Published February 15, 2012 by Tony

Italian language, as many know, is derived from Latin, although it also has been influenced by Greek, French and Spanish language, while having many similarities to Portuguese and especially Catalan; thus, a so pretty old language. Not everyone knows, however, that Latin language is very difficult, and due to Roman Empire and Roman Catholic Church became one of the most spoken language in the world. Many consider Italian one of the most beautiful language in the world, as its sonority brings to have catchier songs, and it’s no accident that Italy is home for opera.
So, Italian orthography appears to be difficult as French but, perhaps one of the most comprehensive and detailed language worldwide. Italian, in fact, has a grammar quite tricky and this is why, in Italy, it is a school subject studied for at least 13 years, from elementary to high school (5  +3  +5), while students who later choose a degree course in “Literature and Philosophy” still will continue to study it. Students who attend in senior high school specializing in science education or in classical studies must study Latin and Greek, also if lately there is a proposal to permanently delete, in any high school, the compulsory study of Latin, as a language by now “dead”. For those who write a simple and concise language, as English is, the approach to the Italian grammar rules can become an obstacle, especially if someone wants deepen to lear more. To let you understand the intricacies of our grammar I can only put some simple example.

In English or American the determinative article “THE” is used for any substantive also if singular, plural, masculine or feminine. Italian instead has six different article according to the genre and number, with elision forms when necessary. For example,
ENGLISH:  the chair,
the chairs ,the book, the books, the tool, the tools.
ITALIAN: la sedia, le sedie, il libro, i libri, l’arnese, gli arnesi.

Another example can be done with the personal pronoun “YOU”, where in Italian there are three different ways to express it, depending if referring to a single subject (3th singular person) “TU”, to the 3rd plural subject “VOI”, and the polite form “LEI” in case we are addressing to some authority or important person or for respect and courtesy, an appellative more formal than “VOI”.

Another consideration I can do now is that our language gets to be precise and detailed, often finding no equivalent in English, and may seem prolix even.

At last, here’s some further differences:

  • while English is difficult for his pronounce, Italian words can be pronounced as they are written, roughly.
  • Italian is a phonetic language, most Italian words end with a vowel, while some have double consonants.
  • In Italian the element which the speaker wishes to give most emphasis to is usually moved to the end of the clause, contrasting with English in which the salient element is identified by intonation changes rather than words order changes.
  • Being a more inflected language, Italian allows greater variations in word order.
  • Italian doesn’t use the perfect tense to make a connection to the present in the same way English does, while the English auxiliary verb “to do” gets no equivalent in Italian.
  • In Italian adjectives often follow the noun, not precede it as in English.
  • Italian doesn’t have the same strict use of the pronoun “IT” as in English, on the contrary it is omitted in the impersonal forms (as, it’s 8 o’clock).
  • Italian often makes recourse to the subjunctive conjugation (as Spanish) that instead isn’t used in English.
  • As well as for Italians is difficult to learn the pronounce of word “the” or “h”, for Americans isn’t easy to pronounce any word with the term “gli”, or roll the letter “r”, for instance.

Well, I do not want to discourage any of you who is preparing or would like to learn Italian, at all. Without going in-depth grammar rules, it will be very easy for you to pronounce and create small phrases, and with or without error every Italian will understand you.
On the contrary, there are many good reasons to learn it ….
Visiting Italy is truly enjoyable, due to several of its features I already mentioned in the past: the finest historical spots in Europe, museums, sculptures, paintings, monasteries, circuses and cathedrals. Italian cuisine is among the most delicious and enticing in the world. It is often regarded so highly that it is spoken of in the same way as the beautiful architecture! Italians are gorgeous and elegant as Italy has the world’s first class designers. Italy is judged in the top three in regards to health care. Italy is also among the top 10 tourists’ destinations in the globe. The Italian language is intensely linked to art, specifically in regards to renaissance paintings, literature, sculpture, architecture. There are associations also with music, such as Verdi, Rossini for piano, Pavarotti (the renowned tenor), design (graphic, interior, furniture and fashion)…. is it enough?
Then, remember that I’m always here to give my contribution in the case you need help… just contact me….


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