Why should you think in Italian?
What kind of language learner are you?
Do you prefer to memorize tons of new words and expressions and struggle with grammar notes?
Or do you set the fear of making mistakes apart and try to speak from day one?
The method you use doesn’t really matter as long as you enjoy it and find it helpful.
However, there’s a way to become fluent in Italian and express yourself with ease, and that’s stopping translating in your head first.
Thinking in Italian is a boost to your fluency. It improves your confidence and allows you to speak effortlessly.
If you think in Italian, you’ll stop translating in your native language and think too much about each word you say.
Speaking will become natural, and it will be a pleasure to have a conversation with locals.
However, it isn’t easy: thinking in a foreign language requires effort, patience, and constant practice.
How to start thinking in Italian?
Firstly, let me tell you that if you want to think in Italian, you need to be committed.
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This means that you need to have strong motivation and create a learning routine.
Having a routine and being motivated allow you to stick to your learning plan.
I suggest you write down the reasons why you want to learn Italian and establish a plan to follow (for example, taking an Italian class once a week or practicing for 20 minutes every day).
My advice is to study Italian on a daily basis: it is better to practice every day (even for five minutes!) than to do a long, intense study session every now and then.
Having a schedule is the first essential requirement to start learning Italian for real. Let’s see some additional tips that can help you think in Italian.
Learn basic Italian words and phrases
When you learn any foreign language, you start with the basics: how to introduce yourself, express your needs, etc.
That’s why it is essential to learn some basic Italian words and phrases and put them in context.
Putting a word in context means being able to recognize the appropriate situation to use a specific word – meanwhile, you will also learn related vocabulary.
You might wonder how many Italian words you have to learn. The answer is that you don’t need a lot of words to speak Italian fluently: instead, you can learn the most common Italian words and combine them to create a phrase.
For example, you can start with the 1000 most common Italian words.
You can learn an Italian word (or more if you want) every day. Try to include the words you learn in your practice – you’ll see that in a short time, it will be natural to use them.
Watch Italian videos
We spend a huge amount of time scrolling our phones or digital devices – so why don’t you try to use such devices wisely and watch videos in Italian?
You can watch Netflix or YouTube in Italian or also watch Italian TV without subtitles.
That’s a great way to improve your listening comprehension and learn new Italian vocabulary in a fun and enjoyable way.
Reading is another powerful way to start thinking in your target language – it helps you expand your vocabulary, create new connections between the words you know, and learn new cultural facts.
If you’re a book lover, you can find some easy Italian books and enjoy a good read while learning the language.
Or you can also read the news in Italian, which is a great way to stay updated about Italian culture and society.
Discover the best free resources to read the news in Italian.
Do you want to challenge yourself and start reading in Italian? Have a look at this list of 36 Italian readings.
Speak a lot!
Speaking is one of the best ways to improve your Italian fluency.
Speaking helps you improve your Italian pronunciation and self-confidence and speeds up your learning process.
There are several ways to practice your spoken Italian. Taking online Italian lessons with a tutor is one of those: you have the chance to practice your fluency and get feedback about your mistakes.
If you don’t want to attend classes, you can also go to language exchange events or find a language learning mate.
Attending events is a way to meet new people and socialize, but if you’re a bit shy or cannot find anyone who speaks Italian, you can also talk to yourself.
Let me tell you that it doesn’t seem silly (as some of you may think!). Talking to yourself implies turning an input (like reading, writing, or listening) into speaking.
This means that you can read something aloud or repeat the words you hear (for example, sing along to an Italian song).
How can you practice talking to yourself? Learn more about it at the link.
My favorite app to start thinking in Italian
So far, I haven’t mentioned any Italian courses, language classes or apps for Italian learning. This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in apps, though.
However, I don’t rely on them alone to learn a foreign language – I believe that they should be combined with constant and strategic practice.
When it comes to learning Italian, several apps are worth giving a try (you can have a look at them in the best apps to learn Italian section).
In this post, I’d like to focus on Ripeti con me. In my opinion, it is one of the most effective apps to start thinking in Italian.
Ripeti con me is an audio course run by a native Italian speaker. In each lesson, you listen along to some Italian sentences and repeat them after a short time interval.
In this way, you give your brain the time to process the information and recall it later – that’s an approach based on the active recall and spaced repetition techniques, and it allows you to stick the sentences you hear into your long-term memory.
You have the chance to learn the correct Italian pronunciation by mimicking a native speaker and to learn new Italian vocabulary gradually (without stressing too much about memorization).
The lessons are interactive, fun, and engaging, and that’s a plus when it comes to language learning.
Taking engaging lessons is crucial for your learning process as it makes you improve smoothly while enjoying the process.
What’s more, the audios gradually go from a simpler to a more advanced level: that’s a strategic approach to make you progress constantly and with no apparent effort.
Besides, this course comes with a community forum-specific design for Italian students where you can exercise what you’ve learned, practice writing and conversational skills, and ask questions.
Do you want to speak Italian? Learn more about Ripeti con me audio course.
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!