Think in Italian by Stefano Lodola
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When it comes to how to learn a new language, there is no right answer.
With so many options for your language journey, it’s no surprise that choosing a learning style or method can be overwhelming!
Of the millions of people who speak and study Italian as a non-native language, you’ll find folks who have used all sorts of resources to learn the language, some free,
some fairly cheap, and some more financial investment.
There isn’t one single tool that will teach you everything you need to be proficient in Italian, all in one tidy package.
In reality, you’re probably going to end up using a collection of tools to cover all the angles: from learning the grammar, perfecting your pronunciation, to building your vocabulary.
There’s no right combination, and it’s up to you to decide which methods work best for you.
Most new learners get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Italian language resources.
It’s a fairly flooded market – there are plenty of Italian language courses, books, and products to choose from.
This can be stressful.
I always say that before you can start learning Italian, you need to get a clear picture of what’s available.
Allow yourself some time – a few days at least – to research products, read reviews, and create a list for yourself.
It’s quality over quantity.
You can go and buy half a dozen books on Italian that are all mediocre at best and that’s not going to help you more than one excellent book.
The same goes for online courses and products.
Let’s assume you’re a beginner, with no significant experience of learning a foreign language.
Know that, starting out, you might make bad decisions – pay for materials that don’t suit you, for example.
Know also that most people beginning with their first foreign language will soon give up.
Setting inappropriate goals is typical (“I want to understand everything I hear”, “I need to be able to speak fluently!”).
Resist the urge to translate in your head and say the sentence to yourself in English.
Some people say you know you’ve learned a language when you start to dream in it, and this is the very definition of not translating.
During the language-learning process, translating will only hold you back and lead to confusion.
Your goal should be to think of Italian words as words themselves, not as some code to decipher.
It’s a waste of time to aimlessly memorize vocab lists, especially as they tend to be lists of obscure words that are often not relevant to you.
As your Italian improves, chances are you will be able to make an educated guess as to the meaning of words from their context.
So don’t memorize lists of random vocabulary, instead focus on choosing the words that you’re most likely to use in real conversations.
This way you will learn more useful words in a more organic way.
A fear of making mistakes is one of your greatest enemies as a language-learner.
It can be intimidating to speak a new language at first, but it’s much better to try and fail than not to try at all.
In most cases, people will still understand you even if you make some minor mistakes.
When it comes to improving your spoken Italian, practice makes perfect!