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.
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?
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
Thanks, Bruno! I need all the help I can get. I just like to start with the basics. 🙂
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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. 😆
It looks like a good chart – but daunting! There are so many of them!
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” 🙂
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.
I’ve heard of them but they were too expensive. I have another CD called Italian Earworms and the lessons are set to music. It worked at the beginning for me then I bored of the elevator-ish music.
The elevator music would be fine, but the Italian in the background would drive me mad.. Go and buy some Nora Jones
Ha ha… I can see how elevator music would drive you crazy!
I Know the rosetta is an expensive program, but my husband was able to share it with a friend. It was really good though.
This is a great post :), they can confuse me too
I’ve seen you write in Italian and you’re great! (I sound like that tiger from that cereal commercial)
grazie jennifer! I do make lots of errors but its hard because I compare myself to my (french) boyfriend who speaks and writes Italian PERFECTLY
Do you converse with him in Italian or English?
My foreign language tip #1: everybody drinks, nobody cares about prepositions. Everybody drinks and naturally becomes fluent. Worked in every foreign language so far!
So you’re telling me I should become a drunk while studying Italian? 😉
It’s social. It doesn’t count. Any time it’s for a good cause, it doesn’t count 🙂
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!!!!
On the street in my town they don’t speak Italian! 😉
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.
I’ve asked people to correct me, I just didn’t realize they would take me up on it and now they are correcting me all the time. I don’t want to be corrected anymore, I need to learn these! Patience is a virtue.
Let them correct you!!! Otherwise your errors just fossilise.
Oh yes, I do and I don’t mind.
I am a follower of the Marcel Marceau school of language. I have graduated in the point and mime technique… 🙂
This looks like a great idea for learning those positively awful prepositions. Good luck with them, I struggle.
If I could just get a grasp on these prepositions then I’d be okay. I hope this helps!
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. 🙂
I did the Babbel thing to, then a few others online free courses then I found other things more interesting like hiking in the mountains for going to the beach! 😉
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!
That all looks very confusing to me. 🙂
Me too, especially when I’m trying to find the gelato!
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…?
An email group or a facebook group? I’m liking the sounds of this!
Count me in.. please 🙂
You know … if it’s something like homework I’m not too sure I’d be good!
You know … if it’s something like homework I’m not too sure I’d be good!
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!
LOL! No, but maybe I could write a post in Italian…then hide under the bed for a week!
Ha, if I wrote one in Latvian, nobody would understand a word of it! An interesting challenge though!
I’m pretty sure I’d have the same problem! 🙂
ha ha ha you bad girl 🙂
Time to meet some bad boys 😉