What’s the best way to learn spoken Italian?
Italian, Italiano or lingua Italiana [ is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian is, by most measures and together with Sardinian, the closest language to Latin, from which it descends via Vulgar Latin. Italian is a national, or de facto national, official language in Italy, Switzerland (Ticino and the Grisons), San Marino, and Vatican City. It has official minority status in western Istria (Croatia and Slovenia).
Italian is a major European language, being one of the official languages of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and one of the working languages of the Council of Europe. It is the second most widely spoken native language in the European Union with 67 million speakers (15% of the EU population) and it is spoken as a second language by 13.4 million EU citizens (3%). Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland, Albania and the United Kingdom) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is approximately 85 million. Italian is the main working language of the Holy See, serving as the lingua franca (common language) in the Roman Catholic hierarchy as well as the official language of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Italian is known as the language of music because of its use in musical terminology and opera; numerous Italian words referring to music have become international terms taken into various languages worldwide. Its influence is also widespread in the arts and in the food and luxury goods markets.
Italian was adopted by the state after the Unification of Italy, having previously been a literary language based on Tuscan as spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and, to some minor extent, by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. The incorporation into Italian of learned words from its own ancestor language, Latin, is another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language, scientific terminology and the liturgical language of the Church.
In Italy, almost all the other languages spoken as the vernacular—other than standard Italian and some languages spoken among immigrant communities—are often imprecisely called “Italian dialects”, even though they are quite different, with some belonging to different linguistic branches.
The only exceptions to this are twelve groups considered “historical language minorities”, which are officially recognized as distinct minority languages by the law. On the other hand, Corsican (a language spoken on the French island of Corsica) is closely related to medieval Tuscan, from which Standard Italian derives and evolved. Italian dialects form a continuum of intelligibility, with the geographically distant ones being mutually unintelligible.
Let's see how we make it work for us!
Make new friends. If you have Italian speaking people around you at gym, workplace, etc, it might be a wonderful idea to make friends with them, so that you are able to converse a lot more than what you will do alone at home or with a conversation speaker who you could possibly speak with a maximum of an hour at a proposed time!
Find reasons to speak Italian. It could be as simple as going out shopping to Italian Shops; being forced to Read Labels on Items that you want to buy, or Speaking with the Staff in Italian, or Volunteer to Work in the Italian community around you or join an Italian Speaking Club or any Italian Getogethers
Find conversation partners around yourself in your neighbourhood, if there aren’t any, then seek them online through Hello Talk, Italki, Conversationpartner, Languagepartner, Tandem and many more to choose from as per your convenience.
Watch Italian movies with English subtitles or titles in your native language, and alternatively watch the same movie dubbed in your native or English language with Italian subtitles to understand it better.
Do you listen to all and any kind of relevant audio clip that you are able to find online whether it is a Talk Show, News, Video Blogs, Cookery Show, Documentaries, Travel, Animal Planet, or anything of your interest which you could listen to! Try listening to it a couple of times to get acclimatized to their speech and accent.
Follow this up with the Shadowing Technique where you mimic the dialogues for the speech and accent that you just heard. Also if possible keep a transcript of the video that you watch handy, to verify, after a few times of watching, if your intuitive understanding about the entire video is the same as the transcript.
Read a lot and read aloud. Get your hands on any relevant reading material you find online. Any kind of articles that you like to read, could be a food blog, could be an article on fashion recipes, travel health makeup and many more titles. This will ensure that you get your pronunciation correct and you also gather a lot of vocabulary for your journals and diary to maintain. You could speak to yourself in the mirror, you could speak to your pet, you could speak to a plant in the house or even your family member who is available at that very moment.
I strongly suggest and recommend that learners do not translate from their native language or English into Italian or vice versa
I also recommend learners of Italian to identify each object with its unique Italian name rather than looking for their English names and then converting them into Italian
Another very proven technique of learning to speak a language is by listening to the songs they could be anything on the Radio, YouTube a Playlist on Spotify or anywhere else. It has been proven that the patients of Alzheimer’s forget the names of near and dear family members and important incidents in their life however they are able to instantly recollect music and its lyrics when prompted!
You don’t have to be perfect to start using your Italian: You’ll learn everything a lot faster if you’re actively using your new language. Don’t expect to be perfect. The people you speak to will likely understand you, and (hopefully) they will correct you when you make mistakes. This is the holy grail of learning opportunities… try to get there as soon as possible!
Don’t get deterred from making mistakes. Mistakes are the first step to your success! Enjoy your learning process by keeping some lighter moments of listening to music and watching movies besides consistently diligently reading and writing the language this is going to ensure you have a good grasp of the Italian language.
There’s an amazing new way to learn Italian! Want to see what everyone’s talking about!