Learn Italian color idioms

To have green fingers

Idiomatic expressions are one of the most problematic areas for any language learner. The difficulty arises from the fact that these sentences don’t have a literal sense. This means that both their composition doesn’t come natural to learners, and their meaning isn’t easy to guess. For these reasons idioms are usually taught when students already have a high language level  – C1 or C2. I personally disagree with this practice, believing that if idioms – as well as informal expressions – were taught gradually starting from beginning levels, they would be more well assimilated – to go further on the…

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Learn the comparativo di maggioranza – the comparative of superiority

As the word suggests, the comparative is a construction that allows to compare two or more entities – verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives or adverb – expressing some degree of superiority, inferiority or equality. The first entity is the primo termine di paragone (first term of comparison), while the second is the secondo termine di paragone (second term of comparison). Example:      (1° termine di paragone) Mario è più alto (2° termine di paragone) di Giacomo      (1st term of comparison) Mario is taller (2nd term of comparison) than Giacomo   COMPARATIVO DI MAGGIORANZA – EXPRESSING SUPERIORITY FORMATION To express…

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Learn Italian false friends

False friends

Who’s never used a word assuming it meant something else and, in so doing, s/he has created misunderstandings or awkward situations? Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. In fact, it’s typical of the language learning process: learners rely on what they know to try to communicate into another language. One of the nightmares par excellence of any language learner is represented by false friends. False friends are words which look and/or sound similar in two different languages but which carry different meanings. Italian and English, for example, having been both influenced by Latin, have several similar words, so it’s pretty…

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Twelve Italian words you won’t learn from coursebooks

Tagliare la corda

The most common way to start learning a foreign language is at school with some coursebooks. Coursebooks are generally well thought out. Indeed, they focus both on grammar and vocabulary, and they also give you an insight into the foreign culture. However, people who’ve learnt Italian on books and have then had the chance to visit Italy, may have noticed that Italians generally use some words that are not taught at school. Words that make you ask: what? Can you repeat? I didn’t understand – Cosa? Puoi ripetere? Non ho capito. The reason is that coursebooks usually consider only standard…

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Learn Italian sounds – the alphabet

Italian is one of the most musical languages in the world. But what are exactly the sounds of this language? Let’s summarize the main ones in the tables below:   ALPHABET EXAMPLES PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION SIMILAR SOUNDS IN ENGLISH A Animale (animal)  [ani’male] Cup B Bagaglio (luggage)  [ba’gaʎo] Bike C [1] Cane (dog) [‘kane] Cold D Domenica (Sunday) [do’menika] Darling E Estintore (fire-extinguisher) [estin’tore] Elephant F Folata (gust) [fo’lata] Flower G [2] Gatto (general) [‘gat:o] Game H [3] Hotel (hotel) [o’tɛl] /// I Insieme (together) [in’sjɛme] Instructions L Ladro (thief) [‘ladro] Long M Malattia (illness) [mala’t:ia] Mountains N Negozio (shop) [ne’gɔtsjo]…

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