Lesson 1: Basics of Italian

You’re going to find…

Italian Alphabet – Pronunciation (Alfabeto italiano – Pronuncia)

Pronunciation Tips (Tips di pronuncia)

Combinations of letters (Combinazioni di lettere)

Maybe you didn’t know that…

Vocabulary: Numbers (0-20) and Hello&Goodbye

A short dialogue

First useful and basic sentences

Something about Italy and a little tip!

Exercises and Key at the end of the lesson in order to define how much you’ve learnt

 

Let’s begin!/Iniziamo!

 

ITALIAN ALPHABET PRONUNCIATION
A /a/
B /b/
C* /tʃ/ (“ciao”, hello) or /k/ (“casa”, house)
D /d/
E* /e/ or /ɛ/ (“effetto”, effect)
F /f/
G* /g/ (“gatto”, cat) or /dʒ/ (“gioco”, game)
H*
I* /i/ (“influenza”, influence)
L /l/
M /m/
N /n/
O /o/ or /ɔ/
P /p/
Q /k/
R /r/
S* /s/ (“sale”, salt) or /z/ (“sbaglio”, mistake)
T /t/
U* /u/ or /w/ (“uva”, grape)
V* /v/ (“vaso”, jar)
Z* /ts/ o /dz/ (“calza”, sock) or (“zaino”, schoolbag)

*These letters are the most difficult ones to pronounce for the native English speakers who are learning Italian.

 

PRONUNCIATION TIPS

 

C can be pronounced /k/ like in “car” or “tʃ” like in “chat”.

E is never pronounced as /i/.

G can be pronounced /g/ like in “goal” or /dʒ/ like in “jeans”.

I is always pronounced /i/.

H is always silent but in CH and GH: in these cases CH is pronounced as /k/ (“chiesa”, church) and GH as /g/ (“ghetto”, guetto).

R is softer than in English.

S and Z both have two different pronunciations but most of Italian speakers don’t even notice the difference because it is very small so…don’t worry about it!

U is always pronounced like “oo” in English (for instance in the word “pool”).

The trick to pronounce perfectly V is to press gently your upper teeth on your lower lip.

 

Combinations of letters:

Sometimes you can find words such as SCENDERE (to go down) or SCIARE (to ski). The pronunciation of the combination SC is pronounced like English SH (shy, show…).

GL (“gli”, the) is pronounced as LL in Spanish. There are exceptions but now it’s not important for you to know them because they’re inusual words.

GN (“gnomo”, gnome) is pronounced as NY in canyon or like the Spanish sound Ñ.

 

Maybe you didn’t know that…

In Italian we use J, K, W, X and Y but, usually, that’s just because we use a lot of words from other languages, above all from English, such as COMPUTER, BUSINESS, etc.

 

 

EXCERCISES (Key at the end of the lesson)

 

  1. Choose the right answer (in the brackets you can find a little help: the translation of the right word).

 

a)      chiao/ciao (hello)

b)      chiaro/ciaro (clear)

c)      quattro/cuattro (four)

d)     cuanto/quanto (how much)

e)      ghatto/gatto (cat)

f)       guerra/querra (war)

g)      anghelo/angelo (angel)

h)      cara/chara (expensive)

i)        gara/ghara (race)

j)        ghetto/guetto (guetto)

k)      gola/ghola (throat)

 

Right answers/Risposte esatte: …/11

 

  1. Choose only the words with the sound /k/ (in the brackets you can find the translation of the words in Italian)

 

a)      scala (stairs)

b)      chiesa (church)

c)      riquadro (square)

d)     maccheroni (macaroni)

e)      celeste (sky-blue)

f)       camino (path)

g)      custode (guardian)

h)      velocità (speed)

 

Right answers/Risposte esatte: …/8

 

  1. Choose only the words with the sound /g/ (in the brackets you can find the translation of the words)

 

a)      giurare (swear)

b)      gesto (gesture)

c)      guida (guide)

d)     righe (stripes)

e)      gonna (skirt)

f)       strategia (strategy)

g)      ghirlanda (garland)

h)      rogo (stake)

 

Right answers: …/8

 

VOCABULARY

 

NUMBERS – NUMERI (0-20)

 

0 ZERO

1 UNO

2 DUE

3 TRE

4 QUATTRO

5 CINQUE

6 SEI

7 SETTE

8 OTTO

9 NOVE

10 DIECI

11 UNDICI

12 DODICI

13 TREDICI

14 QUATTORDICI

15 QUINDICI

16 SEDICI

17 DICIASSETTE

18 DICIOTTO

19 DICIANNOVE

20 VENTI

 

HELLO AND GOODBYE – SALUTI

 

CIAO = HELLO, HI but also BYE

BUONGIORNO = GOOD MORNING

BUON POMERIGGIO = GOOD AFTERNOON (actually it is not very usual)

BUONASERA = GOOD EVENING

BUONANOTTE = GOODNIGHT

ARRIVEDERCI = GOODBYE

A PRESTO = SEE YOU SOON

 

A SHORT DIALOGUE – UN PICCOLO DIALOGO

 

BENVENUTI! (WELCOME!)

