When it comes to learning Italian, it never hurts to pick up a guide to traveler’s Italian to learn basic expressions like: Ciao! (Hello!) Come stai? (How are you?) Buona sera. (Good afternoon/Good evening). Buona notte! (Good night!) Quanto costa? (How much is this?) Bello! (Great!) Mi piace! (I like it!)
If you have the passion to learn Italian and want to become fluent, all the better! In my opinion there is no one way or one golden method. It is a multi-layered process. You have to read, write, listen and speak the language everyday to build your vocabulary and feel at ease using it. Of course, it’s fun to practice when you are in Italy, no matter your level of proficiency. The Italians are very gracious about people who try and speak Italian when they are learning Italian — even beginners.
At first, I concentrated primarily on grammar through books and tapes like Penton Seas “Learn in your Car” Audio tapes and Transparent Language Books and tapes. After gaining confidence with the language and after getting over my anxiety to open my mouth to utter Italian words out loud, I began to look for more ways to incorporate the language into my daily life. These days, even if you can’t travel all the time to Italy, or can’t find a language class nearby that fits into your busy schedule, it is very easy to create your own immersion experience, thanks to the Internet. There are numerous online language courses, such as Cyber Italian and Rocket Languages, where you can learn on-line at your own pace. I also recommend language forums like Impariamo and LiveMocha, where you can find Italians to practice and converse with.
If you are inspired, and want to further your immersion, you can read Italian giornali online, watch Italian YouTube Music videos & Italian television programs on RAI or practice your listening comprehension with on-line programs such as Yabla and Maxmondo Audio Rivista. You can also listen to streaming online Italian radio stations and watch Italian films with subtitles, to accustom your ear to hearing spoken Italian.
If you need more ideas feel free to drop by my blog “Diario di una Studentessa Matta” (which I write in Italian and English) where you will find a longer list of sites and products and many incentives that I personally recommend to help you in your journey to learn the Italian language. There is a proverb that says by learning a new language you gain a new soul. I say by learning a new language you gain new friends and you enrich your life! Viva la lingua! Buon apprendimento… e buon viaggio! Ciao!
GUEST BLOGGER BIO: Melissa Muldoon is a freelance graphic designer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through her firm, Melissa Design, she creates graphics for Web & print. Raised in the Midwest, she studied studio art & history at Knox College and has a Masters in Art History from the University of Illinois at Champaign. During college she participated in a study abroad program in Florence and discovered a country full of history, culture and tradition, yet overflowing with contemporary style and idiosyncrasies. She writes the blog Diario di una studentessa matta in Italian to continue improving her Italian and to share stories, travel adventures & news of Italy. You can also find her on Facebook.com/studentessamatta and on Twitter @italiamelissa.