How Long Does it Take to Learn Italian? – Facts to Know

Disha Ahuja
Disha Ahuja Facts & How-To's
21 Min Read
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If you want to learn Italian, you might wonder how long does it take to learn Italian.  Learning a new language is truly rewarding for everyone and not only for students. We will discuss exactly all of this in this article.

Despite your age, you can definitely learn a new language. This is because learning is a lifelong process. Learning a new language can be rewarding to learners as it opens doors to new cultures and experiences. It will improve your cognitive abilities, and it will improve your communication skills. 

1. Introduction: Italian Language

Italian is a very popular and recognized language among language learners. The Italian language is known for its musicality and rich history among the people. If you wish to learn Italian and become a fluent speaker, you have to be consistent.

Now, the question arises again, how long does it take to learn Italian and become a fluent speaker? The answer to this question depends on various external and internal factors. It depends on various external factors such as consistency, individual aptitude, learning methods, and dedication.

In this article, we will dive deep into these factors and get familiar with the Italian language. We will draw insights from experts as well as studies. By the end of this article, you will get a comprehensive analysis of the time it will take you to learn Italian. The answer to your question, how long it takes to learn Italian, will be clear.

Speak Italian in 2020 - Your guide to Italian fluency

2. Individual Factors and Language Learning

Before actually thinking of the time required to learn Italian, you should know that language learning is an individualized process. Different language learners have different cognitive abilities and different backgrounds.

According to linguist Stephen Krashen, there are two main stages of language acquisition. The first is the acquisition state. In this state, the learners subconsciously absorb the language.

hoe long does it take to learn italian
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The second stage is the learning stage. In this stage, the learners study the language’s rules and vocabulary. Keep a check on the speed at which you progress through these stages. This factor, matters in this learning process. It will play an important role in letting you know the overall learning time of the language.

You will get to know your progress. Thus, this will keep you motivated.

3. Aptitude And Prior Learning Experience 

We can’t deny that maintaining consistency throughout the learning process is the most important factor. You should dedicate some time regularly. To learn a language from scratch, consistency is necessary. It’s definitely not an easy process. But consistency and passion for learning a language are essential.

If you have a passion for learning and a learner’s aptitude, you will ace this journey in no time. While some may find it easier to grasp Italian grammar and vocabulary, others may not. It depends on various factors. The grasping capability of each individual is different.

Also, if someone has learned a language similar to Italian, it will be easier for them to catch the pronunciation. 

If someone knows or has learned languages similar to Italian, such as Spanish, French, and Portuguese, it will be easy for them throughout.  It will be easy for them to understand the grammar and the vocabulary of Italian. 

While some studies have found that learners with a background in a Romance language reach a level of basic faster. They reach a basic level of Italian Proficiency faster than learners with no such background.  

While this thing is not a matter of fact at all! You can definitely learn Italian from the core. There is no prior language experience needed. You just need the right dedication and passion for the language!

Learn Italian from Scratch - 100 Easy Lessons for Beginners

4.1 Italian Spellings

4.1.1 Diacritics in Italian

Diacritics are basically accent marks or symbols. These accent marks or symbols are added to the letters. This indicates specific phonetic or grammatical features.

While Italian does not use diacritics on a large scale. Diacritics still play an important role in clarifying pronunciation. Also, to identify the difference between homographs.

4.1.2 Diacritics in Loanwords 

The Italian language also employs diacritics in loanwords from other languages.

4.1.3 Modern Spelling Rules

The modern Italian spelling follows the phonemic principles. This is done to represent the sounds of the Italian language as accurately as possible.

Despite the complexities of Italian phonology, the orthographic rules always contribute. These rules contribute to a relatively transparent relationship between spelling and pronunciation.

Italian Course Beginner Series 16: The Italian Spelling Chart

4.1.4 Double Consonants

In Italian spelling, double consonants are used to indicate the lengthening of a consonant sound or gemination. When a consonant is pronounced for a longer duration. As a result, germination occurs. This feature affects the spelling and the spelling of Italian words.

For example : 

“Palla” { pal. la } – The double ‘l’ here indicates that the sound ‘l’ is pronounced for a longer duration. 

4.2 Italian Sentence Structure

4.2.1 Word Order in Italian Sentences

Italian sentences generally use the subject-verb-object ( S V O ) order. But despite this, the Italian syntax offers flexibility. The Italian syntax allows for variations that emphasize different elements in the sentence.

4.2.2 Subject – Verb – Object ( S V O ) Order

As we all know, the subject comes first in the standard, Subject – Verb – Object ( S V O ) Order. It is followed by the verb. And, lastly, by the object. This arrangement ensures clear and straightforward communication.

For example: “ Maria legge un libro.” ( Maria reads a book )

Subject: Maria 

Verb : legge ( reads )

Object: un libro ( a book )

4.2.3 Sentence Structure in Complex Sentences 

Italian uses the S V O order in complex sentences containing a subordinate clause. It maintains the S V O order in the main clause.

