• What will you learn?
  • What you need to know

1. Italian Sounds

2.Words Relating to Personal Information

3. Asking and Saying Your Name

4. Numbers and Age

5. Nationalities – grammar and vocabulary

6. Introducing Others

What will you learn?

You will learn how to pronounce Italian sounds. You wil also learn how to say hello and goodbye in various ways in Italian, and to introduce yourself and others mentioning name, age and nationality.

What you need to know


Here is a basic vocabulary list. Please add any relevant words to this list as you run into them throughout the Italian ab initio course.

1. Italian Sounds

Learn how to pronounce every single Italian word in 5 mins with this video.

Video Please Download the corresponding document: Italian Phonetics

2. Words relating to personal information

Here are some of the key words you need to fill in a form in Italian. If you run into any new ones during a task simply look them up on or google translate.

Italian English
nome name
cognome surname
Luogo di nascita Place of birth
Data di nascita Date of birth
Residente a City of Residence
Indirizzo address
telefono Phone
cellulare Mobile phone

3. Asking and saying your name

Q: Come ti chiami? (Informal)     Come si chiama? (Formal) A: Mi chiamo Lisa.

4. Numbers and age

Learn numbers 1-100 in Italian by opening the audio file and repeating after Prof or you can just jump into task 3. Audio file for 1- 20: Numbers 1-20 Audio file for 30-2000: Numeri 30-2000

Bigger numbers: 100 = cento; 1000 = mille (singular); 2000 =due mila (plural); 1,000,000 = un milione (singular); 2,000,000 = due milioni (plural); 1 billion = un miliardo (singular); 2 billion = due miliardi (plural).

Note that the word for “thousand” is an irregular plural.

To ask someone’s age say: “Quanti anni hai?”

To answer, say:  “Hoage + anni“. Eg. “Ho sedici anni”  (NB: Do NOT pronounce the H! )


Ho” and “Hai” literally mean “I have” and “You have“. The infinitive form of the verb (ie. the form that you see in the dictionary) is “AVERE“, which means “to have“, but words, of course, don’t always translate literally.

Watch this video explanation and then read on.

In Italian we use the verb “to have” to express….

  • someone’s age:  Ho sedici anni
  • ownership or possession: Ho un i-phone 6.
  • and for some idioms such as I’m hungry/thirsty (Ho fame/sete); I’m hot/cold (Ho caldo/freddo); I’m tired/sleepy (Ho sonno); I’m embarrassed (Ho vergogna); I’m scared (Ho paura)
NB: italians rarely use subjects (i, You, S/he etc) in front of verbs. The verb ending communicates who is performing the action (-o for ‘I’, -i for “You”, -a for “S/he, -iamo for “Us” etc), so the subject is only used when the speaker want to create emphasis. The present tense of AVERE (to have)
I have (io) ho
You have (tu) hai
S/he has (lei/lui) ha
We have (noi) abbiamo
You (all) have (voi) avete
They have (loro) hanno

Remember not to pronounce the ‘h’ or you’ll sound like Santa Clause.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 10.00.30 am

  • So, using the table as a guide, how would you say “Marco is 10 years old” ?

Answer: Marco ha dieci anni.

  • How would a teacher ask everyone in her class, “Are you all 15 years old?”

Answer: Avete quindici anni? NB: To ask a question in Italian there is no need to re-arrange words. Simply formulate the sentence and add a question mark (or when speaking, raise your tone at the end of the sentence).

5. Nationalities

  • To ask someone where they are from, say: “Di dove sei?” (informal) or “Di dov’è?” (formal)
  • To answer, say “Sononationality, dicity“. Eg. “Sono spagnola, di Madrid”
  • To ask someone where they live, ask: “Dove abiti?” (informal) or “Dove abita?” (formal)
  • To answer, say “Abito acity“. Eg. “Abito a Sydney”


Please watch the following video of Prof explaining noun/adjective agreement. You can also download the word doc used for this.

You may wish to download the corresponding word document: Nationalities and noun/adjective agreement


Please visit the following site to read and listen to the country and nationality words.

6. Introducing others

  • To introduce a female, for example Carla to Marco, say “Marco, ti presento Carla” OR “Marco, questa e` Carla”
  • To introduce a male, for example Marco to Carla, say “Carla, ti presento Marco” OR “Carla, questo e` Marco”.
  • They then shake hands and say “Piacere” Or “Molto lieta” (Carla would say this) / “Molto lieto” (Marco would say this).
  • (Piacere is short for “Piacere di conoscerti” and similar phrases, meaning “It’s a pleasure to meet you”.)
  • To welcome someone say “Benvenuto” (for a male) or  “Benvenuta”  (for a female).

Your to-do list

Do you have a better idea for a task?

Go ahead and do it, as long as it meets the same purpose as the set task and you are able to document your learning.

Task Description Purpose
  • (optional) ADD: Vocab and expressions to the google doc entitled “Greetings & Introductions vocab” . This document should include all the language that is needed to greet, welcome, introduce and ask people how they feel.
  • TIPSGet the vocab from the videos, the comprehension questions and your textbooks. Find more vocab online by visiting language learning sites such as Busuu, BBC languages, languages online victoria and even translators (for single words only).
To create an extensive vocab list on this topic for the class to share and use as a reference list
  • RECORD: your voice pronouncing all the words below by playing my video file  in the background and opening a new quicktime file for your voice. You will hear me say “numero 1”. You read word number 1, then you’ll hear my voice pronouncing the same word so that you can check it straight away. How many did you pronounce correctly? Remember to save your file as “Greetings & introductions Task 2”
  • LIST: penna (pen) 2. banco (desk) 3. piacere (nice to meet you) 4. dolci (sweets) 5. parchi (parks) 6. perche` (why) 7. oggi (today) 8. gente (people) 9. funghi (mushrooms) 10. righello (ruler) 11. giocare (to play) 12. percio` (therefore) 13. ragno (spider) 14. crescere (to grow) 15. scivolare (to slip) 16. scheletro (skeleton) 17. mamma (mum) 18. corro (I run) 19. hai (you have)
  • TIPSListen and watch the “Italian sounds”screen recording again to make sure you get the pronunciation correct. You may wish to record your voice several times until you get it right.
To practise pronouncing Italian sounds and immediately check your pronunciation against a native speaker
3 To become familiar with the vocab relating to personal information and to gain confidence and even cultural knowledge by using authentic Italian texts.
4 Learn how to hear, read and write Italian numbers 1-100 and get immediate feedback
5. Learn how to ask and say your age (listening, reading and writing) and get immediate feedback.
6. Test your knowledge of the nationalities and your understanding of noun/adjective agreement.
  • TRY TALKING IN ITALIAN:  Talk in in Italian with Prof Corsini by opening this video, saying each sentence in Italian, checking your answer by listening to Prof and finally repeating after Prof to reinforce the structure and improve your pronunciation. Remember to record yourself (eg. on facetime, audacity, iphone, etc) and to save it as “Greetings and Introductions Task 7”
  • TIPS: listen to your recording and to see how accurate your pronunciation is by comparing it to prof’s. According to research, it is easier to judge your voice when listening to a recording.
To put all the language together to form sentences in Italian. To practise and perfect your pronunciation in Italian.
  • CLASS ACTIVITY:  IDENTIFY , by first listening WITHOUT watching, the numbers being read in the following you tube video of a Lottery draw. Write them down in the lotto table document. Then watch the video and check to see if you got the numbers right. Remember to save your file and upload it onto the my documented learning page on your google site.
  • <–Lotto table doc

Really test your aural skills by identifying the numbers pronounced at a normal pace of speech in an authentic resource.Gain confidence from understanding an authentic Italian text, not one simplified for the language learners
  • IN CLASS ACTIVITY: WATCH the video “assalto al megastore” ( and answer all the questions relating to numbers as you see them appear on the screen of the news report. Write your answers on a word doc, then check to see how many you got correct (see Answers below).
  • TIPSwatch the video several times and the numbers will start to “jump out at you”. Do not expect to get them all first go.

Answers:  a) 13; b) 1500euro; c) 1000 euro; d) 5am; e) 8 thousand f)4 to 5 hundred g)6am (in the reporter’s question) -6:30am -5am -6:10 am h)4 roads i)3 hours j)8 thousand – 4am h)9500 receipts i)2.5 million sales

Really test your aural skills by identifying the numbers pronounced at a normal pace of speech in an authentic and difficult resource.Gain confidence from understanding an authentic Italian text, not one simplified for the language learners. Get a glimpse of Italy and Italian culture through the news story.
  • IN CLASS TIME: complete  the following text-handling activities by extracting personal information from the written texts. Do NOT expect to understand every word, just look for the info you need and check your answers after each text to get immediate feedback on your progress and avoid repeating mistakes.
  • Task AVIP textsVIP text-handling questions & VIP answers
  • Tips: there are 3 types of activities to complete. 1: Q & A style using the ‘io’ form in your answers (eg. mi chiamo, ho 10 anni..); 2. a “complete this form” style where you enter personal information such as date of birth without placing it in a sentence; 3. A paragraph about a person where you are using the ‘lui/lei’ (he/she) form of verbs (for example, si chiama, ha 10 anni). Also, some difficult words are “lavoro” (can mean “job” or “I work”, so to say “he works” you’d write “lavora”); calciatore =soccer player
  • Task B:Greeting & Intro Task 9b P.1 Greetings & Intro Task 9b p.2 & Answers
Seeing the language in an authentic context and developing text-handling skills for the IB exam
11. Put all the language together and speaking in Italian with peers
  • IN CLASS TIME: Listening comprehension on video interviews.

Hearing the language in context and becoming accustomed to native speakers accent and pace of speech
  • IN CLASS TIME: use language for a real purpose by introducing yourself to a busuu friend  (language learning network, see link below) saying your name, age and nationality, and have your post marked by a native speaker. Of course, do not give any personal information such as surnames, real addresses, etc
  • GO TO
Put all the language together, produce a paragraph in Italian and communicate with a native speaker. To get timely feedback from a native speaker.
  • CONTRIBUTE to the topic by either asking a question (on anything covered in this uni Eg. “Why does the last letter change in adjectives?”) or answering another student’s question on our Facebook group page.
  • TIPS: Einstein said, “You don’t really understand something until you explain it to your grandmother”.  So if you do don’t have any questions to ask, rest assured that by offering and explanation you are not only helping others to learn but gaining an even deeper understanding of the topic yourself.

Help everyone in the class to understand all the concepts introduced in this focus area, deepen your understanding of the concepts, and appreciate the strength of collaboration

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