We all know that Italian is the language of love, but it’s also one of the most useful languages to learn. Italy is a key location for business across Europe––the country’s most notable industries, of course, are cuisine, automobiles, and fashion––making the language not only an asset for personal growth and travel, but also a critical tool for members of the global economy.
Beyond its economic advantages, Italy serves as a gateway to important artistic, literary, religious, and political histories, both across the Mediterranean and within the broader context of Europe. Whether you’re leafing through the fiction of breakout literary star Elena Ferrante, reading up on Leonardo da Vinci, or figuring out how to cook some of your favorite Italian dishes, learning Italian is essential.
Translation engines are powerful tools to serve as Italian-English dictionaries. However, don’t confuse translations for language learning. While it is okay to take a few shortcuts on your path, truly learning a new language goes beyond mere translations and requires a language learning program you can trust.
It is commonly thought that learning to speak Italian is a difficult endeavor, but it’s actually much simpler than it appears. Italian is a Romance language. This linguistic group also includes Portuguese, Spanish, and French––as well as some smaller languages, like Romansh––meaning that if you already speak one of them, you’re on your way to speaking Italian.
Let’s use the example of water to explore the similarities between some of these languages. In Portuguese, the word for water is água. In Spanish, it’s agua. And in Italian, it’s acqua. All three of these words share the root word of Latin aquam. This is not surprising, given that each of the languages developed in tandem on the Eurasian continent before spreading to the wider globe during colonizations of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
If you’re new to learning Italian , one of the first features of the language you’ll notice is the display of double consonants. We see this all the time in a variety of popular words, such as pizza or anno or the name Alessandra. Although every word is enunciated differently, a general rule of thumb when it comes to navigating these double letters is to deemphasize the preceding vowel.
Another feature of Italian pronunciation that is important to remember relates to the letter C. While in Spanish, for example, the C is sometimes spoken as an “s” sound (this is called el ceceo and differs, notably, with Iberian Spanish); in Italian, it can be a hard “ch” noise, like in the English word “charge.”
However, the C is also spoken differently in other contexts. It can replicate an English C––which is very similar to the k noise––in words like company, capital, campfire, Caroline, coordination, Compton, and collar. You’ll see this noise in Italian words , always including a, o, and u, as in these examples:
Have you ever been to an Italian restaurant and tried a delicious type of potato-filled pasta called gnocchi? This dumpling-style dish is not only scrumptious, but can also teach us a lot about the gn sound when learning Italian. The gn sound is pronounced nasally and is, in fact, analogous to the Spanish ñ sound. Let’s look at the Spanish translation of gnocchi to learn more:
Rosetta Stone offers a different way to learn a language. We will teach you Italian––not just the words and English translations. You will learn the phrases and expressions used in context––so you can learn to speak and thrive in real-world conversations.
Worried about the commitment of learning Italian ? Don’t be. Rosetta Stone breaks up your language journey into bite-sized lessons, so you can fit them into your life––not the other way around. Whether you’re taking a break from watching the kids, commuting home from that new job, or using downtime on campus to enrich your education, Rosetta Stone makes it easy to learn Italian and speak it authentically.
At Rosetta Stone, it’s our mission to help you find success in your language learning adventures. Whether you’re just beginning to learn Italian or have been practicing for a while, we help make it natural to pick up new words and expressions and feel confident in speaking Italian .
Surround yourself with Italian whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.