This is done while adapting the subordinate clause to its own syntactic rules. This maintains clarity and understanding during communication.

How to form a sentence in Italian - The Building Blocks of Italian | All the basics

4.3 Italian Syllables

The syllable structure in Italian is pretty straightforward as compared to other languages. As a result, it becomes easy for the learners to understand the concepts and learn with no difficulties clearly.

4.3.1 Vowels And Consonants

Italian has a limited vowel system. It comprises seven vowels, which are a, e, ɛ,  i, o, ɔ, and u.

Depending on the stress patterns of the language,  these vowels can be short or long. 

Here are some examples of how Italian vowels are pronounced:

  1. A: a casa ( at home)
  2. E: e Bello ( it’s beautiful )
  3. O: occhio ( eye )
  4. U: uno ( one )
  5. I: il gatto ( the cat )

Along with this, Italian also has a rich set of consonant phonemes. These consonant phonemes are both voiced and voiceless. These consonant phonemes interact with the vowels to form syllables.

Here are some examples of how Italian consonants are pronounced : 

  1. B: banana
  2. H : hotel ( in foreign words only )
  3. C : casa
  4. D : dado
  5. F : farfalla ( butterfly )
  6. L : limone 
  7. G : gatto
  8. N : naso
  9. P : papa
  10. M : mamma
  11.  R : rosa 
  12. Q : quaderno ( notebook 
  13. Z : zebra 
  14. S : sole
  15. T : tavolo 
  16. V : vino

LEARN WHAT IS A SYLLABLE IN ITALIAN & TONIC ACCENT | When To Write The Accent In Italian?! (eng/ita)

4.3.2 Onset, Nucleus, And Coda

The basic structure of an Italian Syllable consists of three main parts. These three main parts are; the onset, the nucleus, and the coda.  The onset is a consonant cluster or an initial consonant of a syllable. The onsets consist of single consonants, for example, p, t, n, s, etc., or more complex clusters like pr, tr, sp, etc. 

 The nucleus is the vowel. The nucleus is indicated by the presence of a grave accent, for example, a, e, i, o,u, etc., on long vowels. The coda is the final consonant or the consonant cluster. The coda consists of /n/, /l/, or /r/.

These three are crucial components for understanding an Italian speech’s flow and rhythm.

4.4 Italian Alphabets

The Italian alphabet is easy to learn. They are very regular. In the Italian alphabet, there is almost a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and letters of the words. 

The Italian alphabet is very expressive. They can be used to write many kinds of texts. If you want to learn Italian, the Italian alphabet is where you should start.

Here are some examples of the Italian alphabet with its pronunciation : 

  1. A:  ah 
  2. B: be
  3. C: che
  4. U: oo
  5. O: oh 
  6. I:  ee
  7. E: eh 
  8. D: de 
  9. F: ef 
  10. H: aitch  ( in foreign words only )
  11. G: jee
  12. Q: cu
  13. P: pe
  14. N: en 
  15. M: em
  16. L: elle
  17. S: esse
  18. R: erre 
  19. V: uve
  20. Z: zeta
  21. T: tche

Learn the Italian Alphabet: letters and sounds (Italian Pronunciation) (1/3)

4.5 Italian Prepositions

Italian Prepositions are words that indicate the relationship between a noun and a pronoun. The Italian Prepositions are used to show direction, time, purpose, etc.

There are seven basic Italian Prepositions as follows : 

  1. di ( of, from, about )
  2. da ( from, by )
  3. a ( to, at )
  4. con  ( with )
  5. in ( in, on )
  6. per ( for, though, by )
  7. su ( on, upon )

Examples of how each of the above prepositions is used: 

  1. Di indicates content, origin, or possession. Example- ‘la casa di mia Madre ( the house of my mother.
  2. Da indicates cause, source, or origin. Example- ‘il libro da mio Fratelli ( the book by my brother.
  3. A indicates destination, direction, or purpose. Example- ‘ vado a casa’ ( I’m going home )
  4. Con indicates means, company, or accompaniment. Example- ‘vado al cinema con i miei amici’ ( I’m going to the movie with my friends).
  5. In indicates state or location. Example- ‘sono in casa’ (I’m at home).
  6. Per indicates destination, purpose, or duration. Example- ‘vado al super mercato per comprare del cibo’ (I’m going to the supermarket to buy food ).
  7. Su indicates the location on the surface or above something. Example- ‘il libro e sul tavolo’ (the book is on the table ).

Prepositions are of two types: simple and articulated. Simple prepositions are the ones that can be used without an article. Articulated prepositions are combined with an article which forms a single word.

You can use Italian prepositions easily in no time. But make sure to follow these tips : 

  1. Use a good Italian Dictionary.
  2. Use prepositions in your own sentences.
  3. Pay attention to how prepositions are used when you read a sentence.
  4. Be patient! With regular practice, you will get familiar with Italian prepositions.

