So You Want to Learn Italian?


La Maestra Maldestra

So you want to learn Italian? Well, reading Not Just Another Dolce Vita’sWord of The Day” posts is a good way to start. So is formally studying Italian, listening to Italian music, watching Italian movies, and of course, visiting Italy.

But apart from all that, you already know more Italian than you think you do.  Really. I promise. And I’m not talking about words like “pizza”, “spaghetti”, “ciao” and “pasta” that also find themselves in the English dictionary. Don’t believe me?

Think every Italian word has to end in an unpronounceable string of vowels five miles long? Luckily, you’re mistaken. Here’s a list of some English words that are commonly (mis)used but widely understood in Italian.

Read carefully though, because you’ll find a few surprises as to how the Italians have chosen to employ these words.

  • Manager  (mah-neh-gehrr) – boss, manager
  • Beauty  (bee-you-tee) – a beauty case, makeup bag, not beauty itself
  • Privacy  (prye-va-see)- privacy of personal information, etc.
  • Budget  (bah-jett) – a financial budget
  • Computer (cohm -pew-tehrr) – computer
  • Marketing (mahr-ket-eengg) – promotion, marketing
  • Internet (een-tehr-nett) – internet
  • Sticker (stee-kherr)- sticker
  • File (fyle)- computer file, not a file folder
  • Mouse (maw-zeh) – computer mouse, not the animal
  • Beige (bayi-ge) – the colour
  • Dessert (deh-sehr) – the after dinner snack
  • Drink (dreenk)- an alcoholic drink, not fruit juice or anything non-alcoholic
  • Cocktail (cock-tayleh) – a cocktail drink, a cocktail party
  • Smoking (smok-eeng) – a tuxedo jacket, sports coat
  • Reception (reh-chep-shion)- a hotel reception desk
  • Hotel (oh-tehl)- hotel
  • Brochure (bro-churre)- a flyer, brochure
  • Water (vah-tehrr) – the toilet , WC – water closet, not the wet stuff
  • VIP (veep) – very important person, exclusive, high class
Notice that I wrote in some interesting pronunciations beside each word. This is how you have to say the word in order to be understood in Italy. Saying it with your regular Joe Canadian accent or your Southern Drawl won’t really cut it, and no one will understand you. Weird, right?
Now you know that you’re already well on your way to speaking Italian, so pull out your Italian accent and start talking!
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