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Italian Language | Can Spanish and Portuguese speakers understand?

Are Romance languages mutually intelligible? In this video we’re going to conduct an experiment to see if Spanish and Portuguese speakers can understand the Italian language. To do that, I invited Linda Riolo to the show. She’s an Italian teacher and the author of a podcast for Italian learners. We’ll be joined by Gustavo – an English teacher from Brazil, and Isidro – a Spanish teacher from Mexico. My name is Norbert and I bring speakers of different languages together on this channel to run language experiments and build international friendships. If you want to become a part of our community here, subscribe and hit the bell not to miss upcoming videos. Now let’s see! Can Spanish and Portugues speakers understand the Italian language? Linda: Let’s stop, let’s stop with English. Just Italian, and Spanish, and Portuguese. Let’s go? Ready? Let’s go! Then. Let’s explain the rules a bit. I have four words, I’ve selected four words. We talk about one word at a time and I’ll give you hints to guess the words. Ready? Shall we go? Gustavo: Ready, alright. Isidro: Ready. Linda: Let’s go. Perfect. Ok, word one. It is an object that we use on our body. They are two: one right and one left. G: An object we use on our body, they’re two… two… L: One is on the right, one on the left. G: Is this object for cleaning? L: No, it is not an object that we use to wash ourselves. It is something we have on our body, on it. I: Do we put it on our feet? L: We can wear it on the low part of our body, yes, on our feet. G: Related to the lower part of the body. An object? Shoes? I: Shoes. Yes. L: Yes. L: Yes, they can be open or closed In Italian we say: “scarpe”. The shoes. Right shoe, left shoe. Right shoe, left shoe. G: ‘Scarpi destro’ and ‘scarpi’ what? L: Right shoe, left shoe. G: Oh, okay! Right shoe and left shoe. I: In Spanish as well: right shoe, left shoe. G: ‘Derecho’, uhum… cool, interesting, interesting! I: Yes, but a person who uses their right hand to write is right-handed and the person who uses their left hand are left-handed. G: ‘Surda’? Wow! I: Right-handed, left-handed. G: ‘Surda’ in Portuguese is when someone can’t hear. L: The same in Italian. I: In Spanish it is deaf. L: Exactly, in Italian is deaf. A deaf person is a person who can’t hear. G: Uhum, in Portuguese a person who uses the write arm is ‘destro’ and the left arm is ‘canhoto.’ L: In Italian I don’t know, the left arm… Left handed! We say right handed and left handed. I think right handed and left handed. A left handed person uses the left arm. G: Interesting. ‘Sordo’ was pretty interesting. I: Im left-handed, by the way. I use my left hand to write. G: I’m right-handed, I’m right-handed. L: I also use the right hand G: How cool. L: Well. Second word. It’s a food, a food that in some countries we eat, one eats for breakfast. But in Italy, for example… Yes, in Italy one can eat it for breakfast. G: ‘Colazione’ I don’t understand it, ‘colazione’ I don’t understand it. L: Breakfast is the moment of the morning when we eat. It’s the first thing that we eat. I: Like to have breakfast in Spanish? G: ‘Desayunar’, breakfast? L: I don’t know, it can be… Yes, I think so. Caffè, cappuccino, etc. So, this food is eaten for breakfast and in Italy we also use it for cooking, for example in risotto. G: Okay, used on risotto. L: Inside risotto we use it, at the end. I: Is it egg? L: Exceuse me. I: Is it an egg or something like that? L: Egg? No, but is a food that comes from milk. G: Oh, from milk? Okay, comes from milk. G: Hum, cheese? I: Is it cheese? L: No. It can be.. In Italy… . This is interesting because in Italy it isn’t salty but in other countries it has salt inside. It isn’t cheese. G: It’s a food that comes from cheese. I: Is it cream? Is it a type of cream? L: It’s a sort of… yes, you can spread it on. G: Butter? I: Oh, butter. Butter, in Spanish. L: In Italy, this is interesting, in Italy we say “burro.” I: — like the animal, in Spanish. L: Yes, in Italian is “burro”. The butter on the bread. G: As an animal or as a person as well, right? L: I think so. Also in Spanish “burro” is the animal? In Spanish? I: Exactly, yes, donkey is the animal but it is also the student who does not have good grades and usually they put the ears on him. L: In Italian this is “asino.” The animal in Italian is “asino” (donkey). In Portuguese you may say ‘asno.’ I: In Spanish there also exists the word ‘asno.’ Burro is more common, but also asno. G: It’s more colloquial, ‘donkey’ is more colloquial. L: But “burro” in Italian is just butter. In Italian is only butter to eat. I: Only the butter. L: …to eat. G: In Spanish, how do you say that? I: Butter. L: “Mantequilla”… is it small? G: Oh, ‘mantequilla’ is diminutive? I: Manteca is the fat of the animals. The fat from a pig, for example. Fat. G: Hum, got it. It’s as in ‘fat’ and ‘butter’. L: I see! In Italian, we add butter in risotto and this is called “mantecare.” We add butter to cream the rice. It’s similar, it has the same root. G: Interesting! L: Really good. Well. Number three. This is a profession – more or less. It’s a job, a sort of job, a profession of a person really rich. Who has a lot of money. This person, usually, has political power in a country. I: It’a a… G: A person… I: It’s a king. G: President? L: Almost, almost. It’s not the president, it’s not the king, but is really close to the king. G: Is it a prince? I: Emperor. L: No. G: Is it a duke? L: No, let’s say that is the “feminine” side of a king G: Oh, queen! L: Yes. I: Queen? L: A queen. I: Queen in Spanish.. How do you say that in Portuguese? I: Very different. L: In Italian it is “regina”. Regina G: It’s interesting because ‘Regina’ is a name in Portuguese, ‘Regina’. L: Yes, also in Italy. I: Also in Mexico, Regina. G: How cool! L: Eh because Queen is Regina. I: Exactly. G: And the masculine, how’s it Linda, the masculine? Is it ‘rei’ and ‘regina’? L: Yes, King and Queen. I: Yes, King and Queen in Spanish. G: In Portuguese King and Queen. L: Well, the fourth word. It’s an object we use to carry things. It’s an object we use when we go out. When we go to the supermarket, ect. We use this object. We bring this object. I: Is it a bag? It’s not a bag. G: Oh, I thought the same thing. L: No. It’s not a bag. Usually can be inside a bag, for women it is possible (to have it) inside the bag G: Do you put money inside this object? L: Yes. L: Easy! G: Hum, it’s really similar, incredible. Is it a wallet? L: Yes. Wallet, in Spanish. L: So, in Italian is called “portafoglio.” I: But briefcase in Spanish is a case; for example, executives in a company would carry their documents in a portfolio. L: Ah, this in Italian is a “portadocumenti” (briefcase). L: To carry. Because in Italian “foglio”, is a sheet of paper. I: A sheet. G: A sheet. L: And this is paper. The material is paper. I: Paper? G: Paper? I: Paper is letter? And letter, in Spanish, is when you write “Dear… I don’t know… L: That is a letter. In Italian that it’s letter. A paper letter in the envelope. G: In Portuguese, ‘portifolio’ we say ‘portifolio.’ It’s the same thing in Spanish, it’s a presentation of some project from executives. It’s the same idea. L: No, in Italian is the one usually with money, credit cards For man or woman. I: Donna is woman, right? L: Yes, it is “donna,” “Donna” and “Uomo.” G: It’s really cool. In Brazil ‘dona’ is when it’s a ‘madam’. A ‘dona’, it’s a respectful way of speaking… ‘Madam Regina’ L: Ah, ok, donna Regina L: It’s Madam Regina. L: Ah oh, woman Regina. I: It’s like ‘doña, isn’t it? L: “Donha”, I don’t know. I: Doña. In Spanish for a man is ‘don’. Don Juan, Don Quixote, but for women is ‘doña.’ And donas are ‘doughnuts’, from the English, for sure. We call them ‘donas’ Doughnut? Le ciambelle? Ok! G: How different! Interesting, ‘Don Juan’ and ‘Dueña Juana.’ I: Exactly. L: Great, amazing. G: I found it interesting and way easier than I expected. I had some incredible ease, like, I’m surprised. L: Have you heard Italian before? Have you ever listened to Italian? G: Oh yeah, I’ve heard it, I’ve been to Italy one but I’ve stayed for ten days. And I had no friend, I was traveling solo. But the similarity is really cool. L: And there are many words in common, like “porta”… Between the three languages, it’s beautiful, it’s incredible. G: Incredible.. Yes, I think Spanish may be harder to understand. Interesting, I find some things about Spanish harder to understand. And I found other things in Italian harder. I think verbs in Italian are usually very different. L: Yes. Yes, right. In Italian all persons are conjugated: I eat, you eat, he/she/it eats, we eat, you eat, they eat – It changes all the time. I: In Spanish it also changes. L: It changes. I: Yes. L: In Portuguese I think it changes less L: A guest. I: We have… Is that your mother? G: A woman, “donna” Marta. I: Hi, donna Martha. G: It’s my mum, that’s it. I: You’re mum. G: She’s looking for something. How would you say that in Italian? I: Searching? L: “Cercare”, she is looking for something. G: She’s looking for some documents. L: In the briefcase, I: In the briefcase. L: In the wallet! G: Very interesting. And what do you think? Were you able to understand these languages? A lot? A little bit? Let us know in the comments. If you like this kind of content subscribe to my channel and activate the notifications. I’m still learning Spanish and couldn’t participate this time, but a while ago I made a video with a friend from Brazil. Check it out if you want to see me speak Spanish. You can do it here. See you in the next video! Ciao!

