Seven songs that will help you learn Italian

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Seven songs that will help you learn Italian
Lorenzo Baglioni and his 2018 hit about the subjunctive. Photo: screengrab/YouTube

If the subjunctive just won't stick and you're fed up of the future simple, we've got the playlist for you. Here are seven songs that show sometimes the best way to learn Italian is to sing it.


The alphabet: A come Amore – Wilma De Angelis

OK, so admittedly this only goes up to E – but it'll teach you some crucial vocabulary (amore, bacio, cuore), as well as helping to nail down pronunciation of the Italian C ("chi", not "cee") that can prove so confusing to English speakers.

Infinitives: Nel blu dipinto di blu – Domenico Modugno

We'll bet you already know at least one of the many verbs in the infinitive featured in this 1958 classic: volare, the name it's better known by. The famous song has some catchy examples of them for beginners to memorize (as well as some juicy uses of the imperfect tense for those a bit further ahead). 
Prepositions: Sapore di Sale – Gino Paoli
Prepositions, those pesky little words like di and del and dei that have to agree with the word that follows them, are in abundance in this 1960s summer hit. Listen carefully and you'll hear just about every variation – hopefully, the right one will be "sulle labbra" (on your lips) in no time. 

The present continuous: In bicicletta – Riccardo Cocciante

This early '80s jam about falling in love during a Sunday morning bike ride for two demonstrates all sorts of verbs in the present continuous (the ~ando, ~endo forms). Also, the video is rad.

The perfect versus the imperfect: Un Raggio di Sole – Jovanotti

Get an introduction to one of Italy's most famous living singers and a tutorial in describing the past all in one go. Spot the difference between the perfect ("ha fatto") and the imperfect ("faceva") as Jovanotti sings the story of a relationship that is far from – ahem – perfect. 

The future tense: Un Anno d'Amore – Mina

Ready for the future? Mina the diva will help you learn it (at least the second-person singular) as she warns her lover that he'll miss her when she's gone. Give the chorus a few listens and we promise you "ricorderai" (will remember) and "capirai" (will understand) just fine. 

The subjunctive: Il Congiuntivo

This one goes out to anyone who's ever struggled with the subtleties of the subjunctive. The hit of this year's Sanremo Festival, this tongue-in-cheek tutorial is a reminder that's it's not only foreign students who can't get the congiuntivo quite right. Lorenzo Baglioni's conjugation of the present, perfect, imperfect and past perfect subjunctive are a grammar teacher's delight.

READ ALSO: Italy puts 200,000 classic Italian songs online for free


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