Becoming fluent or even conversational in Italian takes time, dedication and constant practice. I’m sure you’re familiar with the “full immersion” method. Some of my students told me that they find difficult to learn Italian because they don’t live in Italy and so they can’t experience the so-called “full immersion”. However, this is not completely true. Thanks to internet and technology there are numerous ways to quickly improve your Italian from the comforts of your home. Here 10 of them.
1. Italian Radio
For advanced students, it helps to improve listening and comprehension skills. For beginner, even if they may only get 2%, it is still good because the very listening makes them more and more familiar with the sound of the language.
Radio 24 is a good Italian radio, mostly about current news and analysis (one of the few Italian radios where you are not constantly bugged by some song). A very popular radio is Radio DJ – mostly mainstream/commercial music.
2. Follow the Word-A-Day Rule
Learn at least a word every day. Learn how to pronounce it, spell it and use it in context. Try to write a couple of sentences and use it whenever you can! It may seem not much, but it is proven that small, but continuous, progress help you to overcome confidence issues.
3. Start reading book in Italian
Choose your favorite book and reread it in Italian. You will be surprised by how much you understand. When you read, do not translate word by word, try to understand the general idea instead. It’s not important to understand every single word in the text, what really matters is to understand the what’s happening in the story.
4. Keep an Italian Journal or Diary
I often ask to my students to write their thoughts or what they did during the day. To some of you it could seem a boring activity but in doing so you can actually improve a lot. Studying grammar or vocabulary is great but when you speak with native people you need to put all the rules together. You will notice that speaking is way easier if you have previously written what you want to say.
5. Listen to Italian podcasts
Get your Italian bite whenever you want. If one day you don’t have time to practice at all, you can listen to a podcast on your way to work, during your lunch break or while you’re going out for a walk. You may say “Yea but I don’t know where to find some good podcasts” well, here a short list to get started:
Learn Italian Pod – each episode starts with a short story narrated in Italian followed by grammar and vocabulary explanation in English.
ItalianPod101 – you need to sing up but it’s free. There is also a paid subscription with more features but it’s not necessary, you can start with the free option and then decide if it’s worth it.
Pastacast – it’s a short podcast but they use simple English for people who don’t speak English as a first language.
6. Watch TV Shows and Movies in Italian
Watch your favorite shows and movies in Italian! If you already know the story, you don’t struggle to understand what’s happening and you can focus more on words and pronunciation. If needed, feel free to switch on Italian subtitles to help you along the way.
7. Label items in your house
To master everyday vocabulary, simply write Italian words on small flashcards and then tape each to its corresponding item in the apartment. The advantage of visual learning style is that it ingrains the vocabulary in your brain. You’ll soon start eating with your forchetta and drink your tea in a tazza. Grab a marker and some paper and get started!
8. Change Language Settings on your Social Media
Among the “fun” to understand how to change the setting that you want to change, it will force you to learn useful internet terminology. By constantly exposing yourself to the Italian equivalents of “Log in, Upload, Download”, you’ll learn news terms and phrases without much effort.
9. Experience the cuisine
Pizza, pasta, mozzarella, bruschetta, spaghetti alla bolognese… Have you ever thought to learn some Italian by buying an Italian recipe book (written in Italian) and start cooking something delicious for your friends/partner/yourself?
10. Pratice with Italian-Speaking Friends
Find an Italian person who wants to practice your native language and start speaking. You don’t need to be in Italy to do that, you can try some websites as italki.com or conversationexchange.com
Time is not an issue, if you are a really busy person, speak 10 minutes in Italian and then switch to the other language. 10 minutes is better than nothing.
If you have any questions, feel free to write them in a comment.
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