A complete guide to Advanced Italian Vocabulary for foreign students

Even the most advanced students of the Italian language need some vocabulary enrichment. In this post, you will discover why vocabulary should be like a treasure to collect,  what Italian vocabulary categories you should consider to start enriching your vocabulary and some free resources to start enriching your Italian vocabulary now! 

Ciao! I am happy to see you here!
My name is Irene Cangi.

I help Italian learners to enrich their vocabuary and move from a good Italian to a WOW Italian.

You can try all my courses for one week and start improving your Italian. And yes, my courses include a lot of Advanced Italian Vocabulary. 

Is Advanced Italian Vocabulary really necessary?

The answer is... no! If you already have a good understanding of Italian, it means that you already know all of the basics to communicate. This includes expressing your thoughts and holding a basic conversation. But...

Vocabulary makes you richer!

There is however, another perspective to consider when debating learning more Italian vocabulary.
I like to think of vocabulary as the currency of a language. The more you store in your pockets, the more freedom that you have when using the language.

Happiness is not always about having the most of any certain thing or being perfect, especially regarding a language. But the more advanced vocabulary you know, you will receive more independence, leading you to more experiences and better relationships

Think of vocabulary as a treasure and start collecting it everywhere you find i

Advanced vocabulary boosts your comprehension

Both of these situations happen in every language! 

1 - You are speaking to a native, and they can see that you are understanding the language. Then BAM, they start speaking as if you understand every single word, leading you to become lost and feel frustrated.

2 - For practice, you are watching your favorite Italian movie or television series. While watching you have a good understanding of the plot, but you do not quite know if he really cheated on her or not because of the idiom they used!

Comprehension is the first thing that is positively affected when you start mastering your advanced Italian vocabulary, even if you are not yet using these idioms and pronominal verbs in your conversations.

Say everything you want to say in Italian

I am guessing that you have already experienced that feeling, "wow, I almost sound like I a native’’ and then within seconds, you are stuck, unable to find the right words.
The richer your vocabulary is, the more you can express yourself exactly how you want to and the less often situations like this will happen. More vocabulary, more freedom!

More vocabulary for your professional life 

Even professionals need to constantly learn new words and phrases!
I have a background in the translation of two languages and I know that it is vital to constantly enrich my vocabulary in those languages. Even if you are not a language specialist but you use your Italian to communicate with your clients and partners, enriching your vocabulary can become a strategic necessity.

Enriching your Italian vocabulary is good for your brain

Why not! The acquisition of new vocabulary is a memory process that will keep you young!
And if you are a language lover, you probably understand this already. All of those who speak another language crave to learn new words or expressions and use them. Also, there is no better feeling than being told “Your Italian is excellent, you speak it very well”! It can build a bit of earned and honest pride!
Advanced Italian vocabulary categories

Advanced Italian Vocabulary categories you need to start using

Now that you know that even the most advanced students of the Italian language need some vocabulary enrichment, I have a question for you....

What does Advanced Vocabulary mean for you? 

When dealing with advanced Italian vocabulary I always wonder what is the definition that my students give of it. Is advanced vocabulary a specific terminology? Or maybe it corresponds to some sophisticated and stately (maybe old-fashioned) words?

I'll tell you what it means to me. To me, advanced vocabulary is that which gives you more communicative strategies in terms of quantity, but also that which allows you to come as close as possible to the language spoken by native Italian speakers.

There are some categories of advanced vocabulary that are part of those communicative strategies that a student with an average level of Italian does not usually practice. Identifying and beginning to study these vocabulary categories is what really helps to move from good Italian to excellent Italian.

Below, I will list seven Italian vocabulary categories that advanced students should know!
Do not worry too much about the breakdown of these categories as many of these Italian expressions fall into one or more of the categories and, generally speaking, they are all idioms.

- Idioms 

This is the largest category of this list and that is because Italians love using them! I find that the easiest way to start learning this vocabulary is to further break it down into sub-categories such as parts of the body, animals, food, and clothing.

- Pronominal verbs 

Ugh, I know…  these verbs. Trust me, these are challenging for all students of this language but I have a tip to help you learn these verbs faster. I recommend breaking them down according to the pronoun used (ci, la, ne, and others). 

