Learning a new language is undoubtedly an exciting experience. But it’s one thing to know the words like ‘Good morning’ or ‘Hello’ in Italian but it is another thing to repeat all that has been said in the language. That’s for masters, right? Well, not really. If you have already gotten ahead with the basic words and you can already identify what some words mean, then nothing stops you from taking things further into becoming fluent.
However, things are not that easy. The way to become fluent is a different course from how you learned the basics. The materials are different, the websites would be different, and even your needs have become different as well.
But this is not an article that will only state the problems. So here are a few ways you can improve your fluency in Italian.
1. Go Back to the Beginning
Many try to look for online courses and books and quick tips to get fluent but refuse to accept that the way forward is to strengthen the foundation. When it comes to languages, even the most complex and complicated sentences are built from the most basic words. See English for instance, no matter how long, and deep-meaning a word is, the spellings can never be outside of A to Z. So instead of overwhelming yourself with overly complicated books and materials, simply ‘per tornare all’inizio’ (go back to the beginning).
Note that this will not turn you into a near-native speaker overnight (besides, there are nine more steps to follow) but when your foundation is strong, you can not be shaken. It would be easier to build on it – to add more knowledge.
To do this, simply move on to the next step;
2. Get A Grammar-Based App
Note that all apps dedicated to teaching Italian are not the same. Some are created for self-evaluation only (preparing for maybe a test), others are situated for learning vocabulary, and then there are Italian tutors online for Grammar alone.
Just for the sake of understanding, Grammar refers to the system that language in itself follows. Grammar commands, regulates, and directs sentences, words, and even how they sound. For English, Grammar includes oral sounds – it’s how you know ‘book’ is pronounced differently from ‘door’, but the same as the other variants like ‘cook,’ ‘good,’ or ‘fool.’
So by learning Italian Grammar, you can become familiar with the way things work and how words are pronounced. Yes, it might seem like some beginner tips but the truth remains that even the most advanced sentences in the Italian language follow simple Grammar rules.
3. Practise the Italian Language
The next step is to do what a beginner would not be doing – finally. Start improving on what you know by watching Italians speak. Listen to the words that are pronounced; it helps when they are subtitled too. Notice how they speak and what words are used. Take note of gender words; some words are used differently when talking to men or women.
While it can be overwhelming, it helps when you are watching something you love like a movie or a favorite show. You could also try going for Italian animations if you love cartoons. That will help simplify the words and eliminate complex sentences.
But that is not all, simply watching the actors talk might not do much until you are intentional about learning. Therefore, read your notes and use them to create flashcards. Create games with these words and sentences. But most of all, surround yourself with these words. In the morning, greet yourself in Italian. Look in the mirror and say things to yourself. Imagine a conversation, and answer your questions. Finally, reply to scenes in the movie you watched and try to repeat what they said – do this repeatedly and that will stick.
4. Listen to Real-World Italian
Hey, but the Italian language in movies is real-word Italian right? Not really. These words are scripted and acted out therefore you might not have a lot of everyday words included. Some of the sentences might even be things you will NEVER say – EVER! How often will you say ‘the kingdom is ours my love’ – probably never; exactly!
Therefore, some other mediums like podcasts, the news, social media videos, and related platforms will open you to the Italian that is used in the real world among everyday people. In these videos, you can learn words like ‘hello, I just want to tell you-‘ and other daily sentences.
Remember that you are not here to simply learn these sentences but to get fluent. So continue to speak one sentence for as long as possible until you become almost like a native speaker and your tongue rolls smoothly over every word.
5. Practice With a Native Speaker
The next step after all the listening and watching is to move out and test your knowledge. If you know any Italian or anyone that can speak the language, walk up to them and start a conversation.
Try this in Italian:
“Hi, My name is [name]. I am trying to learn Italian but I am not very good at it. Care to help me practice? I have a few notes here.”
If you can say the above properly, the person would already be impressed. If you make mistakes, it might be funny but you will get help and make new friends along the way.
But what are you supposed to practice? Bring along your flashcards and some of the things you wrote down. You can also be daring and start a conversation. Ask what the person does for a living and try to respond to questions. While it might seem scary, fluency won’t be so far away.
If you are not surrounded by Italian speakers, didn’t be bothered. There are some websites and apps that offer these features where you can meet with native speakers and have real conversations with them. Connecting with Italians on social media is another way to meet and interact with a native speaker.
6. Listen to Italian Songs and Sing Karaoke
Music is another way language is expressed in different tones and also a great way to practice fluency. Yes, everyday words might not be common here but songs follow a rhythm. Therefore, there is a likelihood that you would have to talk or sing quickly – faster than you would when talking.
This is more true for raps. Download about two to three Italian rap songs and their lyrics. Read the lyrics to familiarize yourself with the words before the music comes in. By now, some of the lyrics should be familiar to you – but you can also download the translation for clarity.
When you have gone over the lyrics once or twice, listen to the song, and vibe with it. Then try to sing it on your own. Your first few tries would be funny to your listener but keep at it. Even English songs aren’t easy to learn in a day.
7. Go to Italy
If you can, you should! Being around the people, culture, food, and language will make fluency faster. Knowing that only a few people understand English in Italy, you would have to learn and speak Italian for better communication. So prepare for a trip to the city of romance and rustic vibes.
While you are there, the fastest way to get fluent is to be repetitive with your actions and word usage. Don’t try to say too many things. Get good at a few and you can move on to the next stage. While going out, always greet your neighbors with the same words. On your way, say in Italian – nice [statue/house/cat/flowers] every day.
Always compliment people the same way and order your food the same way. Don’t use variants like ‘I want the [food] today’ and ‘do you have [food]? Follow the same procedure until that sentence flows naturally. Before you know it, a tourist might mistake you for a native.
8. Don’t Give Up
Finally, make sure that you don’t give in to disappointments and frustrations. It will get hard and annoying. Forgetting words you thought you knew, making the same mistake, feeling like your head is blocked, and other similar situations – all of these are bound to happen. But when you see that you need a break, take it. Stop everything Italian and speak only English. When you are better, return to your flashcards, notes, and games with a fresh head. You will become fluent in time.
The phrase “the beautiful language” is often used to refer to the Italian language. That is why there is such a high demand for its study. But there is a strategy that will help you learn Italian no matter why you want to. It proceeds steadily. It’s not something that can be learned in a week, let alone a month. You must first clearly understand why you want to learn it, choose the best teaching method, outline your steps, set objectives, acquire the necessary materials, stay dedicated, speak the language, read the language, listen to the language, make mistakes, and possibly even take the flight. It will pay off in the long run. Learning a new language provides a deep sense of satisfaction. So, let go of your fears and take the first step. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself.