Getting to know Italian vocabulary is an essential part of learning the Italian language. Along with Italian grammar, Italian vocabulary is the most important skill to know when you’re learning Italian. After all, you can’t actually use a new language without knowing the words, expressions and phrases that make up that language! The more Italian vocabulary you know, the more you’re able to talk about everything in your world — from what you do for work to your hobbies to your favorite colors and foods to the weather outside and everything in between.

The Roots Of Italian Vocabulary

When it comes to vocabulary, you’re going to find a lot of words in Italian you already recognize. Italian is a Romance language, which means it derived from the vernacular Latin spoken by the common people in the Roman Empire. Of all the Romance languages today, it’s actually the closest to Latin, so if you’ve ever studied Latin, you’re already at an advantage learning Italian.

Many English words come directly or indirectly from Latin, so when you see the Italian words artista, università, educazione or credibile, for example, you’ll probably have no trouble guessing their English equivalents. On top of that, English borrows many words from Italian, too, especially in the realms of art and music terminology, for example. If you play the piano or the piccolo, you’re using Italian words already. There are even lots of fun words invented by Italian-Americans that illustrate how the two languages influence each other.

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How Can I Improve My Italian Vocabulary?

There’s no right or wrong way to practice Italian vocabulary. The most important thing is that you find a way that works for you and helps you remember words and phrases when you need them most in conversation, writing or any other context.

Many people find it helpful to practice Italian vocabulary with flashcards. The typical Italian flashcard has an English word on one side and the Italian translation on the other, but you can write anything on either side of the cards — from definitions to example sentences using the word you’re learning.

Online learning sites like Quizlet are great for studying Italian vocabulary. When you use Quizlet Italian flashcards or the platform’s other games and tools, you can boost your memory retention and word recall, hone your spelling skills and practice Italian vocabulary in interactive, engaging ways.

Some people like to practice Italian vocabulary in more real-world ways. You might have heard of the sticky note method, where learners write the Italian word for items in their kitchens or living rooms on sticky notes, for example, and post them on those items to help them make the association with the Italian vocabulary word each time they look at or use that item. You can expand the system to label nearly everything in your home and to put notes of words you want to learn where you’re sure to see them, like on your shower door or on your ceiling above your bed for extra practice. This can be a really helpful Italian learning strategy for people who like to learn visually!

You can also recruit someone else to help you study Italian vocabulary. Have a friend, roommate or partner quiz you on word definitions and translations from a list you prepare. If you’re both learning Italian, challenge each other to review one list of vocabulary every day, and if one of you fails or falls behind, that friend owes the other a drink or a coffee, for example. Or point out different objects in your environment to each other and see who can name the most items in Italian without consulting a dictionary or other resource. There are so many ways to practice Italian vocabulary with another person, whether they’re learning Italian or not!

Learning Italian Vocabulary With Babbel

Babbel makes learning and practicing Italian vocabulary easy, interactive and fun. Our Italian learning content is designed by language experts and teachers who know the best methods to build your Italian vocabulary skills and make sure they stick. A variety of speaking, writing, reading and listening exercises reinforce all the elements of language learning so you’ll be ready to use the terms you’re learning in different situations.

Babbel lessons introduce new words and expressions in stages, focusing on vocabulary that applies in conversations with actual native speakers — not nonsensical or impractical words that you’ll never use. Almost every Babbel Italian lesson features a simulated dialogue that lets you use what you’ve learned in real-life contexts. The Review feature brings back Italian vocabulary words from earlier lessons when you’re most at risk of forgetting them, helping you strengthen your word recall skills with interactive flashcard and spelling exercises. Ready to get started learning Italian vocabulary? Try a free Italian lesson!

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