Ciao amici,

I just started learning the beautiful language of my Italian grandparents. They're from San Felice sul Panaro - Modena and Valtesse, Bergamo - LO respectively.

I'm Brazilian and today I'm 33 years old and am using memrise app to learn... so far I'm really enjoying it.

Out of nothing I'm just curious to know the amount of words that exist in the Italian language.

How many words learned will give me a good command of the language?

Can someone provide an estimation?


  • 1
    I think you should concentrate on basic grammar and basic vocabulary to start with. You can find online basic language courses.
    – user519
    Jan 18, 2017 at 7:51
  • 4
    Related: italian.stackexchange.com/questions/1372/… (possibly a duplicate).
    – DaG
    Jan 18, 2017 at 8:09
  • 5
    I think that the interesting question here is not the actual number of words in the Italian language, but what is a minimal set of words giving you an acceptable command of the language. Otherwise the question is a duplicate of the one @DaG links to.
    – Denis Nardin
    Jan 18, 2017 at 8:42
  • 1
    Taking into account what's said by @DenisNardin, I think it would be better to reword the question or, at least, its title.
    – Charo
    Jan 18, 2017 at 16:47
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Estimates about the number of lemmas in the Italian vocabulary
    – mle
    May 6, 2017 at 1:23

1 Answer 1


The Nuovo vocabolario di base della lingua italiana (NVdB) edited by the late Tullio De Mauro is a list of more than 7000 fundamental Italian words, further divided into:

  • ~2,000 most fundamental words, covering the 86% of the sampled texts (printed in bold text);
  • ~3,000 further most used words (in Roman);
  • ~2,500 words everybody understands but is less likely to actually use (in italics).

The list itself can be found here, and there is a very interesting accompanying article (in Italian) about the NVdB, the criteria of its composition, the differences with its previous version (1980).

  • 1
    This list is incredibly interesting... Do you happen to know whether there exists a machine-readable version of it? (e.g. in CSV or some other form easy to import in a database)
    – Denis Nardin
    May 7, 2017 at 19:24
  • 1
    @DenisNardin: Unfortunately, I don't know about a machine-readable version (perhaps one could ask one of the collaborators of De Mauro), but I agree that it would be very useful.
    – DaG
    May 7, 2017 at 20:09
  • mi piacerebbe sapere en detail che analisi statistica ed altro, come sondaggi ad esempio, fanno.
    – mle
    May 8, 2017 at 1:42
  • Sarebbe interessante, in effetti, @mle. Qualcosa viene detto nell'articolo che ho linkato. Puoi trovare qualcos'altro in un lavoro degli autori del NVdB e probabilmente nel secondo dei testi che citano lì.
    – DaG
    May 8, 2017 at 7:41

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