Ah counting… something that seems so simple can be quite tricky in a new language!
In today’s lesson, you’ll learn how to count to 20 in Italian and avoid common mistakes beginners often make. By the end, you’ll be able to use numbers for very important things, like buying beer and paying for stuff.
To help you remember what you learnt in today’s lesson, below you’ll find bonus materials like word lists, quizzes and flashcards. But first…
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Remember what you learnt with the bonus materials for today’s episode.
Today’s Italian words
1 = uno
2 = due
3 = tre
4 = quattro
5 = cinque
6 = sei
7 = sette
8 = otto
9 = nove
10 = dieci
11 = undici
12 = dodici
13 = tredici
14 = quattordici
15 = quindici
16 = sedici
17 = diciassette
18 = diciotto
19 = diciannove
20 = venti
Take the Quiz!
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Click here to take the quiz for this episode: How to count from 1 to 20 in Italian
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Please note: This is not a word-for-word transcript.
Katie: How do you count from 1 to 20 in Italian? And how can you use these numbers to do useful things like buy beer and pay for stuff? Find out how in 5 minute Italian, episode 14.
In today’s lesson, we’re gonna learn how to count to 20 in Italian.
Let’s dive straight in. Matteo’s going to count to 10 – if you can, count along with him because saying the numbers out loud will help you remember them better and get the right pronunciation.
Matteo: Uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, sette, otto, nove, dieci.
K: So that was one to ten. Are there any common mistakes which beginners tend to make when learning these numbers?
M: Yes, often people don’t pronounce the vowel sounds properly, like in the words sei (which means 6) and dieci, which means 10.
K: In Italian, when you have two vowel sounds, like in sei you have to pronounce each sound fully. The word for six (sei) is spelt: s – e – i. Some people don’t put enough emphasis on the last vowel sound, so we get something like “se”. But it’s important to pronounce both vowel sounds fully so you get: S-E-I
M: And the same for dieci.
K: Yes – sometimes people say “dici” but it’s important to pronounce the i-e sound, so you get di-e-ci
K: Now let’s count from 11 to 17. Why not straight to 20? Because at 17, something very weird happens. Count along with Matteo, and see if you can hear what it is.
M: So 11 is undici, then we have docidi, tredici, quattordici, quindici, sedici… diciassette. That’s the problem
K: So as you can hear, up until 16 (sedici). It’s quite similar to English. We’ve got this “dici” at the end of each number – which is like the “teen” part. So thirteen is tredici, fourteen is quattordici and so on. But then we reach 17 and it flips around and the teen part comes first, and it changes a little.
M: So seventeen is diciassette.
K: Then what happens?
M: eighteen is diciotto, then we have diciannove and finally, venti.
K: And you can find these numbers with their spelling in the show notes. Let’s take the whole thing from the top and remember if you’re listening at home you can count out loud after Matteo – or if you’re in a public place at your own risk…
M: uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, sette, otto, nove, dieci, undici, dodici, tredici, quattordici, quindici, sedici, diciassette, diciotto, diciannove, venti.
K: Now you can count to 20, what can you do with these numbers?
M: Buy beers.
K: Yea, the most important thing when you go abroad is to buy beers. So to say beers we say birre. How would you say 2 beers?
M: Due birre.
K: And how would you say 6 beers?
M: Sei birre
K: Let’s imagine it’s a very big night, how would you say 16 beers?
M: sedici birre
K: And 17 beers?
M: diciassette birre
K: Or maybe you’re just out with 17 people. What else can you do?
M: Pay for stuff.
K: So how would you say 18 euros?
M: diciotto euro.
K: And in last week’s episode, we learned that “it costs” is “costa” So how do you say “it costs 18 euros?”
M: costa 18 euro.
K: And what about it costs eleven euros.
M: costa 11 euro.
K: That’s all we have time for today, thanks for listening. And if you’d like to get more mini Italian lessons delivered to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe by following on the link in the below. Grazie, and ciao for now, see you next time, or as we say in Italian, alla prossima!
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