In this post we learn to count from 1 to 20 in Italian – with authentic audio.
Which syllable do we stress in Italian words?
Please note that in Italian, we usually stress the second-last syllable of a word: uno (uno), due (due), quattro (quattro). (Of course, tre is a one-syllable word.)
* When we stress the third-last syllable, that vowel sound has been underlined to show you that the word stress is different: undici, dodici, tredici, quattordici, quindici, sedici. (This underlining to show word stress is a help for learners, but it is not part of normal Italian spelling.)
Here you can listen to all 20 numbers in Italian. You can repeat the numbers after the audio.
Here you can compare English and Italian numbers from 1 to 20. (The English prompts help you to quickly think of the corresponding numbers in Italian.)
Interesting patterns in numbers 1-20 in English and Italian
It’s interesting to see how numbers are formed in both languages.
English numbers between 13 and 19
Let’s start by looking at what we do in English. We use “teen”, based on the word “ten” (10), at the end of numbers 13 thirteen to 19 nineteen.
Before “teen”, we have the base numbers 4 and 6-9: 14 fourteen, 16 sixteen, 17 seventeen, 18 eighteen, 19 nineteen.
For numbers 13 thirteen and 15 fifteen, before “teen,” we use “thir” instead of “three,” and “fif” instead of “five.”
Italian numbers between 11 and 16
Similarly, in Italian we use a form of the base number plus “dici” (a shortened form of the word “dieci” 10) at the end of 11 undici to 16 sedici:
11 undici (un from uno)
12 dodici (do based on due)
13 tredici (tre, same as base number tre)
14 quattordici (based on quattro, but note that it’s quattor)
15 quindici (based on the second part of cinque)
16 sedici (based on the first part of sei).
Italian numbers from 17 to 19
We then use “dicia” or the shortened “dici” (based on the word “dieci” 10), as the first part of the numbers 17 diciassette, 18 diciotto, 19 diciannove, followed by the base numbers sette, otto and nove:
18 diciotto (Since otto starts with a vowel, we drop the “a” in “dicia” in front of otto.)
(These forms probably developed over time because it’s easier to say 17-19 with the “dicia” or “dici” in front, than if the “dici’ were at the end!)
Next you can learn to count to 40, then 100 and 1 000 in Italian by going to the next post:
If you wish to focus on 1-10, you can go to this post: