Week 2: High Frequency Words

This series focuses on Fluent Forever’s alphabetical list of the 625 most commonly used words in any language, presented 10 words at a time with their Italian translation.

Click here for Week 1 of High Frequency Italian.

“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


13546342_sWord bank: April, arm, army, art, artist, attack (noun), August, author, baby, back (noun). aprile*, braccio, esercito, arte, artista, aggressione, agosto*, scrittore/scrittrice, bambino/bambina, schiena.

*months are not capitalized in Italian

Level: Give it a Try

  • Aprile is a month in spring. Agosto is a summer month.
  • L’esercito prepares for the aggressione.
  • Un artista/Un’artista creates arte.  Uno scrittore/Una scrittrice writes books.
  • If you raise your bracci in the air it will also stretch your schiena.

Level: Challenge

  • Aprile e` un mesa di primavera. Agosto e` un mesa di estate.
  • L’esercito prepara per l’aggressione.
  • Un artista/Un’artista crea l’arte. Uno scrittore/Una scrittrice scrive i libri.
  • Se si alzano i tuoi bracci nell’aria, sara` anche allungare la schiena.

Practice these high-frequency words on Quizlet (please be sure to follow Prayers and Piazzas here at WordPress, via email or by liking my Facebook page).

Image Credit

Helpful Grammar Links

  • Definite articles: Italian uses definite articles (“the”) much more than English, and each “the” can be different depending on if the noun in question is male or female.
  • Indefinite articles (“a”/”an”)


Pronunciation resources

 ForvoGoogle Translate  Content resources: Fluent Forever, WordReference

Buon divertimente a tutti! Have fun everyone! This post first appeared on Prayers and Piazzas.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Gracefully Global says:

    I didn’t know you were doing this series – you’re amazing! This is so helpful! And you have touched on one of my biggest pet peeves as a language teacher – I feel many language books do not pay attention to word use frequency, and instead arbitrarily present lessens by theme. As an adult learner, our time is limited, and prioritization is so helpful. Thanks!!

    1. Thank you! I just started this series and I appreciate your encouragement! I think you would like the language learning concepts presented in Fluent Forever (the book I pulled the high frequency list from). Adult learners have to work just a little harder so any tricks to making a new language take root are appreciated. Love having you here!

  2. It is fascinating to discover the words a language uses most often. Bambino and braccio do not surprise, but I would not have guessed Aprile and aggressione to be in that list.

    1. Agreed! That’s why I like the concept of these high-frequency words. Many language books start with colors, numbers, days of the week, verbs (etc) — all still important to learn — but I like starting with the words you are likely to hear more often in conversation. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. bonniegm says:

    I LOVE this and will be sharing your site with my students this Wednesday. I am teaching a class Italian for Travelers. This will be so great for them, if they will take the time to stop by and read it.

    1. How wonderful, thank you! I hope they will enjoy it too. What fun you must be having teaching that class! I’ll try to keep doing some “Italian for Travelers” posts as well. 🙂

  4. jtaylor395 says:

    Your posts have motivated me to try and make phrases out of the new words I learn – this is a much better idea than remembering words by themselves as I tend to. I have started trying to link a little group of words to a picture as well which has helped me – for example : rana, saltare, verde, gracidio (croak) with a picture of a frog in my mind. This is the idea from Gabriel wyner’s ‘most awesome word list ever’! Hope this helps you too , Jenny

    1. I’m so glad you’re finding these posts motivating! That makes it worth it for me. Thanks for sharing that! I agree that matching a visual to a word is much more powerful than translating it, it just takes some extra brain training on my part. Happy studying! 🙂

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