Italy is a beautiful country steeped in epic history, intricate culture, delectable cuisine, and of course, a unique, romantic language. Countless people every year flock to the European nation to experience themselves in the scenery and landmarks, but can you really fully immerse yourself in everything on offer if you cannot converse freely with the locals?
If you are wondering, ‘what’s the best way to learn Italian?’, and aren't sure where to start, you are not alone. Taking on a new language after childhood is a daunting task, especially if you have only spoken one language you’re entire life. Whether you are looking to adopt this new skill to better understand the country during your visit, need to communicate more efficiently as part of your profession, or simply because you want to broaden your abilities, the team at CIS have compiled 8 top tips for learning how to speak Italian fluently.
1. Use Italian learning Materials
There is a multitude of different methods to learn how to speak Italian – so much so that an entire industry has built on top of the various materials available. From books and podcasts, to online courses and software, the best ways to learn Italian will really depend on your preferred studying method. But don’t limit yourself to just one; by using a variety of different learning materials, you will not only be able to find the ones that help you retain the knowledge more effectively, but you can take the most helpful resources and tips from each and combine them to create a master resource for continued use and review.
2. Get a Tutor
Teaching yourself a skill from inanimate resources works for some people, but for others, having a conversation with someone is what really gets the mental juices flowing – especially when you want to learn how to speak Italian fluently. If this is you, then the learning tips you’re looking for might be better delivered from a dedicated tutor. A tutor is a professional in the field who can help you focus on your weaknesses; give you feedback on your pronunciation; basically, help make learning Italian more fun and dynamic. They create a personalised approach with detailed lesson plans to fast-track your progress.
3. Immerse Yourself in the Culture
This isn’t one of those tips for learning Italian that you can simply rely on in isolation. Once you have started your journey on picking up the language, recognising a variety of words and phrases, one of the best ways to learn how to speak Italian is to then immerse yourself in the culture. After all, these words you are trying to pronounce and arrange together came from somewhere, so learning about the history, cultural practices and even visiting Italy (if possible) is excellent in allowing you to gain profound context. Learning a language isn't simply learning how to recite phrases or talk about everyday things; it's learning how other people live their lives, what they love, what they hate. By finding an interest in these things through learning about the country, you will be able to make learning Italian more enjoyable, but also far more fulfilling than learning it as just a language.
4. Join an Italian Class or Club
Another great way to improve your Italian skills is by joining an Italian class or club. This might be available at your school, in community centres, or even via interactive, online platforms. Not only will you get to practise your speaking skills, but you'll also learn more about the cultural elements and make some great friends along the way.
5. Watch Italian Films and TV Programmes
How many times have you heard someone say they picked up a language by binge-watching a television program? Chances are you thought they were joking, but it has actually been proven to be one of the best ways on how to learn to speak Italian fluently. You will see repeated scenes of characters in a myriad of situations relaying dialogue that covers all manners of subject matter. With the subtitles on below, you can begin to pick up colloquial phrases and slang, or how the locals use certain forms of inflection in their everyday speech. In addition to saying the words properly, you will also learn how to properly organise the pronunciation as it channels from your mind, to your mouth, and into conversation.
6. Read a Book in Italian
We read books to improve our understanding of English, so why would doing the same for Italian be any different? After all, speaking the language is only half of the task – a great deal of communication is conducted via the written word. Give yourself some flexibility and start with something simple, maybe children’s books where the pictures can help to guide you through the story and events. It might feel silly, but you will be amazed how visual aids can help you to process letters arranged in a different order to what you are used to. From here, you can progress to larger texts, improving your understanding of phrase structure, sentence construction, and allowing you to encounter new words to research.
7. Start Journaling in Italian
We’ve covered speaking, listening and reading in Italian. Now, experiment with your writing skills. This engages your brain in a different way to process the language, and through journaling, you pick any topic from your life to recount and allow the memories to process through this new language. Doing this every day has long been considered one of the best ways to learn Italian – or any new language, for that matter.
Learning to speak a new language is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that requires a dedicated and tailored learning schedule. If you are still wondering what’s the best way to learn Italian for you, be sure to contact us at the Centre of Italian Studies, and we can help you find the right solution.
Buon divertimento! (Have fun!)