 

Sarah and Will are American students and they want to learn Italian. They decided to go Italy in order to study there and to practice. It’s their first day in Italy and they’ve just got at the flat they are going to share with an Italian boy, Marco.

 

Sarah e Will sono due studenti americani che vogliono imparare l’italiano. Hanno preso la decisione di andare in Italia per studiare e per praticare. È il loro primo giorno in Italia e sono appena arrivati all’appartamento che condivideranno con un ragazzo italiano, Marco.

 

Marco: Ciao! Benvenuti!

Sarah: Ciao! Io sono Sarah!

Will: Io mi chiamo Will! Tu come ti chiami?

Marco: Il mio nome è Marco. Di dove siete?

Sarah: Siamo americani. E tu?

Marco: Io sono italiano. Quanti anni avete?

Will: Io ho 22 anni e Sarah ne ha 23. Tu quanti anni hai?

Marco: Ho 23 anni.

 

Translation

 

Marco: Hello! Welcome!

Sarah: Hi! I am Sarah!

Will: My name is Will! What’s your name?

Marco: My name is Marco. Where are you from?

Sarah: We are American. And you?

Marco: I’m Italian. How old are you?

Will: I’m 22 and Sarah is 23. How old are you?

Marco: I’m 23.

 

USEFUL SENTENCES FOR A BASIC, YET FUNDAMENTAL!, CONVERSATION – FRASI UTILI PER UNA CONVERSAZIONE BASICA MA COMUNQUE FONDAMENTALE!

 

IL MIO NOME È…/MI CHIAMO… = MY NAME IS…

IO SONO = I AM (in the next lesson we are going to discover the verb essere – to be)

COME TI CHIAMI? = WHAT’S YOUR NAME?

DA DOVE VIENI?/DI DOVE SEI? = WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

IO SONO DI…/IO VENGO DA…= I COME FROM…

QUANTI ANNI HAI? = HOW OLD ARE YOU?

HO…ANNI = I’M…YEARS OLD.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE DIALOGUE – DOMANDE SUL DIALOGO

4. Try to answer! You can find the right answers at the end of the lesson.

 

  1. Come si chiama il coinquilino (flatmate) di Will e Sarah?
  2. Quanti anni ha Will?
  3. Da dove vengono Sarah e Will?

 

Right answers/Risposte esatte: …/3

 

WRITE ABOUT YOURSELF! – SCRIVI SU TE STESSO!

Write a short text about yourself using the sentences you’ve just learnt: what’s your name? How old are you? Where are you from?

 

Scrivi un breve testo su te stesso usando le frasi che hai appena imparato: come ti chiami? Quanti anni hai? Da dove vieni?

 

EXERCISES – ESERCIZI (KEY AT THE END OF THE LESSON – SOLUZIONI ALLA FINE DELLA LEZIONE)

 

NUMBERS – NUMERI

 

5. Look at the images and write the numbers in letters.

 

Guarda le immagini e scrivi i numeri in lettere.

 

 

Right answers/Risposte esatte: …/10

 

 

HELLO AND GOODBYE – SALUTI

 

6. Look at the images. Write the right greeting.

 

Guarda le immagini. Scrivi il saluto corretto.

………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………..

……………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………

Right answers/Risposte esatte: …/4

 

SOMETHING ABOUT ITALY AND A LITTLE TIP!

 

The Italian peninsula is called “lo stivale” (“the boot”) because of its shape.

La penisola italiana viene chiamata “lo stivale” per la sua forma.

 

If you want to practice Italian and if you use social networks such as Facebook or MySpace change the language in the setting and choose Italian! You’re going to learn many new words without any effort!

Se vuoi mettere in pratica il tuo italiano e se usi social networks come Facebook o MySpace cambia la lingua nelle impostazioni e scegli l’italiano! Imparerai tantissime parole nuove senza nessun sforzo!

 

KEY

 

  1. ciao/chiaro/quattro/quanto/gatto/guerra/angelo/cara/gara/ghetto/gola
  2. scala/chiesa/riquadro/maccheroni/camino/custode
  3. guida/righe/gonna/ghirlanda/rogo
  4. Il coinquilino di Will e Sarah si chiama Marco/Will ha 22 anni/Sarah e Will vengono dagli USA
  5. due/tredici/dieci/sette/cinque/nove/sette/cinque/otto/sei
  6. ciao/buongiorno/buonasera/buonanotte

 

Right answers/Risposte esatte: …/47

 

If your right answers are 40/47…ok!!Good job!

If your right answers are 30/39…maybe you should repeat something…Look at your answers and understand where you made more mistakes then repeat the related topics.

If your right answers are 0/29…review carefully the whole lesson and then try again to succeed!

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2 Responses to Lesson 1: Basics of Italian

  1. Tegene Tesfaye says:

    It is nice for a new learner

  2. Anna Tamba says:

    This is a good refresher course.

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