Today I wanted to share some advanced Italian learning techniques with you that I have put together to really take your Italian to the next level! These techniques have helped me not only really learn the language, but learn it well enough to be able to teach it to you. Please note that these are advanced methods that require a good command of the language already. If you're just starting out, I would not recommend starting with these techniques. If you can already converse and you have a decent base in Italian, these will help you take your Italian to the next level very quickly!
A few of these methods involve using a native speaker. If you don't have any native Italian friends to help you, no worries! There are several different apps that you can use but two in particular that you can download and that I have used in the past that will help you tremendously!
The first is called HelloTalk which I love so much that I wrote a whole blog post about it. Check out the post here for my full overview or click here to download the free app!
The second application is actually a website called italki where you can find and chat with native speakers via Skype. They have free partners you can find or you can pay someone to meet with you for a very reasonable rate. If you sign up for italki with my link, you'll get a free $10 after you spend $10! You can check it out here!
1) 2 Minutes Timed Conversation with a Native Speaker
Have them ask you any type of question to begin...some examples might be, "Why do you like learning new languages?" or "What do you love most about Italy and why do you want to go there?", and then for two minutes (remember to use a timer) answer their question.
The benefit of this is that you are able to use and create full phrases instead of just short answers. Having a conversation is one thing, but speaking for 2 minutes straight without stopping is much different! If you have any mistakes in your response, have them pause the timer to stop you and correct your wording.
Once you understand the right way to say what they mentioned you can continue. This teaches your brain the correct way to say the mistake you made so that you are more likely to remember it in the future.
2) MosaLingua Flashcards
MosaLingua is an app that let's you create flashcards for whatever it is you are wanting to learn such as words and phrases. I am really opposed to one word flashcards, BUT putting entire phrases on there so that you are able to see and hear the entire phrase is really beneficial to your language learning process! So when you hear a new phrase that you like and want to integrate into your Italian vocabulary, just add it to the app and go over them every day. Click here to download MosaLingua!
3) Listening to Advanced Italian Podcasts and Videos
Find podcasts and video that you like and interest you! Try and notice the words and phrases that are new to you, write them down and then use them! Add these new words and phrases to your flashcards in MosaLingua as mentioned above and repeat them constantly.
4) Writing Everyday in Italian
This could be a journal, daily thoughts, or really about anything. If you are already someone who writes a daily journal, write in English on one side and then translate it into Italian and vice versa. If you don't have a journal, start one in Italian!
The best way to use this technique is to have a native Italian speaker correct it for you every so often, maybe once a week, so you can see your progress and ensure that you are using all the words and phrases in the most Italian way possible. This will really help fine tune your writing!
You can write a few sentences, a few paragraphs, or a multiple pages. Obviously, more is better if you want to improve quicker, but the key to this is just making sure it is something you are doing everyday, no matter how much you write.
5) Reading Everyday in Italian
Reading is what can really help build your vocabulary as you discover and learn new words. The most important factor when doing this is that you read something that you enjoy. You wouldn't read about a subject that you hate in your native language, so don't force yourself to do it in a language that you are learning! If the topic doesn't interest you, you are less likely to learn anything from it. Also, don't pick something that is so easy you don't learn, yet so difficult that you don't understand anything. Pick something just a little outside your comfort zone and you'll do great.
6) Shadowing Italian Audio
Listen to advanced Italian podcasts or watch YouTube videos as mentioned in technique #3, but this time, as the speaker is talking, speak along with them and mimic everything they say. You will not only be advancing your vocabulary, but you will be able to hear the proper way words and phrases that are said in Italian. You also pick up the rhythm of how they speak. If you have the text along with the audio/video, speak with them as they say each sentence. This may be hard at first, but the more you do it the easier it becomes!
7) Repeat Italian Audio aloud
This is similar to shadowing but the main difference here is that you wait and repeat the phrase aloud AFTER they've said it. You will give yourself a chance to really hear something and then repeat it exactly. You can even pause the audio after phrases and repeat or just let the audio play and repeat in between their own natural pausing.
8) Speak Italian Daily
You can do this alone by just speaking out loud to yourself, or with friends. If you're alone, talk to yourself about your day, say out loud what you are doing or any thoughts that you may have.
If you have Italian speaking friends, chat with them or talk with a native speaker on HelloTalk or italki. Look to use phrases that sound more authentic, more 'Italian', when you are speaking. This obviously works best if you are able to converse with someone, but even talking to yourself allows you to hear and practice your Italian and perfect your vocabulary so that it becomes second-nature.
9) Learn Another Language with an italian base
Yup. This will really make you understand Italian on a deep level. For example, I am currently learning Portuguese, but I'm learning with the base of Italian. What does that mean? It means that all my translations are in Italian and NOT English.
Different concepts and phrases are being explain in advanced Italian which is helping me learn new words or new phrases. This is also solidifying my vocabulary through reading in a different language. My brain connects, that "this is how you say *word* in Portuguese, and this is how you say *word* in Italian." Not using English as the base has really helped me gain an even better understanding of both Italian and Portuguese.
In doing this, you will also be reading a lot more as well so this technique is great because you get multiple techniques in one! It will certainly make your Italian top notch. As I mentioned, I am learning Portuguese, but you can do this if you're learning French, Spanish, Chinese, or any other language. This will really help solidify and improve your learning of both Italian and the new language.
These are techniques that I have used in the past and continue to use to this day to take my Italian to the next level and they have each really helped me in my learning and fine tuning process. You don't have to use all 9 everyday, but choose a few and implement them into your daily routine. The more you do the faster you'll accelerate your learning!
Learning a language is a lifetime endeavour and it never stops. I continue to learn new things in English all the time and Italian is no different. Love the process! You'll only get better :)
Like I mentioned before, I only recommend implementing these strategies and techniques when you have become really comfortable with Italian. You should have a firm grasp on the language and be able to converse in Italian and understand fairly easily. Doing these will really help you take it to the next level!
If you like this content, please share it with your friends or someone else who is on the journey of learning to speak Italian!
Leave me a comment below and tell me which technique you like most or which you are most excited to begin!