How to learn Italian
Whether you’re jetting off to the Amalfi Coast for a vacation, heading to the land of pizza and pasta for work or studies, or just want to be able to communicate in Italian, then you need to start working on your Italiano right now. Fortunately, the internet has made learning languages easy and accessible to everyone, even beginners with great resources and courses like those from The Intrepid Guide.
For a fully immersive experience, you could of course jump on a plane and jet off for a week in the Mediterranean sunshine. That is easier said than done, so we must look for alternative ways to immerse ourselves in the language and culture. One way to do this is through technology. Thanks to TV and the internet, we can access hundreds of thousands of Italian books, TV series, movies, videos, podcasts, songs, and magazines.
Take advantage of these resources to work on your Italian. Spend time every day listening to Italian through music, watching videos, or streaming movies. Then, take a moment to read some Italian as this will help your brain compute what you have heard, by showing how words are spelled and how verbs are conjugated. You don’t have to read Dante or Boccaccio, you can opt for a short story, a magazine article, or an interview with a celebrity that you’re a fan of for some light reading.
Italian learning via courses
Have you ever considered going back to school? You might not have the time or desire to take on new studies, but you may have time for night classes or weekend Italian lessons. If you work well in a group environment and thrive off social interactions, then you could attend a class to practice your Italian with like-minded individuals.
If you don’t want to commit to regular classes, then you could try an intensive course instead. Intensive courses take place over a couple of days, or even up to a week. Unlike weekly classes with an hour or two of practice per week, you will cram many hours of learning into a short period of time to help you progress quickly.
This kind of courses includes different kinds of learning and covers all basic topics and grammatical skills. The goal is for you to leave feeling confident and knowledgeable, which is perfect before a vacation or important event where you will be speaking or trying to understand Italian.
How to speak Italian
The best way to speak another language fluently is simply to start speaking! You cannot learn to speak from textbooks or courses. In order to get to grips with pronunciation and build confidence forming sentences, you have to dive right in and practice speaking out loud.
Firstly, you can do this alone, talking about your day on your drive home from work, asking yourself questions in the shower, or explaining what you’re doing as you cook or clean. Secondly, you can do it with someone else, by either roping in someone you know who speaks Italian, heading out for dinner in the local Italian neighborhood, or by hiring a tutor to practice with.
Where to find Italian online tutors
There are many platforms on which you can find a private Italian tutor. Websites such as LiveXP, Preply, Italki, and Verbling allow you to browse through teachers and find one that suits your individual needs. You may want to choose a teacher based on their nationality, their qualifications, previous teaching experience, or simply their availability.
If you’re shy or have very specific needs, another option is to try a few different tutors on one or several platforms in order to find someone who you think is compatible with your personality or learning style.
These websites and mobile applications have various features and additional options, from their own payment systems to online courses available to purchase. Online tutors range from students trying to earn a bit of extra money, to fully-qualified, experienced teachers, as well as everything in between. The prices usually reflect the teacher’s abilities and experience, which means there’s something for everyone, and you’ll easily be able to find a tutor within your budget.
Advantages of private tutoring online
- When we start to speak a foreign language, many of us are shy and sometimes even embarrassed, for fear of making mistakes and sounding stupid. In a class full of students, this fear is heightened. In a private lesson, this fear and reluctance may diminish, but in an online lesson, it practically disappears. Being in a familiar setting, usually, our own home, enables us to relax, which makes it easier to feel more confident and let our guard down.
- Another advantage of online lessons is the freedom and comfort. You don’t have to join a school or attend classes, there are millions of tutors online to choose from, making it easy to find someone whose schedule fits with yours. This means that you can take classes before work, on your commute, in the evening, during your lunch break, on the weekend or even late at night. You can work on your Italian at a time that suits you, without it interfering with your job, personal life, or other commitments. What’s more, you can do it all from the safety and comfort of your own home!
- Outside of Italy, native speakers are hard to come by. You may have an Italian neighborhood in your city, but how many of those are first-generation Italians? And how many of them are capable of or willing to teach you their language? Native teachers in language schools are hard to come by, and when you do find them, their demand is high, so places are limited, and they may be costly. If you really want to speak the lingo then it’s paramount that you find a native teacher who can pass on not only their perfect pronunciation, accent, and inflection, but also cultural information that can help you understand, and integrate into, Italian society.