Italian Self-Study: Learn Italian on your Own

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Maybe you want to learn Italian to surprise an Italian friend, or to be able to visit the beautiful Italian seaside and chat with the locals…

Anyways, do you really need to find a reason for learning one of the most beautiful languages in the world?

So, you’ve decided you want to learn Italian, but now you realize you don’t want to take a course or even private lessons… Is it possible to learn a foreign language on your own? Of course, it is!

In this Italian self-study guide, I’ll talk about how to do it properly and I’ll give you all the resources you need to start learning right now!

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Italian Self-Study: How to Start

Of course, language learning is a never-ending process, but one thing is for sure: you need to start somewhere.

Studying a language can be fun and all, but I can assure you, there will come a time when you’re tired, or just can’t find the motivation.

The first thing to do is make a commitment with yourself: set some sort of schedule (For example, “I will study 20 minutes every day.”) and stick to it.

It will be hard sometimes but believe me, it will be so rewarding!

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Italian Self-Study: the Right Resources

Once you’ve made the commitment, use the first few days to explore the tools you’ll be using in your Italian learning journey. Here are some basic resources you must check out before starting studying Italian on your own:

  • A great starting point is to find a good online dictionary. The Internet is full of them. Depending on your native language, you will find one that works for you. You can also use resources like Reverso or Linguee, called contextual dictionaries, which offer a wide range of language combinations and allow you to translate various words at a time, including sentences and idioms.
  • Then, if you’re anything like me, you’ll need a course to give you some structure. I believe an audio course is the best tool to get used to listening to spoken Italian and practice without getting bored.
  • Of course, it is always good to have a grammar bible. This will help you reinforce what you learn in the audio course and it will do wonders for your spoken language, too. I know, most people think grammar is boring, but trust me, it can be fun to take in small doses, and you will understand and remember so much more if you have some basic grammar knowledge. It can really make a difference in your Italian adventure.
  • You can also download a language-learning app on your phone to practice on the go, everywhere you are. Duolingo is perhaps one of the best-known apps for learning foreign languages. The Italian version combines traditional flashcards with progressive technology to get you speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Italian. It’s an enjoyable and efficient way to practice Italian in short bursts every day.

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Italian Self-Study: What To Focus On

Once you start learning, you’ll realize that… Well, there is a lot to learn! So what should you focus on?

Of course, the answer is not the same for everyone. If you’re learning Italian to be able to read La Divina Commedia you will not focus on the same aspects of language learning as if you just want to be able to order a coffee while you’re in Italy!

My guess is most people probably want to learn Italian… to be able to speak it! (If you also want to read Dante, you’re amazing!)

So, it’s that simple: focus on listening and speaking! Speaking is actually the most widely overlooked of all skills in language courses, but not in all of them.

In Ripeti con me you’ll listen and repeat, making the process of learning interactive and intuitive.

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You’ll be surprised when you realize you’ve learned grammar and vocabulary effortlessly, just by following this course, and even more so when you’ll start actually thinking in Italian!

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Italian Self-Study: How to Keep it Up

Now you have a routine, a great course to follow, a bite-sized grammar bible, a great online dictionary, and an app to practice while you wait for the bus… What more?

Another great way of introducing Italian into your day to day life and keeping you motivated is to watch Italian news (here you find slow Italian News for learners), listen to podcasts on topics you are interested in, and read, even if it’s recipes online, short stories for Italian students or even children’s books!

And of course, it’s never too early to start listening to and conversing with native speakers. If you don’t have any Italian friends, just find the nearest Italian café or restaurant and start practicing with their staff.

And remember, don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

Yes, you will make them, for sure, as we all do when learning a foreign language! But, as we say in Italy, sbagliando s’impara!

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!


Italian language tutor, course author, and polyglot. After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. With my method, you'll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.

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