[Course Forum] 5000 most frequent Italian Words ♫ Audio

:pizza: Syllabus (course info)

Hi there,
I’m @Robert-Alexander I created a 5000 most frequent Italian words course like those for Spanish, French or Dutch. Please see the syllabus for my sources and methodology. The course is based on a scientific word selection and has full audio support.

Please report errors here. Please post your feedback. :writing_hand: Become a course contributor and help me to improve the course (add more audio, improve entries, etc.)! Apply here.


:construction_worker: Things I’m maybe about to do next:

:construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction: :construction:

  1. :grey_question::bulb: {low priority, slow/sporadic progress depending on user feedback} Check answer hints in brackets [not …]. That’s helpful to learn synonyms and to not confuse words that are either written or translated (nearly) the same. Find a balance between “enough hints” and “overly convoluted”. I checked all entries systematically, but user feedback still welcome and crucial. Which words do you mix up? Which words need more hints in brackets? Where do hints add confusion?

  2. :grey_question::grey_question::bulb: {no priority} Just some thoughts:
    Latin origins :vatican_city:, cognates in other Romance language :portugal::fr::es::romania: or example sentences :bookmark_tabs: may be added later as a separate column. Don’t know if I’ll ever have time for that. I’m indecisive whether that’s really worth the effort or not. Could be limited to the first 2000 words. [If some of you want this badly and are willing to support me, I could easily set up a shared GoogleDocs table to facilitate collaboration.]

Thanks so much for this course. It is exactly what I was looking for.

I’m posting to report an small problem. The sound file for avvenire the verb, and l’avvenire the noun are identical. I was just given one of the question types that involves identifying a word from the sound file, and of the three choices, two of them were the same exact sound. So it was a coin flip for me.


Thank you very much. I’ve fixed avvenire (sound: “l’avvenire” vs. “avvenire. Io avvengo.”) I added this issue as a task to the to do list.

Glad to help. Two more observations in the same vein:

I’m pretty sure the entries bene (adv) vs. il bene (noun) have the same issue.

The sound file associated with chiedere is actually the word domandare.

1 Like

Danke! Fixed both. [:speaker:bene vs. IL bene]

Bitte sehr! I found another:

comune vs. il comune

I think there are multiple sounds files because sometimes I hear il comune with and without the article, when what I am being asked for is the noun.

I also noticed that appunto appears in two levels (2 and 22).

1 Like

Fixed all four entries. The sound files are now ok. Maybe -in the far future - all nouns (and only nouns) should start with the appropriate article. The way I created this course, it was hard to control what is actually said in the MP3. I’ll find out…

1 Like

Hi Robert. I have a few more little typos and issues with sounds that I’ve found:

continuare: the word “to” is written twice in the infinitive
giovane: this is an adjective with the article pronounced on the sound file (I think)
greco: this is an adjective with the article pronounced on the sound file (I think)
ideale: this is an adjective with the article pronounced on the sound file (I think)
indicare: I think there is a typo, and that the verb means “advise” and not "advice"
industria: I recall this marked as a masculine noun, but I think it is a feminine noun.

I also making a list of definitions that I get easily confused, in case that will help you with number 1 on your to do list.



I’ve fixed all the words. Thx. Keep up the good work! I’m really glad someone helps me.

1 Like

Glad to be of service. Here’s some more proofing for you:

indagine: no article in the text of the word

There were a few words with no article on the sound file in today’s batch:


1 Like

Hi George,
Thx again. Fixed indagine.

Not yet sure what do with the words with missing article in the audio file. It’s very important that only nouns’ sound files have articles to avoid confusion. And it’s important that in cases like avvenire the noun has its "l’ " for easy recognition. Let’s focus on these two issues first.

Of course it would be nice if every other noun was also pronounced including the article. But there is no real confusion here as the the course always asks for the noun. So this is a low priority task. There must be hundreds of nouns with such (inferior) sound. Here’s the problem: I don’t find nice sound files including the article. So I thought about using TTS generated sounds. That’s OK for a few words where a better sound file is badly needed. The pronunciation is annoying though. I would rather avoid having hundreds of TTS generated sound files. I’ll think about it. However, it’s nice to have a list of nouns without article, but I won’t fix these nouns until I’ve a better solution for this issue.

1 Like

Of course. I wouldn’t expect there to be an easy solution and I’m adapted to the difference between what I’m hearing and typing (I am a musician and I try to work at maximum speed so at first I was flubbing), but I figured you would like to know. Thanks again.

1 Like

Hi Robert. A little more proofing for you:

la morte: the attribute says it is a masculine noun
il movimento: typo in the definition on "exercise"
locale vs. il locale: there may be an ambiguity in the sound files

And a minor idea:

Maybe it would be a good idea to specify gender and number on the clues for the definite article. I think on “le” for example, the clue is something like [not the pronoun l…], but there are many pronouns/article pairs that share the initial letter “l”.


Hi George,

  1. all three fixed.
  2. Good idea. Never thought about this particular case. I need a more systematic approach on this issue. I still think that it makes no sense to reveal too much of the word in the answer hint. It just makes no sense to add [not l’avvenire] when you ask for “avvenire”. I guess importing the database to Excel, finding duplicates and adding all answer hints for similar words at once may be the most promising approach. Thus I would better identify cases like “le”.
1 Like

Hi Robert,

A couple more observations:

  1. “niente” and “nulla” need to be have their definitions disambiguated. They both have “nothing, anything.”

I agree that it is right to avoid giving too much information in the hints. One point in favor of just giving the gender and number on the articles, though, is that that pretty much is the definition of the word in question.

On “avvenire”, for example it would be good to find a way to differentiate it from “capitare” without using that particular hint (not l’avvenire). Right now the definitions are otherwise identical (ignoring word order). I don’t know what you use for your dictionary, but having just consulted mine is looks like “avvenire” just means “happen, occur” and “capitare” means “happen” but can also take the sense of “arrive, turn up.”. So maybe they could be differentiated in that way.

  1. Fixed nulla. Thx

  2. Now I get what you mean. At times I’m a slow thinker. You want me to define e.g. “la” like “the (definite article fem. sing.)”. Like this idea.

  3. Most single-word definitions are from the memrise database. I’m not happy with that. Sometimes one English word doesn’t explain the subtle meaning of the Italian word. Thus task#3 (Wiktionary by the way - reliable, fast, simple, for free). I guess this will mitigate such problems a lot. In this particular case, there’s accadere, succedere, avvenire, capitare and occorrere, that you need to keep in mind. Need to think about this particular case. It’s certainly an issue and I’ll tackle it, but I must find an elegant way.

1 Like

I understand what you mean on (3). The trick to a good definition for the learner is to find a way to differentiate those subtleties of sense with the minimum number of words. It’s not always easy or obvious how to do so. For the most part I find your definitions very helpful, so I think you’re doing a good job.

1 Like

More proofing:

The attribute box on “il pensiero” says “noun f”. It is possible that the noun “la morte” still has the same issue, that is, the attribute box (the little box underneath the definition that gives part of speech) still says “noun m,” but I’m not sure because I haven’t reviewed it in a few days.

1 Like

My fault. Fixed morte (again) and pensiero. I’ll check the articles in Excel. Your work is wicked awesome.