We're coving the 10 most important things to know to get by in Italian. Last week, we looked at Italian greetings, at the common courtesies, and asking questions. This week, we started with things you will need, and now we're going to talk about numbers.
Strictly regarding the number of words to learn here, there are more than there have been for the first four parts of this series. However, these are all just bare words, not phrases, so it's not that much more. And numbers are usually pretty easy to learn.
First, the numbers from 0-16 are:
All the rest of the numbers from 20 to 99 are formed by adding the numbers 1-9 to the stem for each mulitple of 10:
Therefore, fourty-eight is quarantotto, and thirty-three is trentatré. (Note that in these compound words, the stress must fall properly on the word for the ones digit, which is why there is an accent mark on the final e in trentatré.)
Numbers higher than 99 aren't as important, but they're easy to form.
- un milione
- a million
Italian also has a few interesting words of approximation:
- about ten
- tens (similar to dozens)
- about a hundred
- about a thousand
This also makes it possible to say something like una decina di migliaia (about ten thousand) and centinaia di migliaia (hundreds of thousands).
And then there are always some quantities that can't be expressed numerically...
- all / everything
- no one
(Note: I did not include qualunque here, which also means any but not in a quantitative sense.)
Finally, let's have a look at some words that relate to how numbers are used.
- pound sterling
Putting it together
If you're following the 10 things list and just learning enough to get by in Italian, you probably don't need to master everything on this page. The odds are you're going to be hearning and wanting to understand numbers, but you probably won't be saying them very often. If you can confidently learn the numbers 0-9 you can give out or take down a phone number. Everything else is easy.
So at this point, you should know how to ask how far something is, or how much something costs, and now you should be able to understand the answer. You should also know how to understand time, because in Italian, you just add the definite article to the number of the hour: è l'una (it's one o'clock), or sono le sette e quaranta (it's 7:40).
Next, we'll learn directions.
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