Today we will give you some tips to learn Italian by yourself. Self-learning is no fantasy: it can happen if you apply enough will, and discipline, and if you keep a mind open to make it better at all times. Some people are natural for languages, others are fortunate enough to go abroad fairly frequently: in any case, these tips are helpful for everyone.
HOW TO TEACH MYSELF ITALIAN?
First, congratulations for taking this step. Remember that every learning is in the end self-learning, regardless you hire a private teacher, go to an institute or walk that line on your own: attitude determines it. If you apply your will on achieving this goal and, especially, if you take pleasure in the process rather than get yourself all stressed out for results, it won’t take long before you will get there; otherwise, you risk getting PTSD and, on the contrary, will very likely not learn a thing. That unfortunate outcome may occur whether you do it yourself, bring Dante Alighieri back to life for the sole purpose of teaching you or even marry a very attractive professor from an Italian university. Will is power, and learning needs to be pleasurable!
Radio provides very interesting options to learn Italian by yourself. Usually, people who speak on radio ads or especially those who anchor the news –no matter how pro-region the radio station’s policy could be and, trust me, Italians can be very regionalist– will usually display a diction that will not turn your listening encounters with this language into a rough landing on a harsh, unknown planet. We advise that you listen to newscasts or programs/shows about culture, language, or interesting facts. Ultimately, you may have a first glimpse of regional accents without becoming dazed and confused.
You can also resort to classic and more recent Italian movies (e. g., Life is Wonderful, or La vita è bella) to teach yourself Italian. Unlike radio, accents and dialects could make it difficult to understand the movie –as long as you watch the original, non-dubbed version–. If you’re watching it seating comfortably at home, there’s something that will definitely be your salvation at first: captions. We suggest that you first dive through the movie relying on the captions in your native language, then watch the movie again with captions in the movie’s language and, at last, remove the captions later (it does not have to be the full movie, but some selected scenes, too).
When you are more advanced in the language, the opposite is also advisable: no captions (to break into the phonetics and figure out how much you are already able to understand), then with captions in the movie’s language and lastly to your language: this way you will learn Italian but will also help your brain allot separate “hard drive” room for your native language and the one you’re learning.
BOOKS AND NEWSPAPERS
Online books and newspapers in Italian are not so difficult to find. You may download PDF-format books if tablets or similar devices are your things. If you are curious and have an “encyclopaedic mind”, Wikipedia can be surprisingly helpful. Reading is important and you can –and must– do it at all the stages of learning for the sake of consolidating grammar from the very basic to more complex syntax. It is also scientifically determined that reading is the solution to cure any surging spelling issues you may have.
Many of them are free: among the most popular apps is Duolingo, which is certainly free but has also earned a lot of certifications and acknowledgments. Duolingo is easy to run either on your PC or your phone app, and you do not need to devote eons to see progress. A 10-15 minute a-day commitment is more than sufficient. Certainly, there are other apps you can find on App Store or Play Store, it is just a matter of looking: be aware that “some costs may apply”.
As you chew on and digest the Italian language, you will need to display linguistic production not only orally but also on paper (or your PC’s screen). A best practice is, to begin with, short phrases or sentences and increase the complexity of your grammar when you feel more comfortable. You may be creative and come up with a short story, retell an event from your day or simply leave a note to your roommate: here what matters is to get going. Also, kill two birds with one stone by signing up for a chat room: thus you will become linguistically more proficient, befriend new people and, chances are, make first contact with your future spouse!
There are plenty of games you can play to learn Italian: Scrabble, Categories/Scattegories, Hangman, Charades, and many more. From the beginning level to the advanced, any of these will really help “let yourself go”.
A staple among language teachers, they have been effective for ages and there is no reason why they should not work for you. Also, they are easy to make: use cardstock or download printable flashcards from the internet. Either way, they are fantastic to improve your memory and the way how you relate words to objects (instead of simply going for plain translation).
Make it a habit! Use Italian as your every-day working/study language. Set your PC and any common other devices to Italian. Also set tasks that match your current skill levels, Italian-written versions of manuals, etc.
One thing is learning new things; putting them to work in real life is different. You can do it by taking the chance to talk with Italian speakers (who, in turn, will be most likely eager to speak English with you! Stand your ground!). Also, this is where translation becomes a good tool and excuse to improve your skills: translation should be the last step in learning, not the very first because it will consolidate your learning of Italian while leading you to check whether your native language has also a solid base.
To learn Italian by yourself may be a tour de force, but asking for assistance will not diminish your feat. If at a certain point you have the urge to hire an Italian teacher, we will be more than glad and honoured to take on the task.