of consonants, because we cannot pronounce them without the help of a vowel, either before or after them example, b is pronounced as if there were a b and e together, or be; f, as ef, and so of the rest.

H, especially at the beginning of a word, is not considered properly a letter, and therefore is never pronounced in Italian; yet the use made of it in the middle of words, is greater than most people imagine. See what we say of it in treating of the pronunciation of consonants.

It is the mixture of the letters, that generally forms the different words which every language is capable of producing; and that some order may be observed in the infinite number of words, they have been reduced to ten parts of speech, though most Italians reckon no more than eight.

A speech is composed of sentences.
Sentences are composed of words.
Words of syllables.

Syllables of letters.

Letters are certain marks or characters, which serve to form the syllables and words, as a, b, c, d, e, &c.

A syllable is a word, or part of a word pronounced with a single sound, and composed of one, two, or three letters, as, astrologo, an astrologer, is composed of four syllables, as-tró-lo-go, the second of which is composed of three letters, and the rest of two. A-mo, I love, is composed of two syllables, the former of a Single letter, and the latter of two.

Sometimes a word contains but one syllable, and then we call it a monosyllable (a term of Greek derivation), that is to say, having but one syllable; as, re, a king; me, me; te, thee, &c.

A word consists either of one or more syllables; as, re, amóre.

A sentence is composed of several words, forming a complete sense; as, per ben parláre Italiano, bisogna parlare Toscano, e pronunciúre come i Romani; to speak good Italian, we must speak as they do in Tuscany, and pronounce as they do at Rome.

A speech, or discourse, is composed of ten parts : these are the Article, Noun, Adjective, Pronoun,

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Verb, Participle, Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction, and Interjection. Every word is reducible to either one or other of these parts of speech, the particulars of which will be found in the following explanation. Those who admit but eight parts of speech, reject the Article and Adjective.

An Explanation of the PARTS of Speech.

In order easily to understand a language, we should endeavour to obtain a perfect knowledge of the parts of speech, and their meaning; otherwise it is impossible ever to understand, or speak it correctly. According to the preceding order, I should begin with the article; but, that I may be the better understood, I shall commence with the Noun.


A NOUN is a word which serves to name and distinguish some thing: as, Dio, God; úngelo, an angel; uómo, a man; cielo, heaven; térra, earth; cavallo, a horse; libro, a book; cappéllo, a hat; távola, a table; páne, bread; víno, wine, &c.

There are two sorts of nouns; one is called a nounsubstantive, and the other a noun-adjective.

The noun-substantive is that which subsists by itself, or which by itself alone so clearly expresses the thing named, that we immediately understand it; as, heaven, earth, the king, a horse, a book; we know the meaning of the words heaven, earth, the king, &c.

The noun-adjective is a word which denotes the qualities of the substantive; as, great, gránde; fine, béllo; little, piccolo; red, rósso: we know not what is great, fair, little, or red, unless we join a substantive to it; as, a great book, un gran libro; a fine book, un bel libro; a little book, un piccolo libro; a red book, un libro rósso; a great hat, un gran cappéllo; a fine hat, un bel cappello; a little hat, un piccolo cappello; a red hat, un cappello rosso.

Every noun is either of the masculine or the feminine gender, there being no neuter in Italian. B 2


The masculine gender is marked by the article il, or lo, in English, the.

The feminine gender is marked by the article la, in English also by the..

All nouns, before which we may place il or lo, are of the masculine gender; and those before which we place la, are of the feminine gender; example, il libro, the book; il fuoco, the fire; lo spécchio, the lookingglass; are of the masculine gender: la térra, the earth; la cámera, the room; la pénna, the pen; are of the feminine gender.

** Observe, that the noun-substantive is but of one gender; that is to say, either masculine or feminine; as, Dio, God; cielo, heaven; giardino, garden; are always of the masculine gender, and never of the feminine. Térra, the earth, camera, a room, are feminine, and never masculine.

The noun-adjective ought to agree with the substantive; when it terminates in o, it is masculine; and when it terminates in a, it is feminine. Take notice, that all nouns-adjective masculine, ending in o, may become feminine, by changing o into a.

béllo, bélla,

piccolo, piccola,




buóno, buóna,

sánto, sánta,


There are some nouns-adjective, which, without changing their termination, are of both genders; and they are those which in Italian end in e in the singular number, as, illústre, ammirúbile, fácile, &c. One may say,

un uómo illústrę,
una dónna illústre,
uno spírito ammirábile,
una bellezza ammirábile,
un libro fácile,

una lezióne fácile,

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an illustrious man.
an illustrious woman.

a wonderful wit.

a wonderful beauty.

an easy book.

an easy lesson.

**Observe, that all nouns-adjective which end in e in Italian, are of the common gender.

All nouns before which il or lo, and la (the) may be placed indifferently, are adjectives: as, il prudénte, la prudénte, prudent; il dótto, la dótta, learned.


The nouns before which il or lo, and la (the) must not be placed indifferently, but only one of them, are nouns-substantive; as, il sóle, the sun; la luna, the moon; il giardino, the garden; il frutto, the fruit; la virtù, virtue; la prudénza, prudence.

Nouns that can change o into a are also adjectives; thus of dótto, learned, you may form dótta, learned; but of lúna, giardino, térra, &c. which are nouns substantive, you cannot form lúno, giardina, térro, &c.

A noun is also of the singular or the plural number. The singular number is used where we speak of one thing only as, the prince, il princípe; the body, it córpo; the horse, il cavallo; where we speak but of one prince, of one body, and of one horse.

The plural number is used when we speak of more than one; as, the princes, i principi; the bodies, i córpi; the horses, i caválli; here we speak of several princes, several bodies, and several horses.

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The little words of two or three letters, as il or le, la, in English, the; i, gli, and le which signify the in the plural, and are placed before nouns to mark the gender, number, and case, are called Articles.


THE Article is a declinable word, of one, two, or three letters, which is put before the nouns to show their gender and number.

The gender and number have been explained already.

But not to perplex the memory, I have inserted the explanation of the cases after the parts of speech, as it will be time enough then to learn them, and it is sufficient, at present, to know that the English article is the, and it is used both in the singular and plural


You cannot always know the gender, number, or case of nouns, except by the article which precedes them. If one should ask, for instance, what gender the word piéde, a foot, is of, it would be impossible to know, without prefixing an article to it: the articles il


and lo denote the masculine, and la the feminine; so that in saying il piede, the foot, the article il shows it is of the masculine gender.

In like manner, if a person should ask of what number any other word is, the question could not always be resolved, without putting the articles il, lo, i, or gli, before it, to mark the singular or the plural number

* Observe, that when an article comes before a word beginning with a vowel, the last letter of the article must be cut off; that is to say, you retrench the vowel at the end of the article, and in the place of it you put an apostrophe, which is made thus ('). Example; in prefixing an article to amore, onore, ánima, you must not pronounce or write lo amóre, lo onóre, la ánima; but l'amóre, l'onóre, l'únima, &c.

In this manner you retrench the vowel in other cases; dell' amore, dell' onóre, dell' ánima; all' amore, all' onóre, all' únima; dall' amóre, dall' onóre, dall' ánima.


A PRONOUN, which the Italians call Pronome, or Vicenóme, is a declinable part of speech; so named, because it is used instead of a noun. There are seven sorts of pronouns ; namely,

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THE pronoun personal marks the three persons; namely, the first, second, and third, as well in the singular as plural.

The first person is he, or she, who speaks; and it is expressed by I, ío; we, nói.


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