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From Spanish to Italian

This page will help someone who speaks (some) Spanish learn Italian easier...
 

Pronunciation

Vowels are pronounced (more or less) the same in both languages; see the pronunciation page for details on how to pronounce consonants.  For example, c, g, q, and j are different, especially when combined with i or e.  In some cases, things are pronounced the same but written differently—for example, Italian "gn" is pronounced exactly like Spanish "ñ".  A handful of other differences exist; for example ll (2 L's) is pronounced like a longer "L", not a "y" sound.

Cognates and Rules

There are many cognates (words with similar sounds) in both languages.  Here are some basic "rules" that sometimes work for converting a Spanish word into its Italian equivalent:
  • verbs ending in -ar/-ir/-er --> verbs ending in -are/-ire/-ere (e.g. haber-->avere, tener-->tenire, poder-->potere)
  • ei-->e (veinte-->vente, treinta-->trenta...or sometimes ie-->e, like fiesta-->festa, siempre-->sempre)
  • cue/cua/gua/etc.-->que/qua (cuarenta-->quaranta, cincuenta-->cinquanta, cuesta-->questa, agua-->aqua, ésta-->questa)
  • ch-->tt (ocho-->otto, noches-->notte, leche-->latte)
  • j-->ss (rojo-->rosso, bajo-->basso, caja-->cassa but ojos-->occhi, jugo-->succo, ajo-->aglio)
  • ue-->o (cuenta-->conto, nuestro-->nostro, buene-->buono, muerte-->morte, puerto-->porto, puesto-->posto, fuerza-->forza but fuego-->fuocco)
  • es...-->s... (españa-->spagna, escriber-->scrivere, escala-->scala, escuadra-->squadra, especial-->speciale, espíritu-->spirito, esposa-->sposa, estacion-->stazione, estados-->stati, escuola-->scuola)
  • ll-->chi (mi llama-->mi chiamo, la llave-->la chiave but llover-->piovere, lleno-->pieno...or sometimes it stays a double or single L, e.g. amarillo-->giallo, millón-->milione)
  • en...-->in... (ensalata-->insalata, enamorando-->innamorato, encontrar-->incontrare)
  • d-->t (vida-->vita, nada-->niente, sabado-->sabato, perdido-->perdito, salud-->salute, todo-->tutto, ocupado-->occupato)
  • h-->f (hijo-->figlio, hacer-->fare, humo-->fumo, hoja-->foglia...but not always, for example hue-->o in hueso-->osso, huerto-->orto, huevo-->uovo)
  • bl/pl/fl-->bi/pi/fi (blanco-->bianco, planta-->pianta, flore-->fiore, plaza-->piazza)
  • ...cción-->...zione (protección-->protezione)
  • ...idad-->...ezza/...ità (seguridad-->sicurezza, velocidad-->velocità, ciudad-->città)
  • ...ble-->...bile (posible-->possibile, flexible-->flessibile, probable-->probabile)

Grammar

Italian grammar is very similar to Spanish grammar, although with a few exceptions:
  • There are more articles (e.g. "lo"/"gli" in front of certain consonants) and they are used in more places (e.g. "mi casa es su casa" becomes "la mia casa è la sua casa")
  • Plurals are formed by changing the vowel, not by adding an s (e.g. "el niño --> los niños" becomes "il bambino --> i bambini")
  • The Italian preterit past tense (Spanish pretérito indefinido) is called the passato remoto, and is rarely used outside of literature.  Instead, in most cases Italian uses the passato prossimo (roughly the equivalent of the Spanish pretérito perfecto).  (The imperfect past tense is used in roughly the same way in both languages.)
For more information on Italian grammar (such as articles and plurals), see the Basic Italian page.

Key "Small" Words

The following words are useful in both languages, and are used in almost the same way; for more cognates, see the Indo-European Languages Romance Language page:
Spanish Italian
de di
desdeda
por/para  per 
e (ed before vowel)
o/uo
peroma ("però" also used but is less common and connotes a stronger "but!")
sin  senza
si (meaning "if") se 
mas  più
menos  meno 
hay...  c'è... 
junto(s)  insieme 
sólo/únicosolo/unico 
casi  quasi 
después (de) doppo 
enin/su
otro  altro 
entretra/fra
mismo/igual stesso/uguale
tambien anche
demasiado troppo 
muymolto 
mucho(s)molto/tanto
nadie/niguno  nessuno
nada  niente 
alg...(alguno...) qual...(qualcuno...)
todo(s)  tutto 
cada  ogni 
mismo  stesso 
ya  già 
asícosì 
encima/arribasopra 
bajo/abajo/debajobasso/sotto
(a)dentro/interiordentro/interno
fuerafuori 
siempresempre 
nunca/jamásmai
hastaa (fino) 
 
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