Read my complete guide to Italian pronominal verbs in Italian. 

- Verbi sintagmatici or Italian phrasal verbs 

Yes, Italian has phrasal verbs. They are formed by combining verbs and adverbs (such as Giù, Su, Avanti, Via, etc.) Although this topic is briefly covered for learners, it is used everyday by native speakers of Italian. Good news is that phrasal verbs are easier to master compared to pronominal verbs.
List of Italian pronominal verbs
List of Italian phrasal verbs

- Locuzioni verbali 

These are expressions containing nouns and verbs that, when put together, mean something very different from their respective definitions. This can lead to phrasal verbs being a confusing topic.
I believe that the best way to understand this topic is to look at an example. Andare nel pallone, as you know means ‘to go and enter the ball’; however, when Italians use this phrase it is meant as ‘to be confused’ or ‘to be stuck on something’. Some common verbs used in locuzioni verbali: dare, fare, and andare.
You are probably wondering what is the difference between this category (locuzioni verbali) and the previous category (verbi sintagmatici). Verbi sintagmatici are formed by a verb plus an adverb, while locuzioni verbali are all the other forms of phrasal verbs. 

- Locuzioni avverbiali or adverbial expressions

Same story, but now with adverbs. The Italian language is rich with adverbial phrases. Although these phrases may contain zero adverbs, when put together they act as an adverb. Think of “alla svelta” - ”quickly” or “per niente” - “at all”.
List of Italian advanced verbs
List of Italian advanced adverbs

- Proverbs and clichés (frasi fatte)

If you want to boost your vocabulary and sound like a native speaker, you should have some fun through the use of proverbs and cliches.

- Italian bad words 

If your goal is to fully understand what a native Italian speaker is saying, you should probably add some bad words to your vocabulary. They are idioms after all!

Free resources to start enhancing your Italian vocabulary

- Free Advanced Italian Vocabulary Grid and Guide

Everyone learns vocabulary in a different way! When trying to learn all of the countless idioms that are in the Italian language, my students have seen the quickest success when using this Vocabulary Grid.
Archiving all of the idioms that you encounter into distinct categories makes for easy recollection and studying of the vocabulary.

The free Vocabulary Grid is a customizable Google sheet already organized with the advanced vocabulary categories we analyzed in the previous section. It will help you never miss any new Italian word and collect vocabulary like a treasure trove. Come to think of it, it's not just a google sheet, it's a vocabulary bank! 

Screenshot di un foglio Google
Free PDF about Italian advanced vocabulary for foreigners
Along with the vocabulary grid, you will get the Guide to your Wow Italian that will show you how to use the binder and explain the lexicon categories

How can you get it? Subscribe my Newsletter and you will automatically receive both files! This is a very good reasons to join Best Italian Classes’ community right now! 

- Italian idioms: a free course 

Yes, one complete free course is available to you at Best Italian Classes. It includes video lessons, quizzes and downloadable PDFs in order to master more than 70 Italian idioms with clothing vocabulary.
And if that is not enough, the course includes access to the community where you can ask questions, make example sentences and receive feedback. Yes, you read that correctly… it’s all for free!
Free advanced Italian vocabulary course

- Best Italian Classes subscription free trial 

You can start all the courses available at Best Italian Classes for free, for one week, without using the credit card! 
Seven days with absolute peace of mind and without automatic payments to start enhancing your Italian vocabulary now! 
For the list of courses available see the paragraph below. 

Paid courses designed to enrich your Italian vocabulary

This is the list of courses you can find on Best Italian Classes that are focused on advanced Italian vocabulary. They are all included in the subscription and are all included in the free week trial. What are you waiting for? 
Click on the icons to see the details of each course or try them all!
Paid advanced vocabulary Italian course
Advanced italian vocabulary course
Copertina del corso con scritta parla italiano a testa alta e foto dell'insegnante
Lingua linguaccia linguina o linguetta e foto dell'insegnante
Copertina del corso con scritta italiano avanzato proverbi e animali e foto dell'insegnante su sfondo verde
Insegnante sorridente e logo di Instagram
Are you ready? I look forward to seeing you enhancing your Italian vocabulary!
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