Basic Italian words for beginners

Do you want to speak Italian but you’re a beginner? Don’t worry: you don’t have to struggle to learn a lot of new words. You can speak Italian from day one by learning the basic Italian words for beginners and combining them. How? Let’s break it down.
basic italian words for beginners
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Why learn the basic Italian words?

How many words does the Italian vocabulary have?

If we’d count all the words in the Italian language, we would not finish on time!

However, this doesn’t mean you need to memorize a lot of new Italian terms if you want to learn Italian.

The truth is that on average, Italian people don’t use all the Italian words they know.

Instead, they choose from a “selected database” of about 6500 words that allow them to compose 98% of their conversations.

Among this database, there are some essential words, which are used every day. They’re about 2000 words.

This means that if you want to speak Italian, you can learn the basic Italian words and then combine such words to compose simple Italian phrases and express basic thoughts.

why learn the basic italian words for beginners

How to learn new easy Italian words?

Learning new words in a foreign language always seems a struggle.

You try to memorize the vocabulary, use flashcards, write down new words, and at the end of the day, it seems that you’ve learned nothing.

How to avoid this? How to make the most of your study sessions and learn effectively?

Here are a few tips about how to memorize new words in a foreign language.

Learn a few words per session

A common mistake that beginner language learners do when they approach a new language is trying to learn everything at once.

They want to start speaking from day one, so they try to learn as many words as they can.

However, this strategy doesn’t help at all: it stresses the brain and may lead to discouragement.

Imagine it: if you don’t get the results you want, you may think you won’t ever speak that language and give up learning.

Learning lots of new words all at once can be counterproductive. Try not to overdo it.

It is much better to learn five or ten easy Italian words per time than trying to learn as much as you can.

Learn the words you’re interested in

Let’s say you are passionate about cooking. What’s more entertaining than learning Italian words by reading food blogs, Italian recipes, or food-related magazines?

Whatever is your passion or interest, try to integrate it into your study. It will make your learning process much more engaging and smoother!

You can read an article in Italian about a topic you’re interested in. Choose beginner-friendly articles, which don’t have complex phrases or grammar patterns.

Underline the words you don’t know or the sentences you don’t understand. Write them down in a notebook. Look for their meaning in a dictionary.

You’ll be surprised by how easier it is to memorize new words if they’re related to a topic you enjoy.

Link similar words together

Let’s suppose you want to learn five words every day.

You can choose to learn five Italian verbs: mangiare, dormire, amare, volere, sentire (meaning, respectively: “to eat”, “to sleep”, “to love”, “to want”, “to feel/to hear“).

Alternatively, you can choose to learn some words that are related to each other.

For example, if you learn the word mangiare (to eat), you can then learn other words related to food:

Mangiare la pasta

To eat pasta

Mangiare un panino

To eat a sandwich

Mangiare insieme

To eat together

Mangiare una torta

To eat a cake

Mangiare tanto

To eat a lot

In this way, you have learned the words pasta, panino, insieme, torta, tanto, and you know that these words can be all linked to a common word, that is mangiare.

For some people, it is easier to remember a group of words if they have a link than words with no relation to each other.

Basic Italian words for beginners: resources

There is no unique way to learn new words in Italian: you can choose the method that fits your needs and preferences.

You can also combine different methods to set up your learning process.

Try to make learning smooth, fun, and engaging. It’s much more effective than stressing out to learn grammar patterns and memorize new words or complex phrases.

Let’s discover some helpful resources to learn basic Italian words.

Read Italian short stories

Conversations and short stories describe a typical situation that may happen in your daily life.

These stories can be about going to the doctor, ordering food at the restaurant, booking a hotel room, shopping, etc.

If you decide to learn Italian words through conversations or short stories, choose simple dialogues, whose grammar and vocabulary are easier to understand.

Read more about Italian short stories for beginners.

Read Italian news

Reading the news in Italian is a good way to learn the language while keeping informed about what’s happening in Italy.

It is also a way to get closer to Italian culture because you can read about cultural facts and curiosities.

Some websites where you can learn the news in Italian are ANSA, Internazionale, and Euronews.

Find more websites where you read the news in Italian.

Listen to Italian music

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How to Learn Languages Fast

Listening to music is fun, and learning a language through music can be very engaging!

It is much easier to memorize new words when a melody links them.

If you’re a music lover, you can listen to simple Italian songs and try to catch up with the meaning.

Read the lyrics, write them down if it helps you understand their meaning, and underline the words you don’t know.

Learn more about Italian songs.

50+ basic Italian words for beginners

If you’re a beginner, it could be helpful to write down a list of the most common Italian words.

You can organize the list and divide the words according to the context in which they’re used: food, travel, work, etc.

Write them down in a notebook that you’ll carry with you. It may help you when you want to communicate with Italian speakers.

Here are the essential Italian words you need to know:

Si

Yes

No

No

Forse

Maybe

Certo

Of course

Grazie

Thank you

Prego

You’re welcome

Di niente!

It’s nothing!

Per favore/per cortesia/per piacere

Please

Scusa

I’m sorry

Ciao

Hi

Buongiorno

Good morning/afternoon

Buona sera

Good evening

Buona notte

Goodnight

Arrivederci

Goodbye

Piacere!

Nice to meet you!

Mattino

Morning

Pomeriggio

Afternoon

Sera

Evening

Notte

Night

Vicino

Near

Lontano

Far

Destra

Right

Sinistra

Left

Davanti

Ahead

Dietro

Behind

Dritto

Straight

Indietro

Back

Ristorante

Restaurant

Cibo

Food

Bevanda

Drink

Acqua

Water

Caffè

Coffee

Vino

Wine

Birra

Beer

Mangiare

To eat

Bere

To drink

Colazione

Breakfast

 

Spuntino/merenda

Snack

Pranzo

Lunch

Cena

Dinner

Lavorare

To work

Viaggiare

To travel

Vivere

To live

Albergo

Hotel

Stazione

Station

Parcheggio

Parking

Benzinaio

Petrol station

Automobile

Car

Bicicletta

Bicycle

Motocicletta

Motorcycle

Bello

Beautiful

Brutto

Ugly

Caldo

Hot

Freddo

Cold

Amore

Love

Felice

Happy

Triste

Sad

Ospedale

Hospital

Dottore

Doctor

Aiuto

Help

Are you interested in learning more words? Take a look at the list of the top 1000 most common Italian words.

Italian words put into practice

Learning a new language is not only about memorizing new words.

You also need to put those easy Italian words into practice, which means that speaking is an essential component of language learning.

When you learn new words, take the time to practice them. One of the best ways to apply what you’ve learned is to speak actively.

You can have a conversation with a friend who speaks Italian or also imagine a short dialogue (or a story), write it down, and read it aloud.

Taking an Italian course for beginners can help you apply the words you’ve learned and brings you additional benefits:

  • It gives you some guidelines about how to link the words you’ve learned;
  • It helps you put the words into context;
  • It makes you aware of the mistakes you are doing in writing or speaking and how to correct them;
  • It helps you master pronunciation.

Are you interested in taking an Italian course? Learn more at this link.

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!

Claudia

100% Italian. Passionate about traveling and languages.

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