An attempt to learn Italian prepositions

For anyone new to learning Italian – it’s not easy. I’ve been in Italy since May 2008 and I still haven’t wrapped my head around the Italian prepositions. Plus, I’m a little lazy. Okay, I’m a lot lazy. The first two years in Sardinia I studied and I studied hard with Italian workbooks, Italian learning CD’s, repetition and more repetition. Then it got boring and I studied by watching TV, listening to the radio or having a coffee at the local bar each morning.

Jennifer Avventura Learning Italian My Sardinian Life

I should know these off by heart by now, but I don’t. My husband speaks to me in Italian or Gallurese, and depending on my mood I’ll respond first in English, then Italian, and sometimes I’ll throw him for a loop and respond in Gallurese. The look on his face is priceless when I respond to him in his first language and the giggle that escapes from his lips makes me want to do it all over again.

So, in a haphazard attempt to fully memorize the Italian prepositions I wrote them on a white-board magnetized to the fridge.

I’m not sure it’s working.

What are your study tips?

About Jennifer Avventura

Canadian Freelance writer living in Sardinia, Italy. A serial expat who lived in Australia, England and Cayman Islands. She eats Nutella with a spoon and hides under the bed during lightning storms. When she's not out running 6k you will find her sitting at the computer - writing her novel and searching for worldwide waitress work.
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45 Responses to An attempt to learn Italian prepositions

  1. Expat Eye says:

    Well, I’ve just joined a Latvian dating site which is sort of forcing me to write in Latvian ;) But I guess that’s not an option for you!

  2. ciaojanice says:

    I give you a lot of credit for attempting this…I have been here on and off since 2005, bought the house in 2008 and still dont know my prepositions, but you are inspiring me! I have the books and workbooks too but there are so many more pleasant distractions here! When winter arrives I would prefer to be in my studio though. There is a great language group and members get together a couple of times a week, but in Cagliari…we who live in the small towns have to travel too far to make it practical, and with the current price of benzina! If we were really disciplined we could form an email group for those of us too lazy to actually take a course…?

  3. adinparadise says:

    That all looks very confusing to me. :)

  4. Rosemarie Kleinberg says:

    I like the way you try and learn, this would help me also! This is truly helpful when trying to learn a new language! Excellent! When I was taking Italian lessons I would write everything down and put it on a worksheet so I could refer to it afterwards. I think this is a good way to learn. You have done very well since 2008, I need to have a very long stay with my cousins to pick up some of their lingo! Have a wonderful week!

    Love,
    Rosemarie
    The Sard/American

  5. You’re not alone, sister. I’ve used Babbel online for a while, and took a year-long language course in town offered free by the commune for foreigners so that we don’t walk around the City of Palladio like stupidi. :-)

  6. Debra Kolkka says:

    This looks like a great idea for learning those positively awful prepositions. Good luck with them, I struggle.

  7. Pecora Nera says:

    I am a follower of the Marcel Marceau school of language. I have graduated in the point and mime technique… :)

  8. Prepositions are the last thing you tend to get right, and the first thing you forget once you stop using a language. There’s no point actively studying them (after the initial familiarisation process). Only by intensive long-term exposure to a language will you learn which preposition ‘sounds’ right in a context and which one doesn’t. It takes ages. That’s just how it is. Lots of reading, listening, and asking people to correct you.

  9. Paul Corda says:

    Welcome to the nightmare that is Italian grammar; the best thing is learn it on the street and then immerse yourself in prepositions; you don’t know how easy I found learning English grammar, until I got to pronunciation…I still struggle after sooo many years!!!!

  10. Anna says:

    My foreign language tip #1: everybody drinks, nobody cares about prepositions. Everybody drinks and naturally becomes fluent. Worked in every foreign language so far!

  11. ggnitaly84 says:

    This is a great post :), they can confuse me too

  12. Have your tried the Rosetta Stone CDs? My husband uses them and picked up a lot! They use sound and pictures and start slowly and build. It also listens to your voice and corrects you when wrong, so you sound right. I on the other hand realy struggle with learning a lanuage and always have. I have surprised myself though as now I am understanding some Chinese, but wth the tricky tones I have trouble speaking it. If I see it written in pin yin that shows the tones (and as I learn their phonetcis) I can read some of it. To learn some words I also have just compared things to an English word… eg. Ni Hao (Hello) is pronounced Knee How. That helps me remember and the tone.
    Good Luck!

  13. Alberto Mario DeLogu says:

    Jen I’ll tell you what I used to do with my Cdn students: I used to explain to them that in Italian it’s all about “euphonics”, meaning, if something feels like it twists your tongue like it would in, say, English or German, or even French, then it is probably wrong. Consonants, or consonant groups that can be pronounced together, back to back, in Italian are very few. Just keep in mind this general rule, and that alone should be enough to prevent you from saying things like “il sport” or “il studente” :-)

  14. colonialist says:

    It looks like a good chart – but daunting! There are so many of them!

  15. Team Oyeniyi says:

    By co-incidence I published an article today about how a person’s personality changes when speaking in a foreign language.

    As I am a lousy linguist I have no study tips I am afraid. I think in the time my family have been here I have learnt ONE Yoruba word. Sounds remarkably like the Italian word bene. :lol:

  16. Pingback: Learning Italian: At the Gynecologist | My Sardinian Life

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  18. Bruno says:

    actually, the list is longer: di a da in con su per tra fra / il lo la i gli le …sometimes there’s not a cross-match, for example “col” (con il) still does exist but colle (con le) is archaic. There’s a very good PDF there: http://www.maestrasandra.it/zip/preposizioni.pdf

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