7 tips for learning a new language

buranoBurano, Venice. 

So I have a confession to make. A very embarrassing and shameful one at that. After three years of living in Italy, I am no where near fluent in Italian. I would love and wish to be, but sadly I am not.

Of course, it’s no one’s fault but my own and I take full responsibility for my lack of effort but hey learning Italian is bloody hard work!

Originally, this post was meant to be called ‘3 reasons why learning Italian is hard’. Where by, I wrote a whole load of excuses as to why I can’t speak Italian. It was a good idea, in fact the post the is already written but after some reflection I thought a more productive take on the topic would be more beneficial.

And so here it is, my top tips for learning Italian. These are just some of the things that I have found helpful since moving to Italy. Or not so helpful, if you consider I’m not fluent yet but trust me they do help. Obviously, these also apply for learning any new language, not just Italian.

1. Download Duolingo and set aside time each day to use it. The great thing about Duolingo is that it’s free, easy to use and keeps track of your progress. We already spend so much time on our phones, what’s an extra half hour or so? The website is also a great resource and offers more features such as further explanations and activities.

2. Make more local and non foreigner friends. This is definitely one of my biggest problems. All my friends here in Italy are foreigners like me or speak fluent English, so I rarely get to practice or speak Italian. Making friends with people who don’t speak English forces you to speak and listen in Italian, a great way to practice!  

3. Go to the movies and watch English films with Italian subtitles or vice versa. Each Tuesday and Wednesday night our local cinema plays movies in English and we’ve made it our little date night. It’s a great way to learn while doing something enjoyable. Often, I even find myself saying “oh I wouldn’t have said it like that” or “I didn’t know how to say that” throughout the movie. You could also dive in the deep end and fully immerse yourself and watch a movie purely in Italian.

4. Find a study or coffee buddy who wants to learn English. Meet for a coffee once or twice a week and practice your respective languages. They only speak in English and you only speak in Italian, breaking only to correct each other when needed.

5.  Keep a little notebook in your handbag or a dedicated Notes page on your phone for Italian words and phrases. You never know when you might need to quickly refresh and look up something, or even write a new phrase or word down. It’s also handy to have common sentences, questions and words for when you’re just beginning.

6. Each week google translate a handful of new words or phrases and make the effort to use them throughout the week. It’s best if you begin with phrases that you’d use on a daily basis and then gradually make them harder as you progress.

7. Practice, practice, practice. It goes without saying, the more you practice, the better you become at it and learning a new language is no exception.

And there you have it, my fool proof tips on how to learn a new language. Now to only put my handy tips to good use and learn Italian myself 😉


2 thoughts on “7 tips for learning a new language

  1. This post arrived at just the right time to feed my dream of living in Italy for a year as a writer and (hopefully) studying the language! I don’t suppose you know of any intensive or immersive language schools in the area where you live?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A year living and writing in Italy sounds amazing, you should definitely do it! As for language schools, I would definitely recommend Bertrand Russell (http://www.bertrand-russell.it/en/) in Padova. When I first moved here they were incredibly helpful and their classes are held 5 days a week from 9am to 1pm. A little bit pricey but I would assume you would get your money’s worth considering the class time. Let me know if you have any other questions =) x


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