100 Replies to “Italian Language | Can Spanish and Portuguese speakers understand?”

  • I'm italian. It's really easy with spanish, even without subtitles. Portuguese is harder and without subtitles I wouldn't probably even get the topic of the speech

  • Bacana o seu canal! Se alguém quiser conversar em português, me procure. Falo outros idiomas também. Saudações do Brasil!

  • Além do Português, Italiano e espanhol, há dialetos Latinos e idiomas como Francês e Romeno, todos idiomas romântico são belos, o italiano é belíssimo!

  • "Cartera" in Spanish (at least in Argentina) has the meaning of "borsetta" in Italian. The Italian word "portafoglio" it's "billetera" in Spanish (at least in Argentina).

  • Latin languages, due to their similarity, are not hard to learn. I had no trouble learning english, also. But can't say the same on german lol And say it having a natural skill to learn languages and german blood in my veins via my father's grandmother. Her mother was born on Germany. Very cool video! Congs for the initiative! I'm from Brazil.

  • A lingua Italiana foi fácil de entender nesse vídeo!
    Parece que o Italiano é uma mesclagem do Espanhol e Português.

    Por exemplo: 70% parecido com o Espanhol e 10% Italiano e 20% Português. Rsrsrs

    Excelente vídeo!!! Nossa creio eu que se eu começasse a aprenter Italiano seria que nem Espanhol fácil de aprender!

  • Las lenguas romances son faciles de poder leer, dependera el grado de éducación, sin olvidar que en America Latina existe hoy dia descendientes catalanes,gallegos y han aportado palabras al español latinoamericano.
    Y se entiende mucho a un 80%

  • Ou Linda Riolo tem um sotáque muito bom, ou o Italiano parece um Português misturado com Espanhol.
    Espero ver mais vídeos como esse. 🙂
    Deu para entender 80% do Italiano.

  • Que genial… Entendi los dos idiomas no al cien, pero siempre tuve una idea general e incluso aprendi algunas palabras… Me encantó

  • Amo as treis linguas, perché sono lì representazione dilla nostra cultura e lazos, que no sólo son un idioma parecido, es un saber comer… Tomar café y la visión de la vida…. Unídos mucho mejor!!! Siempre países Latinos

  • Hey you’re channel rocks bro!!! I am trilingual I speak Portuguese , Spanish and English . I am metaphorically diving deeply into learning French. I watched this video out of pure curiosity.Great content 👍🏽

  • I live in Roraima – Brazil and several venezuelans have migrated to my city because of the crisis in Venezuela, they speak spanish and we can make a conversation if we talk clearly and a little slow to each other, this is very interesting how our languages are similar.

  • I understood all three languages. I speak Spanish, I can understand Italian and Portugués but I can’t speak it. I can read portugués newspapers but it’s difficult to read in Italian. But yes I can understand both languages when spoken…

  • Valde bene erat, per quia omnes sunt de lingua latina evolvant, sed viae differentae cum vocabularem. Opus bonum.

  • I love this video I was able to understand 100% Spanish and probably 80% Italian and 70% Portuguese. It blew my mind how similar these three languages are. I'm bilingual English and Spanish and I do understand at least 40% German. The human brain is amazing.

  • Hispanic Puertorican and understood literally everything. I was guessing the words and interestingly my answers were the same as the guys… So I guess latinos have more in common than latin people 😄

  • I am a Portuguese speaker and I could understand like 98% of the things that the Italian speaker and the Spanish speaker were saying without ever studying even a bit of those languages and im actually surprised! Also this video made me feel like belonging to a big warm family? Loved this video!

  • Si, yo entendí la conversación en italiano, español, y portugués. Para mí el portugués es más fácil de entender que el italiano, pero aún así entendí la conversación de las tres personas.

  • Spanish and Portuguese are 7% closer than Spanish and Italian by vocabulary alone (89% vs 82%), but Spanish and Italian are more similar in pronunciation than any other combination of the three.

  • Some of these words are different in Argentinian 🇦🇷 Spanish:
    “butter”=“burro”=“manteca” (made from milk, not animal fat)
    “wallet”=“portafoglio”=“billetera” (where you keep your “billetes” -bank notes)

  • In Spanish calzado is also used to refer to shoes, that's the problem with using Latin American Spanish as standard Spanish. Next time try having a Spaniard, preferably from castille region.

  • I had no problems understanding all of them, specially the Italian girl since she has an easy accent. Unlike italians from other regions (Tuscany) which sound like they're speaking German. The Brazilian portuguese is also easy to understand unlike Portuguese from Portugal. The mexican youngman had a very neutral spanish which alleviate the situation, since it is a fact that latin-americans don't speak proper spanish. The same problem occurs between Americans and British english.

