I’m learning to speak Italian – again!!! I’ve had several attempts over the years and am determined to achieve a decent level of conversational Italian this time. My husband was born in Italy and came to Australia when he was 4 years old – 64 years ago. He did not return until 2004 when we visited his Uncle (Zio), Aunt (Zia) and Cousins (cugini) – see I do know some words.
That visit was wonderful in many ways. He reconnected with his mother’s family after decades and they welcomed us with open arms.
The only down side was that I wouldn’t let him out of my sight as I couldn’t speak the language!! If he needed the bathroom, I would be left to use sign language to communicate with his relatives. He had been brought up speaking Italian at home so that made the trip much easier. However, he and I have never had the patience for him to teach me.
I tried learning again with a wonderful friend of ours, Luciana who had been friends of the family since they met in the Immigration camp when they arrived from Italy in 1952. Luciana was a Roman, she always stressed that and only spoke the ‘true Italian’. Italy has different dialects but most people use the Roman version of the language. Unfortunately, Luciana became ill with cancer and passed away last year so our lessons came to an end.
I have started again now, it is third time lucky – I hope! I’ve recently found a free – yes free no strings attached – course online and am determined to complete it this time. I’m studying through FutureLearn.com.
Strategies for Learning a New Language
Learning a new language can be fun but it does take commitment. It is easy to give up because of frustration and impatience. However, learning is good for our mental health and helps keep our brains active which is important as we age.
1. Forget being self-conscious
One of my biggest problems is overcoming my self-conscious feeling of speaking in another language. I’m concerned I sound too ‘Australian’, I don’t pronounce the words correctly or people will laugh at me. These thought patterns definitely hold you back.
My advice is to just jump in a start speaking. vocaroo.com is a website where you can record yourself speaking and then replay it back. We actually had to use this in the lessons and at first I was hesitant but then I thought ‘what the heck, I’ll give it a go’. It is a great tool and really helpful when you listen to yourself you can see where you need to improve. For me, I was speaking too slowly but that will improve as I become more familiar.
2. Make the time and set a timeframe
In previous attempts at learning Italian, I have never actually made the time to consistently review and practice. I would start out with great intentions and then fall off track. I now schedule in half an hour each day. With 168 hours in a week, surely I can fit in 3.5 for practice.
Setting a timeframe is also good – booking a holiday to the destination of the language you are learning is a fabulous way to put a timeframe in place.
3. Practice, practice, practice
Find someone who speaks the language and is willing to have a conversation with you – online, friends, family. There are a couple of ladies in the same course as me who live in my area so as we learn more we will meet up and try to put our learnings into practice.
Reading children’s books which are written in the language you are learning is another good way to become familiar with words. Children’s books are less overwhelming.
Listen to news or programs in the language so you become familiar with the sound of the language.It is never too late to start learning........plus it keeps your brain active.Click To Tweet
Ciao!!! A presto! (I hope you are impressed!)
What language would you like to learn? Can you speak other languages already?
Let’s Keep Sizzling!