The backbone/core of Italian. Which words should one memorize?

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Miagolare
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The backbone/core of Italian. Which words should one memorize?

Postby Miagolare » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:43 pm

I'm deciding what I want to spend a large portion of my learning on. Obviously not nouns, but maybe infinitive verbs? Or should I spend more time conjugating verbs? Or else what?

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Peter
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Re: The backbone/core of Italian. Which words should one memorize?

Postby Peter » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:04 pm

Miagolare wrote:I'm deciding what I want to spend a large portion of my learning on. Obviously not nouns, but maybe infinitive verbs? Or should I spend more time conjugating verbs? Or else what?


Why 'obviously not nouns'? They are pretty important!

As for verbs, yes, you do need to spend time on these, given that there are three separate conjugations, -are (e.g. amare), -ere (correre) and -ire, which is split into two separate conjugations. For example you have consentire (to permit,allow), which follows the standard conjugation:

consento; consente; consenti; consentiamo; consentite; consentono.

And then you have finire (and many others) that are conjugated a little differently:

finisco; finisce; finisci; finiamo; finite; finiscono.

One of the reasons why there is this second conjugation is to avoid confusion with the noun that is spelt the same way as the first person singular of the verb would otherwise have been spelt, e.g. fino.

With verbs you also have to appreciate that in Italian (and other romance languages) you need to know about the subjunctive mood as well as the indicative. In English we now use the subjunctive very rarely, but we do use it. For example, 'if I were you', 'if that were the case' are both subjunctive.

Additionally, there are many reflexive verbs. These are identified by the ending -si; for example you have sentire (to listen to, to feel - in the sense of something such as sadness, pain etc), and then you have sentirsi (to feel well/ill). The non-reflexive verb generally takes avere as its auxiliary, while the reflexive form takes essere as the auxiliary. (And that is another thing - you need to understand the use of the auxiliary verbs, which verbs take avere and which take essere, when using the passato prossimo or trapassato prossimo tenses (past perfect and pluperfect).

So, with sentire, you could say ho sentito il radio (I listened to the radio), but you would have to say non mi sono sentito/a bene (I didn't feel well).

There are many other parts of grammar that you need to understand as well - adverbs, adjectives, pronouns, all of which are covered in Lezioni Gratuite. Plus others that unfortunately for reasons I will not go into, we have not been able to include, such as conjunctions, prepositions.

Hope I haven't put you off! But be assured there are many resources online - verb conjugators, dictionaries and so on. It would worth taking some time to check out what you can find. As far as dictionaries are concerned, I use WordReference (http://www.wordreference.com/enit/), since that has a forum attached to it which I find very useful. I use Logos verb conjugator (http://www.logosconjugator.org/list-of-verb/IT/3/4/).
A presto


Peter

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