  • I am Italian I understand Spanish when they talk very slow I don't speak Spanish of course I don't really understand everything but I do understand what they are talking about

  • Come Italiano , ho capito di piu in Spagnolo.
    Comunque credo che leggendo il Spagnolo o il Portoghese si capirebbe ad occhi chiusi di cosa si tratta.

    Como italiano, entiendo más en español.
    Sin embargo, creo que leer español o portugués entenderías con los ojos cerrados de qué se trata.

    Como italiano, eu entendo mais em espanhol.
    No entanto, acredito que lendo espanhol ou português você entenderia com os olhos fechados o que é.

  • It’s so crazy to see that they can understand each other, same at my job, over half my co-workers speak Spanish and one speaks Portuguese (I’ll be the first to speak Italian, I’m learning it now)

  • 0:58 – O melhor é ver a italiana dizendo "Vamo lá", no início do vídeo. É exatamente a mesma coisa que em português.

  • El antónimo de diestro es siniestro, por ejemplo "estaban disparando a diestra y siniestra", zurdo es como se conocen popularmente a los que usan su mano siniestra.

  • Casi no estoy familiarizado con el portugués pero siempre me ha parecido muy similar , realmente fue agradable estar estar a la par de los 3 entendiendo el significado de cada palabra y diciendo a cada uno lo que significa la palabra, con sus acotaciones por sonido.

  • I'm native English speaker, but I'm nearly fluent in Spanish. I was amazed at how much I could understand even without reading the subtitles.

  • To an extent yes, depending on distance. I'm a native Portuguese speaker from Brazil, so considering the 'Romance Languages I'm most familiar with, IMO Latin American Spanish and Galician are the easiest ones to understand, I get practically everything, then Castilian (Spaniard) Spanish, then comes Italian, then French, then Romanian, which I can understand only some commons words rooted in Latin.

  • Enjoyed watching this video because I understand a bit of Spanish and Italian and it was fascinating how these guys could understand each other. Indeed, it's a big happy family as hundreds of millions of people around the world can communicate with each other just by using their own language. The hardest for me of course was Portuguese on account of the pronunciation but it was helpful to read what they were saying.

  • I'm fluent in French and Spanish and currently learning Portuguese. I just realized I basically understand Italian too. similar to Italian, French uses "portefeuille" for wallet

  • Italian is my second language, Spanish I knew just a tiny bit, but Portuguese is the weirdo in the group… R's like H's (reinha for example)… DAMN!

  • Wow! Wow! Wow! I am brazilian, and a few minutes ago I was watching to the video in which the brazilian guy was "the host", and I wrote in the coment section that Italian was a bit hard to understand. Yeah, it is still harder than Spanish to me, but this video bought me a new perspective on it because I could understand a lot of what the she said, even without reading. I am simply amazed abouth that. <3

  • I'm brazilian but i'm fluent in spanish too. I'm learning french at the moment but it's incridible how much i can understand some words in italian, i want learn in the future.

  • As a French I can approximately understand with the text. The sound is a little bit different but Latin languages are undoubtedly a great family!

  • Eu entendo muito mais o espanhol que o italiano ( apesar do sotaque italiano ser muito agradável aos meus ouvidos. Lindo demais ouvir italianos falando). Sinto que de todos os idiomas latinos os mais distantes do português são o francês e o romeno. Este último, principalmente, é indecifrável! Rsrsrs

  • I consider that Italian is easier than Portuguese and Spanish. As I am a spanish speaker it seems that Spanish grammar is the most difficult of all. As well I am studyimng Portuguese, I find it easy due to my Italian studies.

  • Entendí casi todo y ya que el habla de todos los interlocutores fue escrita, eso me ayudó mucho.
    Las lenguas románicas no son maternas para mi. Soy de Rusia. ¡El video me gustó mucho!
    ¡Muchas gracias!

  • Yo tengo una amiga de brasil y ella puede entender mi español y yo su portugues aunque mayormente hablamos en ingles para practicar el ingles

  • Sou brasileira e pelo fato de eu falar um pouco de frances e observei o contexto (algumas palavras) do italiano muito parecida com frances ex: a palavra em italiano mangiare
    E em frances é manger, então isso me deu um pouco de vantagem no italiano ja que geralmente entendemos bastante palavras em espanhol
    E cada Dia que passa eu amo mais as linguas derivadas do latim, viva a diversidade linguística❤️

  • Me pareció un excelente ejercicio de intercambio no solo de palabras sino de tópicos e ideas. Soy mexicano y hablo inglés fluido , pero estoy tratando de aprender italiano y portugués. Obrigado meo amigo.

  • As a spanish speaker I understood about 90% of portuguese and 80% of Italian. My goal is to learn all the romance languages(except Romanian). I've already studied French and know the language quite well and I'm currently studying Brazilian Portuguese.

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