Learn Italian in 30 Minutes - ALL the Basics You Need
How to Learn Italian
Ciao!If you're interested in learning Italian, you likely began with a textbook or mobile app. These are great ways to get started, but can become tedious after awhile. If you don't enjoy learning a language, your lessons can become a chore. By reading, writing, and listening to Italian, you can become much more proficient without expending much effort. Don't get discouraged if you don't understand everything when you first start – with time and patience, you'll start to feel comfortable in the language.
Reading in Italian
Start with children's books to learn basic Italian.Children's books are designed to teach children how to read and expose them to new vocabulary. This can work for you as well, especially if you're just beginning to learn Italian.
- The Rosetta Project has a number of children's books in Italian available to download for free at . Just scroll down to the "Italiano" section and click on titles that interest you.
- There are more Italian children's stories available at . These are fairy tales and fables translated into Italian, so you'll likely already be familiar with the story.
Advance to short stories.Once you've progressed through children's books, you may decide that you're ready to move on to material in Italian that is meant for adult readers. To figure out if you can read the story with minimal frustration, read the first page as quickly as you can. If you could understand at least 10 percent of the first page, it will be a good story to build your reading skills.
- You can find a number of short stories by both famous authors and amateurs at . A similar site, , offers short stories by well-known and emerging Italian authors, as well as amateur users of the site.
- You can also find books of short stories written in Italian. If you don't have a large budget, look in the foreign language section of libraries and used bookstores. If there's a college or university near you that has an Italian department, there may be books in the university library as well.
Follow current events in Italian newspapers.Depending on the subject matter of the article, some newspapers can be quite challenging to read. However, if you have a basic understanding of the event being discussed, you can figure out words from context. Most of the major Italian newspapers are available online for free.
- Newspapers also help you stay up to date on matters of importance to Italians. You can also read articles about Italian holidays, cultural events, society, and life.
- An annotated list of major Italian newspapers, with links to their websites, can be found at .
Keep a dictionary nearby to look up words you don't know.Highlight words you don't know, and then come back to them and look them up in the dictionary. Once you have an understanding of the word, reread the passage.
- There is a free Italian-English dictionary available at .
- It's usually best to read 2 to 3 pages at a time, then look up words, so you can try to get as much understanding as you can out of the story. You'll have difficulty making sense of the story if you stop every few words to look something up.
- You might also make flash cards with the words you don't know, so you can continue to practice them each day to improve your vocabulary.
Cook a meal from an Italian cookbook.A lot of a nation's culture is present in its food, and a recipe for a classic Italian dish written in Italian will take your reading comprehension to the next level. Many Italian dishes are passed down from generation to generation, but there are plenty of cookbooks in Italian to get you started.
- While you can search online for Italian recipes, you'll likely find that most are written in English. You may have to spend a little to buy an Italian cookbook written in Italian, but you can likely find inexpensive copies online.
Immerse yourself in a novel.Once you've progressed far enough in your reading that you can read several pages without having to stop and look up any words in the dictionary, you're ready to read your first novel in Italian. Go slow, savoring each line, and allow yourself to mentally travel to a new world.
- Reading long-form fiction can also help you get better at thinking in Italian, rather than mentally translating what you read from Italian into your native tongue.
- You can download free ebooks from Project Gutenberg that are written in Italian. Go to to choose titles. Since these books are all in the public domain, you'll find some classics of Italian literature here.
- For links to some more modern and bestselling ebooks in Italian (many free, others substantially discounted), visit .
- Many people learning a language like to start with a translation of Harry Potter, because the language gets progressively more difficult as the story progresses through the volumes.
Read aloud to practice your pronunciation.Reading silently is relatively passive. Even if you hear the word correctly in your head, that doesn't mean you're accustomed to making the sound. If you find a story or passage that you like, read it aloud to have a fuller experience with the language.
- You can also video yourself reading the passage and then listen to it – provided you don't get too embarrassed by listening to your recorded voice. Listening to yourself read can help you identify particular words or sounds that give you trouble.
