Have you ever wanted to learn Italian so you can take that vacation of your dreams to Rome or Venice? If so, don’t let the fear that learning a new language is too hard hold you back. Learning to speak Italian fluently isn’t as hard as you might think—all you need to do is be willing to put in the work and know where to look to get started. The first part, we can’t help you with, but the second is all right here!
Six Steps to Take to Become Fluent in Italian
Here are the first six things that you should do if you want to become fluent in Italian pronto!
- Look for Online Courses. Online courses are a great resource in the modern age. Gone are the days when one would have to enroll in expensive courses or hire a tutor or purchase Italian textbooks. Now, there are hundreds of online courses that will help you get started on your way to learning Italian. While many are free, the better courses (such as Rosetta Stone) will cost you some money, but there’s nothing to say that you can’t learn just as easily with a free online Italian course. Many of these courses are supplemented by provided material, but the greatest thing about the internet is that you can find millions of sites, papers, materials and more to help you along the way. It’s all just a Google search away!
- Watch Italian Movies and TV Shows. Do you know someone who was brought to America at an early age? If so, ask them how they learned English. Most will say that at least part of their education came from the media, specifically in the form of TV shows and movies. Cartoons help a lot, because the language is both implied and simple. Soap operas also help, but essentially any type of show or movie that isn’t too complicated on speech (i.e. you can pick up on what the characters are saying by the context and action of the show) will help immensely. Of course, if you can get Italian films that are subtitled in English, that’s even better!
- Enlist a Companion for the Ride. Just like making a commitment to exercise more, any endeavor you take on is always going to be easier when you have a partner in crime. For learning Italian, find someone who wants to learn with you so that you can converse in Italian. If you’re planning a vacation with your loved ones, why doesn’t everyone learn? Having a younger child learn Italian along with you will actually be a big help since younger people pick up foreign languages faster due to the area of the brain that’s in charge of language still being in the developmental stages. Either way, it’s important that you stay motivated and get lots of feedback and practice, all of which are easily attained by getting someone to learn Italian along with you.
- Stop Speaking English. One of the most successful ways to learn any new language is to completely immerse yourself in it. That simply means stop talking in English as much as possible. Of course, you shouldn’t do this at the bank or while grocery shopping, but you and your practice partner should only ask questions and answer them in Italian. In most college courses, the teacher will speak as little English as possible, forcing the students to think and respond in Italian—you must do the same. When you don’t have English to fall back on, your mind will work harder to remember the lessons you’ve been going over and eventually, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your thoughts are leaving your mouth in Italian!
- Read Italian Books. A great immersion technique is to read books that are written in Italian. Start off with children’s picture books. These books are designed to help children learn Italian from the ground up, introducing noun/verb subjugations slowly, just as you should be learning them. Practice reading the books aloud so you can get the feel of the language rolling off of your tongue. Picture books are great because you can use the pictures as context for words you don’t know. Slowly advance your way through the books by age group and continue to strengthen your grasp of the written language while speaking it out loud as you read.
- Take a Course at a Local Community College. If you don’t have time or the patience for any of the above, or if you just feel that you will do better with a teacher that can work with you on a personal level, you can find affordable classes at your local community college. In some areas, community centers will offer free classes as well. If you can’t find any courses, you can also consider hiring a private Italian tutor.