Learning Italian? How difficult is it?

Learning Italian Language Guide: Background, Examples & Ease of the Language

The best part of learning Italian is that newcomers generally wish to learn it because they genuinely love the language, the country, and the atmosphere of Italy. No matter if it’s the Italian food, music, or people who entices you to explore, Italian is one language that is learned most of all for the pleasure and feeling to become nearer to the people of the wonderful country known as Italy.

The Italian language is considered by many a pleasure language because it has a much lower economic utility than other languages of Europe such as Dutch, German, or French. Because of this Italian has been referred to as a luxury language, whose users learn mostly for want rather than need. However, now that travel is much more accessible for everyone and learning a new language is as easy as downloading an online language course. The Italian language  is starting to be learned by people of all ages’ groups and social classes. However the main motivation for learning Italian is still mostly because it is a socially attractive language instead of a business language such as English.

Italian is the main language of approximately 65 million people. The vast majority of native Italian speakers are concentrated in Italy. However there are also Italian speakers in San Marino, Vatican City, Switzerland, the Istria region of Croatia, and Slovenia.

Italian is  considered a Romance language. This means that it is one of the languages that descend from Latin, which is the language of ancient Rome. Italian belongs to the same language family as Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Catalan. Because of this there are strong similarities between each of these in their structure, sound, and vocabulary terms. However, Italian is the romance language closest to Latin when it comes purely to vocabulary. If you have learned another romance language, or even learned a no longer used language like Latin, then it should be much easier to for you to also learn Italian.

The Italian language we have today was mostly “promoted” by the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Dante used his native Tuscan dialect to write the “Divine Comedy.

Different Types of Italian

As with all languages anyone learning Italian from scratch will find many regional variations within the language relating to special vocabulary, accents, and verb usage. However there are special dialects of Italian that are only spoken in their region and are important to be aware of if you are learning the language for the first time. These dialects are from the Naples and Campania region, the Venice and Veneto region, and the Friuli region. It is also important to be cautious of the island dialects of Sardinian and Sicilian.

Regional dialects are only spoken in their individual regions, and are not official languages. These language dialects tend to be spoken by the older population and only in informal contexts. Younger Italians normally stick to standard Italian which is what a beginner should focus on learning.

Difficulty level of Italian as a new comer

The Italian language isn’t especially difficult to learn, however at first every language can appear to be difficult to pick up. In order to learn Italian you will need to commit to consistently putting in time and practice. The good news is that if you do Italian is actually one of the easier languages to learn when compared to Russian or Chinese.

Italian looks roughly how it sounds so you will not need to learn a new alphabet before you can start learning Italian.

Because Italian has deep roots in Latin, and other Romance languages learning Italian will be much easier if you already know a Romance language like Spanish, French, or Portuguese because many of the words, verbs, and overall structures are similar to each other. Spanish and French happen to be the closest language to Italian out of all of the romance languages.

New comers to Italian should be careful against the misuse of words that seem similar to English words but have completely different meanings in Italian! A good example of a word to watch out for is Sensibile. This in Italian means sensitive, instead of being reasonable like it does in English.

Don’t let mistakes cause fatigue early on in your goal to learn Italian. Mistakes happen no matter what and are part of the learning process when learning a new language. However, if you practice enough your mistakes will lessen greatly with time!