Writing in Italian
Copy passages from a favorite book.If you were reading an Italian short story or novel and found a passage that you really enjoyed, write it out to get a feel for writing the sentences in Italian yourself. Experiment with changing it up so that the sentence is written in a different tense, or with different nouns.
- Copying well-written sentences gives you a feel for correct Italian grammar and usage. Changing nouns or verbs in a well-written sentence helps you practice your vocabulary, correct article usage, and verb conjugation.
Find an Italian pen pal.Whether you use email or old-fashioned paper through the post, having a pen pal to write back and forth in Italian can greatly improve your writing ability. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the daily life of Italians.
- You may be able to help your pen pal with their language skills as well. For example, you might find a pen pal in Italy who writes to you in english to improve their English writing skills. You write to them in Italian.
- Social media forums and pages dedicated to the Italian language can be good places to find a pen pal. However, as with anyone you meet online, be cautious – especially if sharing personal information.
Look for a local chapter of the Dante Alighieri Society.This society is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the Italian language, and has many chapters all over the world. Members get together to read, write, talk, and watch films and videos in Italian.
- Go to to find a chapter near you. Even if there isn't a chapter convenient to you, the group has many online resources and social networking opportunities that will expand your Italian contacts.
Try your hand at translation.Take a favorite book or passage from a book that is written in English, and attempt to translate it into Italian. Once you've translated it, let it set for a day or so. Then go back and translate it back into English. Errors may become more obvious and you can mark areas where you need improvement.
- There are many short stories and books available that are translated from the English to Italian. If you can find an Italian translation of an English book, try your own translation of the English into Italian, then compare it to the published translation. Mark differences and analyze the choices made by the professional translator.
- Older books may have more than one Italian edition. If you can find multiple Italian translations of the same story or book, you can compare those translations as well.
Practice writing fanfiction in Italian.Even if you don't consider yourself a strong storyteller, you can use fanfiction to improve your Italian writing skills. Take characters you already know and love, whether from another book, a movie, or a TV show, and imagine an alternative story in which they interact with each other.
- Fanfiction can be easier than writing a story from scratch, because someone else has already created the characters for you. All you have to do is create a new scenario and imagine how those characters would act in that context.
Improving Your Listening Comprehension
Listen to Italian music.While you're cooking, cleaning your house, or commuting to work, you can put Italian on in the background. Over time and through the process of immersion, your brain will begin to recognize more words.
- This method also helps you grow your vocabulary by picking up the meaning of words from the context.
- Search for Italian music on your favorite music streaming service, or look for Italian videos on YouTube for free online options.
- Radio24 is an Italian radio station that you can stream online for free. The website also has some videos and other content. Visit to stream the station live.
Watch television shows and movies in Italian.Television shows and movies give you the opportunity to listen in on a conversation. This can improve your ability to understand spoken Italian. It also gives you a better idea of how people speak in Italian on a regular basis.
- If you watch Italian television shows or movies, avoid turning on English subtitles. If you turn on subtitles at all, turn on Italian subtitles so you can read as the people are speaking. This not only works on your listening comprehension, but can improve your reading comprehension as well.
- You can watch Italian news online at . Television series and episodes are available at .
- If you have cable, or a subscription to a streaming video service (such as Netflix or Hulu), search foreign language offerings for Italian films.
Download an audiobook in Italian.Many bestsellers have audio translations in other languages, including Italian. Some of the sites that offer free ebooks in Italian also offer audiobooks. Major ebook retailers, including Amazon, also have audiobooks in Italian.
- If you have a limited budget, look for free or bargain-priced audiobooks. You can also access audiobooks through your local library.
If you want to learn to read Italian, start by reading Italian children’s books. These have simple grammar and vocabulary, so you’ll be able to comprehend them more easily. Keep an Italian-English dictionary nearby to look up words you don’t know, and make flashcards from words you’re having trouble remembering. As you get comfortable reading those, progress to short stories, then novels and Italian newspapers.
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