Ciao a tutti!
I am new to LingQ but I really love the site and would like to become more active. I have been studying Italian for about 4 months now (kind of ashamed to admit because I feel my progress has been quite slow) and I am now living in Florence, Italy. I just arrived today.
I will be in Italy for at least 1 year and hopefully 3+ years. I would love to become “fluent” while I am here.
I just had a few questions I was hoping someone that is more experienced could answer for me.
What other materials would you recommend studying outside of using lingQ?
Is there any way around messing up SO much when first starting to speak? I ask this because even after studying at home for the last 4 months, when I open my mouth to ask someone a question or respond to a question, everything falls apart and I can’t spit out what I want to say (even though if I think about it afterwords I can come up with what I “should” have said). I just don’t really see how it is beneficial to try and speak when you really can hardly even come up with a word…
Any other advice you can give me to learn more? I love how this language sounds and really hope that one day I will be able to produce it and make it sound at least close to as beautiful as the locals do.
Ciao e grazie mille!
The first point: for study materials outside of LingQ, read anything and everything you can get your hands on… You are in Italy (lucky you!), so take advantage of the bookstores. Read, read, read. Listen constantly to radio podcasts, i.e., talk shows. Go to the cafes–eavesdrop!
In response to your second point: I think it is important for beginners to start speaking within a controlled environment/situation; for example, practicing 1-on-1 with a private teacher/tutor. This way, you are pressure free to commit all sorts of mistakes: no embarrassment, no anxiety, no worry. You get the practice in, you get used to speaking to a real person, and you get your ears trained for real talk. The teacher/tutor is there to help guide and coach you. Working 1-on-1, on a regular basis (2-3x times weekly), along with intense reading and listening, will help launch you into the real world of speaking and fluency.
Also don’t get discouraged from your first few interactions. Keep at it. You will gradually start to be able to respond during the conversation. Enjoy!
Make friends who don’t speak English. In Italy this is very easy to do.
Thanks for the replies.
Sure there are a lot of people that don’t speak English but… easy to make friends with people when you barely speak their language? I have a hard time believing people are so patient… anyways, maybe you are different, but I have a hard enough time meeting new people in my own language!
Kadin, are you living together with other English native speakers, right now? If so, that is something which could very much slow down your progress in Italian.
The ideal situation would be that you live with an Italian family, or in a shared apartment with some Italian native speakers. If you are having lots of regular daily contact with native speakers, and if you are making a serious effort to learn Italian (by whatever means) you should have basic fluency within 4 to 6 months. After 3 years of full immersion you should be near-native.
However the sole fact of living in a country doesn’t cut it - you MUST have continual heavy exposure to the language and frequent communication in the language with native speakers.
I agree J_for_Jones! I spent 6 months traveling around in South America and knew very little Spanish when I was done. I do NOT want this to happen again.
I am currently living with an English speaking american because it was the only place I could find from abroad. I am looking for a better situation with Italian native speakers. I have been studying Italian for about 4 months now so I really hope I can get to basic fluency within 2 months or so.
I decided to sign up for Conversation Exchange and have already been in contact with a couple people. Hopefully I can meet some native speakers that way while I am looking for a place to live.
Thanks for your advice!
I’m sure you’ll have great success - three years is a fairly long time to spend in a foreign country. It’s an excellent opportunity for you.
hi Kadin, where do you live exactly in Italy? If you want i can help you with your Italian.
Firenze, che bella città, ma purtroppo non ci sono mai stato… Forse un giorno…
Ciao Kadin, I agree with you that finding friends while you have a giant language barrier between you can be a difficult and daunting thing, but it is certainly doable. One thing you could try is looking for meetups, such as couchsurfing meetups and the like, on topics or activities that interest you. If you share a great common interest with someone (such as a sport, hobby, etc) then communicating becomes much more fun and interesting, and the language barrier starts to crumble a bit.
I would suggest focusing your vocabulary study on these topics as well, so for example if you join a foosball league, read up on some foosball blogs in italian (calcio balilla, billiardino) to get the lingo right before heading to your first meetup. (attento, il “gancio” è vietato in certi posti!)
@odiernod: “…Firenze, che bella città, ma purtroppo non ci sono mai stato… Forse un giorno…”
Yes, Florence - la citta’ del rinascimento! But then, the whole of Italy reaches some deep parts of the human soul
Scusate, non avevo letto bene la parte iniziale!
How well do you understand Italians when they speak? If you don’t understand what people are saying, this is going to be a huge barrier for you. This is what I have found living in Austria. I don’t know what Italians are like, but when I am with a group of Austrians, they will do their best to speak English with each other so that I can understand. When they speak German, they then feel really guilty for being rude, even if I tell them it’s ok because I want to learn. This would not be a problem if I understood what they were saying, even if I spoke like crap. Comprehension is the most important thing, at least for me. I don’t worry about inflicting my terrible speaking on native speakers; I worry about inflicting my terrible comprehension on them.
Odeirnod good suggestion on the meetups… I will check that out.
Colin, I am getting better. It really depends on who is speaking. There are SO many different dialects and some of them I can only catch a word here and there (if that)… Sometimes I feel like they aren’t even speaking Italian! Most the time I can get the just of what people are saying though.
I appreciate all the comments and believe I will be successful in my pursuit to learn Italian. I am going to keep using lingQ as must as possible, do language exchanges, and try to find some local meetup groups. I am living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and learning the most beautiful language! Weeee! =)
che bello che sei in italia . anch’io vivo a firenze pero ora sono in mexico voglio imparare spagnolo quindi volevo cambiare di paese per imparare un altra lingua , la cosa piu importante per imparare italiano e’ farti nuovi amici che ti possono aiutare !!
good luck in everything.
and florence is beautiful city , i love it!!