Learning Italian language, 5 mistakes to avoid as beginner | ELLCI

Learning the Italian Language

learning Italian language

Learning the Italian Language

The reasons that drive us to learn a new language and in particular to learn the Italian language can be personal such as the desire to be able to appreciate a film in the original version or induced by circumstances, such as a transfer to another country for work reasons.

Whatever the initial drive that makes us start taking a grammar book and learning the Italian language, our motivation can fade when we encounter difficulties.

Today we face the most common mistakes in Italian for those who learn Italian as a beginner because “mal comune, mezzo gaudio” (a problem shared is a problem halved) as the saying goes. 

Learning a new language requires commitment and perseverance, but knowing that other people are facing the same adversities makes us feel less alone in the struggle for mastery the Italian language and more determined to continue studying.

5 mistakes to avoid when you learn Italian as beginner 

1. Articles: does mother tongue matter?

The article is a small grammatical particle that specifies some characteristics of the name to which it is combined. Not all languages ​​have this element in their language system or use different forms by gender and number. That’s why the differences in the native language are reflected in the expression of the second language. For example, it is more frequent to forget about articles for Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovan students. In contrast, Asian students more easily confuse definite and indefinite articles.

A particular pitfall is given by the concordance between gender and number (for example they say i pantaloni è bello instead of i pantaloni sono belli) and discriminating between the two forms of the singular and plural masculine determinative article:  il and lo, i and gli.

2. Family affairs: possessive adjectives

In the definition of possession, students confuse the attribution subject / object, for example if the subject is female but the object of possession is male, they happen to say “la mia telefono” instead of “il mio telefono” (my phone).

Other difficulties concern the use of possessive adjectives with family nouns in the singular. These do not want the article – except ‘them’ – in the use of possessive adjectives; for example, you don’t say ‘la mia sorella’, but “mia sorella” (my sister), but you can say “ i loro cugini” (their cousins).

3. Where heroes fall: the conjugation of verbs

English speakers use pronouns to specify the subject. In Italian, however, the use of pronouns is not widespread because the subject is expressed through the conjugation of verbs. Pairing the subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, you, them) with the conjugated verbs is redundant. That’s why it’s important to study all conjugations and distinguish between regular and irregular verbs. Don’t give up, it takes time to remember them all!

4. Mysterious new sounds

“Trentatré trentini entrano a Trento tutti e trentatré trotterellando.” This famous tongue twister is a challenge for native speakers, imagine the performance anxiety that can induce who learn Italian as beginner. In this nursery rhyme are the most common phonetic mistakes in Italian.

Non- Italian speakers must learn how to produce this new sounds in their mouth, especially the pronunciation of the vibrating “r” and the doubles like the “n” in “penna”.

Other insidious combinations for which the ear must be trained to distinguish sounds are “chi” e “ci/ghi”, “f” and “p”, “p” with “b”, “c” and “z”.

5. Pleased to miss you

“Piacere” (to like) and “mancare” (to miss) are two problematic verbs because they seem to distort the structure of the sentence. It may seem strange at first, but in reality what is liked – or is missing – is the subject of the sentence while the person who expresses the preference is the indirect object. Someone (indirect object) likes something (subject) becomes:

  • with singular name: “a Marco piace il gelato” – Marco likes ice cream
  • with singular pronoun: “gli piace il gelato” – he likes ice cream
  • with plural name: “a Marco piacciono i giochi in scatola” -Marco likes board games
  • with singular pronoun: “gli piacciono i giochi in scatola” – he likes board games