Common Italian words: facts and figures

The Italian language is one of the most musical languages in the world and its beauty lies in its words.

The Italian language is estimated to be made out of a total of 450000 words with the largest Italian dictionary having over 270000 words. This can seem a really big and frightening number to someone wanting to start learning Italian, but here's the good news: you only need to know roughly 5% of the total words to be fluent in Italian. This means that focusing your efforts on learning the most common Italian words you will be fluent in Italian in no time.

What’s even more encouraging is that knowing as little as 100 words helps you understand half of the words in an article or book written in Italian. Learn the most common 1000 words and you get to a 75% understanding of texts in Italian. Also, each new word you learn helps you guess the meaning of up to 135 words you have never seen before. This means that knowing only 1000 words helps you guess up to 135000 Italian words. Doesn't seem that frightening now, right?

Top 10 cool and common Italian words pronounced by native Italian speakers

1. Ciao. = Hello.

Let's naturally start with "Salve" which means "Hello" in Italian. This is one of the most known words in Italian and a great way to start a conversation with someone from Italy. Click play below to listen to the actual pronunciation:

Ciao.

2. Amore = Love

Love is a universal feeling and we definitely had to talk about it here. Italian people have a lovely way of saying they love someone or something through the word "amore". Hear it in action here:

Amore

3. Felicità = Happiness

When there's love, there's definitely happiness. We are all chasing "felicità" as Italian speaking people would say. Listen closely and you might just get some “happiness” in your life today:

Felicità

4. Gatto = Cat

Let's talk pets. There are two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. We are going to talk about cats first or how people in Italy would say: "gatto". Listen to how it sounds like:

Gatto

5. Cane = Dog

But let's not forget our lovely and loyal companions, dogs. A dog in Italian is "cane", a really useful word for dog lovers worldwide. Here is how you would pronounce it:

Cane

6. Sorridere = Smile

Now it is time to smile or how someone from Italy would say "sorridere". Smiling makes us happy and helps us stay healthy, so that's why we all need to smile everyday. Here's the Italian pronunciation:

Sorridere

7. Italiano = Italian

Next let’s see how people in Italy say “Italian”. The correct answer is "Italian". Listen to how an Italian speaker would pronounce it:

Italiano

8. Sì. = Yes.

Yes, we have arrived at number 8 where “yes” is the subject to be discussed. Italian speakers say “yes” by simply saying "sì". Enhance your understanding by listening to how a person from Italy would pronounce it:

Sì.

9. Grazie. = Thank you.

Thank you for reading this far or should I say "Grazie" as they say in Italian. Here's a native speaker thanking you in Italian:

Grazie.

10. Arrivederci. = Good-bye.

No polite conversation can end without a good old goodbye or "Arrivederci" how Italian people usually say. Now it's time for a delightful Italian voice to say "Goodbye" to you:

Arrivederci.

Improve your Italian vocabulary online

Online language courses nowadays are fun, effective, affordable and use the latest technology to teach you a new language. This makes them a great solution to build your vocabulary. Meet Mondly, one of Apple’s best new apps of 2016 helping millions of people around the world learn a language. Our expert linguists have selected the most common Italian words so you start by learning what’s really important. No more learning random words you will probably never use in real life.

Each Mondly lesson revolves around a certain theme or situation: from family to colors to animals or shopping related lessons. You quickly get immersed in different situations like ordering food in a restaurant, booking a hotel room or having a casual talk with a native speaker you’ve just met. Organizing the lessons into themes makes learning Italian words a lot easier by creating powerful associations in your brain.

Italian words spoken by native speakers

It’s been proven that you learn any language faster when you hear natives speak. That’s why our linguists have made listening to natives an essential part of the learning experience. All phrases within the app are recorded by professional Italian speakers so you can sit back and absorb the correct pronunciation of the most common Italian words effortlessly.

Now, let’s explore the ultimate goal of learning Italian: having real conversations. That’s exactly why we’ve made speaking exercises an essential part of our lessons so you can practice the cool Italian words you just learned. You have to try our Voice Chatbot, a computer program so advanced you can actually have an intelligent conversation with. Just engage in a conversation and you get asked questions, you respond and the Chatbot understands what you're saying and continues the chat. It’s a remarkable technology that made millions of people fall in love with Mondly.

Image showing the Italian words you can learn with Mondly

Did you know?

The Italian language has had a great influence over cultures worldwide in fields like food, music and art. You probably know some Italian words already. When’s the last time you ate a “pizza”? Pizza is the most famous Italian dish and it was invented around 1860 in Naples. Or maybe you would like some “spaghetti”, “lasagna” or a “cappuccino”. These are all words originated from Italy, much like “piano”, “solo” or “orchestra”. You might also have a foreign friend who sometimes answers the phone by saying “Ciao!”.

As you might have noticed, Italians love to use shorter words. But, there are cases when they use longer ones. Excluding some medical terms, the longest Italian word is “precipitevolissimevolmente”. It has a whooping 26 letters, it’s a tongue twister and it refers to something that goes super fast or someone who’s being hasty. This word can perfectly describe the way Italians sometimes talk: very very fast.

But don’t sweat it! Most Italian words are much shorter, easier to pronounce and more common. We’ll focus on the most common Italian words because these are the ones you need to know to become fluent.

The benefits of learning the most common Italian words first

Make Italian learning fun and easier

Starting with the Italian basics means you will begin by learning the easiest words first and gradually increase difficulty. This way you will feel great while learning and see how your language knowledge broadens.

Have basic Italian conversations in no time

You'll be able to speak to someone from Rome or Venice about regular topics like weather, politics or family. This will make you confident in your Italian skills and eager to learn more.

Become fluent in Italian faster

By learning the most common Italian words first you are learning the smart way. Why learn the most unusual words in Italian when you might never use them in real life?

You improve your Italian vocabulary

Each new Italian word you learn piles up until your vocabulary builds stronger and stronger. Each lesson gets you one step closer to fluency.