Week 1: High Frequency Words

Weekend Italian: Bite-size language chunks of Italian survival phrases and high-frequency words to kick-start your language learning. Grab a cup of coffee and spend a little time this weekend learning Italian!

High frequency week 1 (2)

“Not all words are created equal: we use certain words far more often than others…We get a lot of mileage out of our most frequent words…With only a thousand words [of your target language] you’ll recognize nearly 75 percent of what you read. With two thousand, you’ll hit 80 percent.”

–Gabriel Wyner, Fluent Forever

After four years of studying Italian, I was pretty confident in my mastery of high frequency words…until I quizzed myself. In reviewing a list in English of 625 most commonly used words, I could readily translate just 307 into Italian. Less than half. 

Now going into my fifth year of study I’m determined to master these words, with this post series serving as a vehicle. I invite you to come along for the ride, and remember, these high frequency words can be applied to any language which you are working to acquire, not just Italian.



Word bank: actor, adjective, adult, afternoon, air, airport, alive, animal, apartment, apple. Attore/attrice, aggettivo, adulto, pomeriggio, aria, aeroporto, vivo, animale, appartamento, mela.

Level: Give it a Try

  • I love to spend un pomeriggio at the beach, where the aria is fresh and I feel vivo.
  • A word to describe something is an aggettivo.
  • When you are an adulta (or an adulto), you may choose to live in an appartamento with an animale for a pet.
  • He wants to be an attore when he grows up. (An attrice for her).
  • An aeroporto is a very crowded place!
  • A red mela is crispy and delicious.

Level: Challenge

  • Mi piace passare un pomeriggo in spiaggia, dove l’aira e` fresca e mi sento vivo.
  • Una parola per descrivere qualcosa e` un aggettivo.
  • Quando sei un’adulta (o un adulto), forse abiterai in un appartamento con un animale domestico.
  • Quando sara` grande, lui vuole diventare un attore. (Un’attrice per lei).
  • Un aeroporto e` un posto molto affolato!
  • Una mela rossa e` croccante e deliziosa.

Practice these words on Quizlet*  

*If you choose Quizlet,  please be sure you are following Prayers and Piazzas here at WordPress, via email or by liking my Facebook page (honor system request). This blog is a labor of love only —  I receive no affiliate or advertising dollars — and thus, my compensation comes through follows, likes, shares and (my favorite) comments. 

Grazie a tutti, e buon divertimente! Thank you, all, and have fun!

Pronunciation resources: ForvoGoogle Translate  Content resources: Fluent ForeverWordReference

Red F1 help key on a keyboard : Free Stock Photo

Image Credit

Tell me what you think of this “High Frequency Italian” post! What would be useful to you in your language studies? Do you have a correction or suggestion? Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in the comment section below.

This post first appeared on Prayers and Piazzas.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. davina says:

    hello! i’m really enjoying this segment so far. Is it only up till week 5? I can see this was done in 2016 but I cant seem to find the rest 😭

    1. Hello! Oh I’m so glad you are enjoying it! Yes, that was a short-lived series 😦 But your enthusiasm means so much to me. xo I will look for the book which I was using and share the title with you.

      1. Davina says:

        Oh that’s too bad😪. Okay, i hope you find it, thank you!

    2. Hi again, Davina! I’m back with some information for you. I pulled these words from the book Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner, (excellent for anyone working to acquire another language). He has a couple of free resources on this page: https://blog.fluent-forever.com/appendix5/ Hope that’s helpful, and enjoy your studies! 🙂 Stacy

  2. apollard says:

    Fabulous thanks! May I please ask about Quizlet, do you mean we need to always come through the post for it to be best for you or can I bookmark it? Quizlet is new for me.

    1. Ciao Andrea, so glad you like the post! You should be able to bookmark the site. 🙂 I think you will like Quizlet!

  3. the italian language specialist says:

    this is a good idea – we at school have noted that sometimes the high frequency words do not appear in study books, grammar etc. – therefore in some lessons we go with the students for a walk outside, to search for common words that we “forgot” to teach… for example, the “vetrine” (shopwindows), or the “strisce” (zebra crossing) , are very common words that are not found in the school manuals. Nice post!
    P.S,: “dove l’aria è fresca” (no h)

    1. The walking around method is a very powerful and effective way to learn, great idea! Thank you for the new words and the spelling correction. 🙂

  4. Rachel says:

    Love it! Great idea! I think lots of learners would find it helpful.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, as always! Un abbraccio…

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