Italian: Difficult or easy to learn?

If you love languages but have no idea which one you should learn then Italian is a good option!

People have different opinions related to this language and perspectives vary from one country to another. You may find people who think that Italian is not worth it due to the number of countries that speak it as the native language (Italy, San Marino and some areas of Switzerland) and people who are in love with the language just because of the accent, sound, culture and many other reasons.

After spending some days with an Italian family, I realized that it could be a language easy to learn for Spanish native speakers because the number of verbs and words that are similar in these 2 languages is quite big and pronunciation is not complicated. It doesn’t matter if you have no idea about Italian, just a few words would be enough to get the main idea of what an Italian native speaker is trying to communicate (unless they’re speaking a dialect because that would certainly complicate things).

Some of the main differences and similarities between Spanish and Italian are:

– Reading Italian texts is easy because just as it happens with Spanish, you must pronounce each letter of any word. You’ll find some exceptions though:

C – It is pronounce like the Spanish “CH” when it’s located before vowels “i” or “e”.

Example: Certo would sound like CHerto.

CH – In Italian, CH before vowels “i” or “e” sounds like “Q” or “K”.

Example: Chiaro has to be pronounced like Kiaro.

G – Acquires the same pronunciation as “y” before vowels “i” or “e”. Example:

Giallo would sound as yialo.

GUI/GUE – It’s pronounced like güe y güi in Spanish, i.e. Conseguenza has to be read like consegüentsa (z sounds like “ts“).

GHE/GHI – “h” must be added to get a pronunciation similar to “g” in guerra or guiño.

– Grammar structure does not differ much from Spanish grammar but we must not forget about the fact that plurals in both languages will always be written differently. In Spanish “s” is commonly added at the end of every word to mark the difference between singular and plural but in Italian, the last vowel will be changed for another one. Example:

Italian: Libro – libri (Book – books).
Spanish: Libro – libros (Book – books).

– To highlight the difference among genres (feminine or masculine) both languages use “a” or “o” respectively. Adjectives will also need to be modified depending on the genre, in Spanish we use the word “bravo” to emphasize our excitement while we clap and cheer to someone but in Italian they use “brava” if they are cheering a woman or “bravo” if it’s a man.

– Articles in Italian are classified as masculine and feminine as well but with some differences. Masculine articles (i, il, lo, gli) usage depends on the first letter of the noun located after the adjective. Once you learn by heart all the grammar rules it’s really easy to identify the correct article.

Spanish native speaker or not (but a bit of Spanish knowledge would be helpful), learning Italian is not complicated if you invest some of your time into it! A few years ago I took basic Italian lessons, they were only available on Saturday so I had to study during the week to keep the ideas fresh and updated.

The key to learn any language is to practice as much as you can!

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