The new year can be a great time to take up a new hobby or improve your general fitness. In Italian lessons with my students I like to talk about new year’s resolutions this month as it gives them a chance to talk about their interests and goals and also learn lots of new vocabulary.
So in today’s language lesson we’re going to talk about sports and exercises which help you keep fit in Italian.
Let’s start with the word ‘sport’. This word is used in Italian, but remember to pronounce it with an Italian accent!
If you want to talk about ‘playing sports’, you can use the verb ‘praticare’ or ‘fare’ – praticare / fare sport. ‘Fare’ is an irregular verb that we’ve covered in previous language articles, see here.
The other key verb to know when talking about sports is giocare – to play. It’s a regular -are verb, just pay attention to the spelling which changes slightly to preserve the hard ‘c’ sound. You add an ‘h’ in the ‘tu’ and ‘noi’ forms. Here is it in the present tense:
Io gioco – I play
Tu giochi – You play
Lui / lei gioca – He / she plays
Noi giochiamo – We play
Voi giocate – You (pl) play
Loro giocano – They play
Football or soccer is the most popular sport in Italy. Many Italians play football themselves as well as watch it at stadiums and on television. You may already know the Italian word for this: il calcio.
If you want to say ‘I play football’ in Italian, it would be ‘Gioco a calcio’. When talking about sports, you need to add an ‘a’ after the verb and before the sport. Here’s another example:
Mia sorella ama giocare a calcio – My sister loves playing football
Some sports use the English name such as: ‘il tennis’, ‘il cricket’, ‘l’hockey’, ‘il baseball’, ‘il rugby’, ‘il badminton’. Here are some sentences with these sports:
Non gioco mai a baseball – I never play baseball
Noi giochiamo a rugby ogni weekend – We play rugby every weekend
Hai mai giocato a badminton? – Have you ever played badminton?
Non mi piace giocare a hockey – I don’t like playing hockey
I tuoi genitori giocano a cricket? – Do your parents play cricket?
Volleyball is a popular Italian sport, ‘il pallavolo’. Swimming is another common sport, ‘il nuoto’. Maybe you like running and would like to talk about it in Italian, it’s ‘la corsa’. Or if you’re a bit slower ‘il jogging’ or ‘il footing’.
If you are lucky enough to live near a river, you may go rowing - ‘il canotaggio’. And if you are lucky enough to live near mountains, maybe you go skiing – ‘lo sci’.
Or maybe, like many Italians, you like to get out and about on a bike – ‘la bici’, you can say:
Mi piace andare in bicicletta – I like riding a bike
Mi piace fare ciclismo – I like cycling
I hope this lesson has helped you learn some new ways to talk about sport and ‘esercizio’ exercise in Italian. Whether it’s in the gym – ‘la palestra’ or at the park – ‘il parco’, enjoy!