?
Put simply, just like any new language, Italian can be challenging to master. But with the right Italian teacher and methods, your dreams of being fluent in this language are very achievable, and in today’s world you can do it through modern methods like online Italian courses or Italian audiobooks at your own pace. This means you can learn Italian anytime and practice Italian anywhere!
Want to learn more Italian? Contact Lingua Lunga!
I’m Alice, founder of Lingua Lunga Italian. This company started in 2022 after years of me teaching students like you Italian. I’ve had the opportunity to teach people to appreciate and learn this language in over 15 different countries.
No matter what age you are, if you have consistency, enthusiasm, and passion, you can learn the Italian language. Book a Free Call with me today to begin!