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4.6 Genders of Italian Nouns 

The Italian nouns can be classified into two genders. The masculine and the feminine.  The masculine nouns end in -o. While the feminine nouns end in -a. Despite this, we can find many exceptions to this rule. For example, the noun ‘libro’ (book) is masculine. Whereas the noun ‘casa’ (house) is feminine.

Here are some other common endings for masculine and feminine nouns : 

  • Masculine Nouns: -e, -i, -o, -u.
  • Feminine Nouns: -a, -i, -e, -l, -o.

Some nouns can be either masculine or feminine. This depends on the meaning.

For example, 

Word- fiore (flower)  { Can be either masculine or feminine }

The masculine form is used to refer to a single flower. Whereas the feminine form refers to a group of flowers.

Here are some strategies you can use to learn the gender of Italian nouns-

  1. Pay attention to the ending of nouns.
  2. Learn the genders of each noun with their corresponding meanings.
  3. Use an Italian dictionary.
  4. Practice using the nouns in sentences of your own.
  5. Use flashcards to practice the genders of common nouns.
  6. Use mnemonic devices to practice regularly.
  7. Try to find patterns in specific genders of nouns.
  8. Lastly, be open to asking for help. You can even look out for online resources for help. People experts in the language can easily be found online.

4.7 Italian Verbs

Italian verbs are used to express the state of being and action. Italian verbs can be considered the building blocks of the Italian Language.

There are three main types of Italian verbs-

  1. Regular verbs
  2. Irregular verbs
  3. Defective verbs

Regular verbs are further divided into three main conjugations: 

  1. -are verbs
  2. -ere verbs
  3. -ire verbs

Further, the conjugation of an Italian verb depends on four things as follows:

1. Person – the subject of the verb

Three persons in Italian- you, he/she/it/we/you, they.

2. Number – refers if the subject is singular or plural

Two numbers in Italian- singular and plural

3. Tense – time of the action

Six tenses in Italian- present pat, future, perfect, imperfect, and pluperfect

4. Mood – the attitude of the speaker

Three moods in Italian- imperative, subjunctive, and indicative

Examples of some Italian Verbs:

  1. Capire ( to understand )
  2. Volere ( to want )
  3. Amare ( to love )
  4. Andare ( to go )
  5. Mangiare ( to eat )
  6. Imparare ( to learn )
  7. Parlare ( to speak )
  8. Scrivere ( to write )
  9. Dormire ( to sleep)
  10. Leggere ( to read )

Here are some tips for you to learn Italian Verbs : 

  1. Try to learn the conjugation of regular verbs in groups.
  2. To avoid confusion, learn the conjugation of irregular verbs one at a time.
  3. Practice the conjugation of verbs with different tenses and moods.
  4. Use flashcards for practice.
  5. Read and listen to audio that contains Italian verbs regularly.

5. Exposure And Practice

5.1 Frequency And Intensity of Practice

Regular exposure and practice are key to learning the Italian language. To achieve proficiency, continuous efforts and engagement are necessary. You should practice the language regularly.

how long does it take to learn italian
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You should never aim for perfection in the early stages of learning. Set short and intensive learning sessions daily. In these sessions, practice the language with no distractions.  Using the right resources is also very essential.

Whether you are learning through formal education or self-study, continuous efforts are what matters here. Always aim for high-quality resources.

Invest time regularly for learning and practice. Remember, here; self-discipline is the key! Consistency matters the most in the process of learning a language. Remember; to keep track of your learning progress each day.

5.2 Real-Life Communications

 

how long does it take to lean italian
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Practice is the key to language learning! You should aim to have real-life communications with people in Italian! Try to speak Italian with natives. This will give you more exposure to the pronunciation.

 Find people or friends who share the same interest as you. You can always find such people online nowadays. This will help you keep accountable for your language learning.

Conclusion

In conclusion, what is the perfect answer for how long does it take to learn Italian? Well, this depends on many factors. These factors can be internal and external as well. For example, learning methods, time investment, exposure, practice, etc.

 While it also depends on each person’s age and cognitive abilities. As every individual has different strengths and weak points as well. Some might require a few months to master the Italian language.

While others might even take years to reach a high advanced level in the Italian language. The key to a successful language learning process is to find the right quality resources.

You should find the right balance between motivation and discipline. This is to make sure that we don’t want ourselves to burn out in the long run in this journey.

Remember, you don’t want yourself to burn out. But you shouldn’t take it easy as well. So here, the key is regular practice and real-life communication. Discipline is the key to whether you learn from formal education, immersion, or self-study. Remember, the journey of learning Italian is rewarding. You should aim for the destination but enjoy the journey as well.

Learning the Italian language will open the doors to a rich heritage for you. It will enhance and improve your cognitive abilities. So, there is no definitive answer to how long it takes to learn Italian. But the progress made through your entire journey is what truly matters.

Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below!

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Last Updated on by Disha Ahuja

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