Knowing a good amount of vocabulary in a foreign language is super important since the very beginning if you want to convey the right message, even if the grammatical structures you use aren’t perfect. As you get better with your Italian, knowing more and more words not only helps you convey the right meaning, but also to express many different linguistic shades. So, today I’d like to talk about five shades of hearing and listening in Italian, that’s to say five Italian words you can use to talk about hearing and listening.
Ascoltare is one of the first Italian verbs you’ll learn. It’s the general word we have to express the act of listening to something or someone. It’s used for sounds that we listen intentionally, paying attention to them.
a. Tu ascolti solo musica rock?
Do you listen only to rock music?
b. Non ascolta mai! Fa sempre di testa sua!
He never listens! He always does as he pleases!
Ascoltare can also be used to attract someone’s attention.
c. Ascolta, cosa ne dici se usciamo a cena stasera?
Listen, how about we go out for dinner tonight?
Sentire is the general standard Italian word to express the action of hearing. So, it’s used for sounds that come to our ears even if we’re not trying to hear them.
d. Senti anche tu questo rumore?
Do you hear this noise too?
e. Puoi parlare più forte? Non ti sento.
Can you speak louder? I can’t hear you.
Sentire can also be used to tell someone about something that you heard or that someone told you.
f. Hai sentito? I prezzi del gas aumenteranno ancora!
Have you heard? Gas prices will increase again!
If sentire is the general standard Italian word to say to hear, udire is its very formal – and poetic – counterpart. It’s especially used in literature.
g. Improvvisamente, Marco udì un rumore.
Suddenly, Marco heard a noise.
h. Per un attimo mi è parso di udire qualcuno cantare.
For a moment I thought I heard someone singing.
Origliare means to listen to someone’s private conversations without them knowing. In English, it can be translated as to eavesdrop.
i. Hai davvero origliato tutte le loro conversazioni?
Did you really eavesdrop all their conversations?
l. Non mi piacciono le persone che origliano.
I don’t like people who eavesdrop.
Auscultare is a very specific term used in medicine. It means to listen to the internal sounds made by the body, usually with the help of a stethoscope.
m. Auscultiamo i polmoni.
Let’s listen your lungs.
n. Il dottore le ha auscultato il cuore e ha sentito un’aritmia.
The doctor listened to her heart and perceived an arrhythmia.
This is it for today’s Italian lesson. If you found this article about five shades of hearing and listening in Italian useful, don’t forget to share it and like our Facebook page!
Original image by Geralt