Top Tips for Italian Language Learning
Keep clam and be talkative!
Have you ever asked yourself how can you really improve your Italian?
Italian is an extremely fascinating musical language. However, its sentences are often very long and can definitely look like never-ending “spaghetti sentences”. The grammar contains as many rules as exceptions and sometimes you may feel like you have to pick and choose which rule to follow and which to ignore. That’s why you really need to be talkative: speaking is essential as it forces you to put your grammar knowledge into practice. If you practice, you can realize what your gaps and common mistakes are and you can improve. You also need to be positive: never think you can’t express a concept—just keep trying! If you don’t remember a word or you don’t know it, you can always say it differently. “Volere è potere”: it’s the Italian equivalent of “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. Just make it your motto!
One to one learning: Go for it!
Have you ever thought about taking private lessons? If yes, you had the best idea ever as they are very powerful. First of all, they are completely tailored to you and the tutor focuses on your specific knowledge gaps or common mistakes, proposing exercises that will make you improve. Secondly, if you have any doubts or questions, they will be immediately answered and clarified, with no need to wait for your turn as it usually goes in group classes. This will definitely help you to learn faster! Moreover, you can contribute to set your study program using your personal interests. This will increase your private sessions' quality, as your tutor can make you practice the language focusing not just on your difficulties, but also on your interests. In that way, you will practice Italian talking about subjects you enjoy, which is exactly what you would do in an everyday life situation.
To make all this happen, take advantage of e-learning: an extremely effective and powerful learning method for all languages. In other words, the way of the future! In fact, e-learning allows you to meet your tutor easily, with no need to spend a lot of time or money travelling. Using Skype or a similar provider, you can see your tutor through the webcam and speak with him/her, as you would do in person. You can also practice your writing using the Skype’s board, from where you can receive and read messages from the tutor as well as exchange files and images. For all intents and purposes, you’ll have a real private lesson with the additional advantage of staying home or at your work place! Isn’t it amazing?
Take the most of lessons: Be hungry!
How should you approach a private lesson? First of all, you need to think about private tutoring as a sphere divided into two equal parts: the first part is the tools’ supply, and the second is the language practice. Your tutor provides you with explanations, clarifications, activities (tools’ supply); you have to take and put them into practice (language practice). Never assume you’ll learn the language simply attending a private session without actively participate in it: this is a collaboration made between you and your tutor based on mutual commitment and trust. So, private tutoring is a step-by-step process that will make you reach your objective: to learn Italian.
What should you do to start off? At the beginning of the session, when the tutor asks you “Come stai?” (How are you?), they are actually giving you the opportunity to talk about how you’ve been since the last time you saw each other, or what you've done lately. Try not to just answer “Bene, grazie” (I’m well, thanks), but take the advantage of practicing those expressions and words that you’re not too comfortable with, also making questions. This actually represents a very important part of the lesson, as it allows you to talk about yourself and life events with an expert speaker who is there just to help you! So, you can talk as naturally as you would do in any everyday life situation with the additional benefit of being corrected and supported by your tutor. What are you waiting for?
Keep bits of time to practice: DIY!
What can you do to practice more? Besides doing your homework, there are things you can do to practice your Italian outside of class. As an example, you can select an Italian newspaper article, a recipe or an informative flyer: any text about a topic that interests you. Once you've found something that interests you, practice reading it out loud a few times, trying to be as fluent as possible. Reading is very useful, but doing it out loud is even more powerful as it doesn’t just make you learn new vocabulary, it also allows you to practice your pronunciation and fluency! In this way, you’ll be more aware of the sounds you struggle with, like “ch”. In English this is a soft sound (see the word “cheese”), but it’s a hard sound in Italian as it sounds like a “k”, like in the word “chiave” (“key”).
Another activity you can do is to practice conversation. If you have someone to speak with then that's great (like another student who is learning Italian or a native speaker), but if not, don’t panic! You can still go for a DIY conversation. Yes, it can sound a little bit weird, but it's actually very effective. Here's how to do it...
Go in front of a mirror and start talking to an imaginary person (your reflection), pretending it's someone you need to tell something to, or just an everyday situation. Be inspired by everyday situations and events in your life, for example, a request for information from a shop assistant, or a simple conversation with a friend. Just pretend to be that customer who needs information about an item for sale, or speaking with your friend about yummy Italian food.
To get the most out of this exercise, you can record yourself and listen back to your voice. Repeat the exercise over and over again, trying to correct your mistakes. You’ll immediately realize both how challenging and effective this is!
Italian & English Language Tutor on eCoaches. Experience in teaching Italian to English or other language speakers, for both personal and professional purposes. Tailored lessons to make you reach your objectives smartly. You’ll improve your fluency, pronunciation, oral comprehension through effective activities such as role plays, descriptions and many others!