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Question For People Who Speak Italian

Discussion in 'Italian Language' started by Mosquito, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Do you understand French or Spanish when you read them or hear them? To what degree? I know they are quite alike in some aspects, but are they similar enough for the speaker of Italian to understand Spanish and French well? I've always been curious about that.
  2. Interesting question, Mosquito. I was not aware that Italian, French and Spanish are similar in some ways. One difference I noticed is the last syllable of words in French which is pronounced softly or not at all, whereas each syllable of Italian words is pronounced entirely to the last letter.
  3. Hmm.. from what I heard, some of the dialects in Italy are very similar to French (especially dialects from Northern Italy).
    I have learned some French in school but I think it still counts that when I read or hear a word in French I do understand it and I also find it to be very similar to its correspondent in Italian. There are many words that are similar like that, from the French language.

    I don't know if i can say the same about Spanish though... There are many Spanish people around here but I honestly can't understand a word they're saying :D I understand maybe 1 or 2 words out of 10. I'm not sure if it's because they talk too fast or because I just don't find Italian and Spanish to be similar.
  4. You have a point, Rosie. When I read French words, I understand at least some of it, but to listen and then comprehend what is said, is beyond my knowledge of the language.

    The way you understand Spanish (two out of 10 words) is the way I understand Italian, but I love the way Italian words a pronounced. I can listen for hours on end to people speaking Italian without me having the slightest idea what they are talking about.

    Spanish is downright 'Greek' to me. :D
  5. Well, I do, but I suppose that's because I spoke French and Spanish before learning Italian. ;) Knowing the did help though, as I was able to work out quite a lot of Italian vocab based on the other languages. I still understand far more French and Spanish though!
  6. I have never learned to speak French. This is probably why I am of the opinion that French is one of the most difficult languages to speak.

    Wow, cefmac, this means you speak at least four different (and difficult) languages. I can speak Flemish quite well. I know some German and Dutch, but I understand these two languages much better when reading it. I categorize Spanish and Italian in the more difficult group.
  7. Personally I find all the romance languages quite easy, perhaps it's just because I started learning French when I was very young (I was nine) though so I've become used to them. I'm impressed that you find German easier than French - I'd love to be able to speak German, but I find even the sight of it very daunting! It's next on my language hit list though.
  8. Italy is one of those languages where you look at the words and immediately see the influence that it had on other languages. With this in mind, I would get some background lessons in grammatical structures in Latin as this will set you up nicely for the same in not just Italian but other central European languages too.
  9. I live in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia in western Africa. It has a strong German influence from earlier history. Some of the street names are still in German, and there are many German guest houses catering for German tourists. This is probably the reason why German is not difficult for me although my native language is Afrikaans, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa.
  10. Oh, that's really cool! I knew Afrikaans was similar to Dutch, but I've never really thought about how that's related to German. That makes sense now that I think about it.
  11. It is cool, I agree! I am not sure how many people know that Flemish is actually more similar to Afrikaans than Dutch. When I visited Belgium some years ago, I stood in awe when I realized I could understand every word they were saying!
  12. In the area that I live, the local dialect sounds like French to me. Remember, that every major city / province in Italy has its own local dialect.

    Italian is the universal language but many, especially the older generation, still speak in their local dialect.
  13. Oh, ok. I did not know that every province has its own dialect, Chillout. Do the dialects differ very much or are the Italian people from various provinces able to understand each other relatively well?
  14. Perhaps the neighbouring provinces you can understand some of it but in general they differ quite considerably to the point where you can't understand that much.
  15. Or to the point where you can't understand anything at all!

    I've met an Italian woman just the other day, she's from Sicily but she came to the North because she got married and started a family in Northern Italy (her husband is from the North).
    We began talking and along came the subject of dialects.
    It looks like, even after more than 40 years of living in Northern Italy, this lady still isn't able to speak the dialect here. She understands it but can't really speak it.

    I thanked her for making me feel less dumb :p I find it very hard to understand a whole sentence when I hear it in dialect.
  16. I am amazed! We do have dialects of Afrikaans here in Namibia and in South Africa, but we are still able to understand each other and have 'normal' conversations. As with the English language, we have a 'King James' type of Afrikaans; a number Afrikaners still speak this language, but I think they are the minority.
  17. I'm Italian and after a small study of Spanish (say around 10-12 hours) I've been in central America (Spanish speaking)

    I was not able to understand everything but I was able to understand most of the conversations.

    French it's a bit harder IMO.
  18. I've noticed this. I learnt Italian from two different teachers, both from Naples, and they would often chat away to us in Italian - I did notice their dialect was very similar. Definitely a world apart from the dialect I heard around Venice when I was there a few years ago!
  19. I don't really speak Italian, but I do speak Spanish and know a bit of French (from friends who speak it). Some words are similar e.g guerra (Italian and Spanish) so sometimes if there's enough recognisable words for me I will understand what the sentence is about. It's not as easy as that though when it comes to French, I personally find that language hard to figure out.
  20. I am from Germany and I have studied Italian a few years ago and then I also have lived in Italy. Reading I understand Spanish and French quite well, but spoken language is more difficult to understand for me.

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