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How to speak Italian correctly

How to speak Italian correctly?How to speak Italian correctly? Today we would like to talk about a specific aspect of the Italian speaking. You know that between English and Italian there are many points in common. This is because of  the Latin root in many English words.

Today, on the contrary, we will focus on what is different between Italian and English. In particular we will analyse some common mistakes that the English speakers make in Italian.

A very common situation is when you have in English verbs or expressions that use prepositions that in Italian are different or totally absent (and viceversa). Let’s see some examples.

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How to speak Italian correctly

Common mistakes on Prepositions

ENGLISH PHRASEWRONG TRANSLATION RIGHT TRANSLATION
I am waiting for the resultsAspetto per i risultatiAspetto i risultati
I am looking for a new house.Cerco per una casa nuovaCerco una casa nuova
Marco, are you looking for a job? Marco, stai cercando per un lavoro?Marco, stai cercando lavoro?
Surfing on the internet is amazing! Navigare sullinternet è fantastico!Navigare su internet è fantastico!
I am interested in your offer. Sono interessato nella vostra offera.Sono interessato alla vostra offerta.
Maria is in love with Giovanni.Maria è innamorata con Giovanni.Maria è innamorata di Giovanni.
Yesterday Marco payed for the dinner. Ieri Marco ha pagato per la cena.Ieri Marco ha pagato la cena.
John asked for the bill.John ha chiesto per il conto.John ha chiesto il conto.
Did you call Monica?Hai telefonato Monica?Hai telefonato a Monica?

Just few notes:

  1. “Surfing on the internet” / “Navigare su internet”: in this case the problem is the article that in Italian we don’t use, not the preposition.
  2. “Marco payed for the dinner” / “Marco ha pagato la cena”: sometimes in Italian we use this preposition “per” (for) but is less common and it depends on the context. For example: “Sai quanto ho pagato per quella moto?”. (Do you know how much I payed for that motorcycle?).

On the contrary, there are many mistakes that the Italian make, speaking in English. Looking at this page you can have an idea and get some hint for some reverse mistakes.

Furthermore, there are other situations in which is common making mistakes. They are the conjugation of the PRESENT and of the IMPERFETTO. See below.

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Common mistakes on Verbs

Another interesting topic is when Italian and English use different verbs to refer to specific actions. It happens a lot with the Italian Verb FARE (to do or to make) and with the English Verb to TAKE. Many expressions that in Italian use FARE, in English use  to TAKE. So it is very important paying attention to them in order to avoid any confusion.  Here below a list of these expressions:

ENGLISH EXPRESSIONS with TAKEITALIAN EXPRESSIONS with FARE
1. To take a shower=>1. FARE la doccia
2. To take a break=>2. FARE una pausa
3. To take a walk=>3. FARE una passeggiata
4. To take a picture=>4. FARE una foto
5. To take a trip=>5. FARE un viaggio
6. To take a ride=>6. FARE un giro
7. To take a step=>7. FARE un passo

Maybe it is interesting to notice that sometimes the opposite happens. The Italian uses the Verb PRENDERE (to take) and the English does not. Just look at these to examples:

  1. PRENDERE una decisione => to MAKE a decision
  2. PRENDERE un appuntamento => to MAKE an appointment.

Finally, the same that we noticed above about FARE and TAKE, happens sometimes with FARE and the English Verb to HAVE. Here some examples:

ENGLISH EXPRESSIONS with HAVEITALIAN EXPRESSIONS with FARE
1. To have breakfast=>1. FARE colazione
2. To have lunch=>2. FARE il pranzo
3. To have dinner=>3. FARE la cena

Paying attentions to the differences of use among the Verbs is another way of understanding how to speak Italian correctly.

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Common Mistakes on Accent in Verb Conjugation

One problem is about the 3rd person plural accent in PRESENT conjugation. Never the accent goes on the second syllable to last but it is common putting the accent rather there.

PRESENTAccent Position COMMON MISTAKE
IO LA VO ROsecond syllable to last
TU LA VO RI“”
LUI LA VO RA“”
NOI LA VO RIA MO“”
VOI LA VO RA TE“”
LORO LA VO RA NOthird syllable to lastLORO LA VO RA NO (mistake)

 

Same thing for IMPERFETTO. See below.

IMPERFETTOAccent Position COMMON MISTAKE
IO LA VO RAVOsecond syllable to last
TU LA VO RA VI“”
LUI LA VO RA VA“”
NOI LA VO RA VAMO“”
VOI LA VO RA VATE“”
LORO LA VO RAVA MOthird syllable to lastLORO LA VO RA  VA NO (mistake)

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Italian English False Friends

Another issue to consider are those mistakes that come from the Italian/English False Friends. They are words that seem to be similar but actually they have different meanings. In order to know more, here you have an exhaustive list of ITA/EN False Friends.

How to speak Italian correctly

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How to speak Italian

Finally there are many issues to consider if you want to know how to speak Italian correctly. For sure the English influence on the Italian language is somthing to which pay attention when you speak.

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Strange Italian Consonants

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