We’re often asked “is Italian hard to learn for English speakers?” and “how long does it take to learn Italian?”. In truth these are hard questions to answer as it depends on several factors, of which your interest and the time you spend on learning play an important role.
However, the most difficult aspects of the Italian language for our English students usually are:
- Sentence structure. The word position is often different in Italian. For example, unlike English, Italian adjectives normally go after nouns, not before.
Anna è una ragazza bella e intelligente = Anna is a beautiful and intelligent girl.
So, stop thinking in English, don’t translate word by word but try to think as an Italian would do.
- Genders and Numbers. In Italian nouns can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural and this affects the entire sentence (the article, the adjective, etc.) because the last vowel of these words changes:
Un libro noioso (m) = a boring book — Molti libri noiosi (m) = many boring books
Una fiaba noiosa (f) = a boring fairy tale — Molte fiabe noiose (f) = many boring fairy tales
Visit our YouTube Channel to discover more about Italian nouns.
- Verbs. Of course, we mustn’t forget Italian verbs, a real problem for English speakers, as verbs in Italian change depending on several factors, first of all the subject. For example:
AMARE — to love
Io amo — I love
Tu ami — You love
Lui/Lei ama — He/She loves
Noi amiamo — We love
Voi amate — You love
Loro amano — They love
So, if you ask us “is Italian hard to learn for English speakers?”, the answer is: it’ll be hard if you are not motivated. In fact, without perseverance and motivation you’ll never learn Italian or any other language, for that matter. Therefore, we would like to give you some tips that may help you achieve your goal.
• Expose yourself to the Italian language. You need to create an Italian atmosphere at home:
– Watch Italian television.
– Read the news in Italian.
– Sing Italian songs or opera.
In this way, you’ll become an authentic Italian and from now on you’ll only ask for a cappuccino at the café (no more tea or American coffee!) and have panettone instead of carrot cake.
• Read and listen in Italian.
– Read product descriptions and device instructions in Italian.
– Change your laptop browser and mobile phone into Italian and stop searching for things in English: you have a potential Italian inside you, just give him/her the opportunity to arise!
• Speak and write in Italian.
– Write your shopping list or your notes in Italian.
– Find the local Italian community in your city or town (there must be some Italians living around you that you don’t know about), socialize with them, go to the places they go and take part in the activities they organize.
So, the question “is Italian hard to learn for English speakers?” has a clear answer: it doesn’t have to be hard if you follow our tips. At Parlando Italiano, we hope you’ll improve your level easily and fast, but remember that the key to success is motivation and perseverance. Keep trying and don’t give up; just let the Italian in you come to life!