Is Italian more complicated than English?
Determining whether English or Italian is more complicated is very difficult and relative.
You probably already heard someone say English is one of the easiest languages in the world to get started with.
That might be true for some but not for others.
It really depends on your native language and if you speak other languages.
For instance, if you speak French, it’ll probably be easier for you to learn Italian.
On the other hand, if you speak German, you’re likely to learn English faster than Italian.
However, some linguists say that speaking a similar language to the one you’re learning might actually be counterproductive.
In fact, you might overestimate your language skills because you might find the language too easy.
Italian vs English
There are three main aspects that have to be compared in order for you to draw your own conclusion:
- Pronunciation and spelling
The alphabet is the same in both languages.
So if you already speak a language that has the same alphabetic writing system and are considering learning one or the other, you won’t be too lost.
That’s definitely a bonus!
Italian vs English: vocabulary
Saying how many words there are in a language is very difficult. However, we’ll give you some approximative numbers.
The Oxford Dictionary has 171,476 words being in current use.
However, the most comprehensive dictionaries generally include over 300,000 entries.
On the other side, Italian dictionaries contain around 160,000 words.
According to the most comprehensive dictionary of the current Italian language, there are over 260,000 words in the Italian language.
This gives us the idea that English is richer than Italian in terms of words.
In fact, precision is one of the characteristics of the English language.
Italian vs English: grammar
Comparatively, Italian has a full verb conjugation system with several grammatical moods and tenses, while English’s conjugation system is very straightforward.
Compare the conjugation of the same verb (mangiare – to eat) in the present of the indicative in English and Italian:
English: I eat, you eat, he/she/it eats, we eat, you eat, they eat.
Italian: io mangio, tu mangi, lui mangia, noi mangiamo, voi mangiate, loro mangiano.
And that’s an easy one!
Thus, Italian is more difficult in terms of verb conjugations.
Italian vs English: pronunciation and spelling
Italian is basically a phonetic language.
A beginner learning a new word’s spelling learns simultaneously its pronunciation since the rules are consistent.
English is not phonetic, and learning a new word means learning its spelling and its pronunciation independently.
Also, English has more phonemes (individual sounds) than Italian: 44 vs. 30.
It has words that sound the same and are written in different ways. Words that are written in the same way and pronounced differently.
So, we could say English is relatively harder when it comes to pronunciation and spelling.