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  #1  
Old April 23, 2008, 10:36 PM
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Italian vs. Spanish

How do Italian and Spanish compare? I've heard the romantic languages are all very similar in vocabulary, but do they have similar sentence structure, reflexives, etc.?
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  #2  
Old April 23, 2008, 11:45 PM
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I don't know all that much about Italian, but I've heard that Spanish and Portuguese are more similar than Spanish and Italian.
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  #3  
Old April 24, 2008, 01:06 AM
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Italian is very similar to Spanish in some ways. But, after all is said and done, it is still a foreign language.
They have different spelling rules, phonemes, and vocabulary.
On a positive note, they have nearly identical grammar rules, as far as nouns having gender and agreement with adjectives, but the word endings are different (more complex). Verb conjugation is a little more complicated than Spanish. And, yes, they have reflexive verbs.
The passive voice is similar to the English and Spanish constructs. It looks like both Spanish and Italian try to avoid using it under similar circumstances. For your amusement, I've written a sentence in English, Spanish and Italian below. Note how the passive 'it isn't understood' appearing in the English sentence is replaced with the '(someone) doesn't understand' reflexive construct in both of the Romance languages.

English: It isn't understood if he is lying to her or to himself.
Spanish: No se entiende si él le miente a ella o a si mismo.
Italian: Non si capisce se lui sta mentendo a lei o ai suoi.

As a reading comparison aide only, substitute 'está mintiendo' where 'le miente' appears in the Spanish translation.


With some effort (and some serious study of the Italian language), you and an Italian could communicate with each other using respective tongues. In most instances, the flow of the language will make perfect sense. The real difference is the vocabulary.

Last edited by Rusty; April 24, 2008 at 07:56 AM.
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Old April 24, 2008, 01:40 AM
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¡Qué control Rusty! The only thing I know about Italian is that it must be a very persuasive language, because I have two friends who married Italians an incredibly short time after meeting them.
On a more serious note, I understand Italian and Portuguese only if the person in question is talking to me and not very fast, but not if there's a group of people talking. Reading is easy.
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Old April 24, 2008, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hombre-Araña View Post
How do Italian and Spanish compare? I've heard the romantic(romance is the word, but they have been accused of being romantic too) languages are all very similar in vocabulary, but do they have similar sentence structure, reflexives, etc.?
From what I know, romance languages have similar structure. As Rusty
states, its the vocabulary that differs. Also, it's the pronunciation. Italian speakers often accent the third to the last syllable. Spanish speakers usually accent the second to the last syllable.

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Old April 24, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Most Italian words are accented on the penultimate syllable, just like in Spanish. There are plenty of words, however, that look like they should be accented on the same syllable as their Spanish equivalent, but they are not. And the Italians only place an accent in the words that have an accent on the last syllable (or on homophones in order to distinguish them). The accent has to be memorized for all other words!

A Spanish speaker has an advantage over an English speaker trying to learn Italian, because they already know, or will be able to deduce, which syllable receives the accent in most of the words, especially the cognates.
For example, these pairs are accented in the same syllable:
difficile (difíchile) = difícil
possibile (posíbile) = posible
cattolico = católico
epoca = época
comodo = cómodo

Here are some Italian words that are accented on the last syllable (these are also accented on the last syllable in Spanish - note that the grave accent mark is used instead of the acute accent that is used in Spanish):
città (chitá) = ciudad
difficoltà = dificultad

One 'gotcha' for a Spanish speaker is the infinitive ending in -ere. Although most will be accented on the second-to-last syllable (and are therefore accented on the same syllable as the Spanish equivalents ending in -er), there are many unaccented exceptions that have to be learned:
vendere (véndere) = to sell
vivere (vívere) = to live
scrivere (scrívere) = to write
correre (córrere) = to run
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  #7  
Old April 24, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Mamma mia, cosa habiamo fatto? Sonno venutto qui per imparare l'inglesso e io mi incontro una vera e piacevole surprisa: anche posso imparare l'italiano! Sono in accordo con Rusty, con Iris e con Poli. L'italiano è molto similare a l'spagnolo però existono un grande numero de differenzas qui lo fai difficile de dominare. E dovuto a le similitudine è veramente fácile facere male traduzione, commo questa que tu stai legendo. Ci vediamo!
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Old April 24, 2008, 02:06 PM
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Pero que vacilón eres...
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Old April 24, 2008, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonso View Post
Mamma mia, cosa habiamo fatto? Sonno venutto qui per imparare l'inglesso e io mi incontro una vera e piacevole surprisa: anche posso imparare l'italiano! Sono in accordo con Rusty, con Iris e con Poli. L'italiano è molto similare a l'spagnolo però existono un grande numero de differenzas qui lo fai difficile de dominare. E dovuto a le similitudine è veramente fácile facere male traduzione, commo questa que tu stai legendo. Ci vediamo!
I agree. We come to a forum looking for Spanish and English help and we find Italian (and other languages, too). Imagine that! I was only trying to answer Spiderman's question. I was hoping he chooses to learn Spanish first and then tackle Italian.

Sono d'accordo con te, Alfonso.

Last edited by Rusty; April 24, 2008 at 02:55 PM.
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  #10  
Old April 24, 2008, 02:45 PM
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Sorry Rusty/Alfonso. The question was brought up in my Spanish class this week, and I thought I might as well ask since I am the only one who visits a forum regularly. Thanks for the answers, though.
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