Language / Weekend Italian

Week 5: 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.

“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

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Word bank: 

big/large grande
bill (noun) il conto / una bolletta /una banconota
billion un miliardo
bird un uccello
black nero
blind (adj.) cieco
blood il sangue
blue blu
boat la barca
body il corpo 

Practice these high-frequency words on Quizlet.

Level: Give it a Try

  • Un miliardo is a very grande number. 
  • There are different types of bills. In a restaurant, one says, “il conto, please.” An invoice for things such as water or electricity is una bolletta.  For money, it’s called una banconota or una cartamoneta.
  • The national uccello of Italy is the blue bird.
  • The ocean was a beautiful blu when we sailed our barca.
  • Il sangue flows through il corpo.
  • The night was dark and nero.
  • Some say that love is cieco.

cropped-italy2012-35011.jpg

“Ad ogni uccello il suo nido è bello” — Italian proverb

“To every bird his nest is beautiful” (which is English’s ‘Home Sweet Home’)

Level: Challenge

  • Un miliardo è un numero molto grande.
  • Ci sono diversi tipi di bills. In un ristorante, si dice, “il conto, per favore.”  Una fattura per cose come acqua o corrente, è una bolletta. Per i soldi, si chiama una banconota o una cartamoneta. 🙂
  • L’uccello nazionale d’Italia è lo sialia.
  • L’oceano era un blu molto bello quando abbiamo manovrato la nostra barca.
  • Il sangue fluisce nel corpo.
  • Il notte era buio e nero.
  • Alcuni dicono che l’amore è cieco.

Helpful Grammar Links

  • Plurals in Italian: In general, singular masculine nouns ending in “0” change to “i”; singular feminine nouns ending in “a” change to “e”. Some words end in “e” and always change to “i” in the plural.
  • Adjectives are “matchy matchy” – the ending of an adjective matches in gender and number with the noun they are describing.
  • 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”)

Language Resources

 ForvoGoogle TranslateFluent Forever, WordReference

Weekend Italian

Catch up on Weekend Italian

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This post first appeared on Prayers and Piazzas.

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