So you want to learn how to speak Italian? Admirable goal.
Learning to speak in a new language can be a exciting adventure. It can also be insanely joy inducing at times. At frustratingly depressing at other times. But at the end of the day, you’ve learned something many wouldn’t dare. Not to mention, its something that will stay with you (like all education).
Let me give you a few tips to make the road of how to speak Italian fluently at least a bit easier.
Learn The Basics of Grammar
I know, I know. You hated grammar the most when you were in school and could never learn a language. But fear not.
When I say learn the basics of grammar, I mean you need to learn the bare minimum to be able to understand caveman Italian.
What is caveman Italian you may ask? Simply put its when you speak Italian at the lowest level you possibly can while still being intelligible. When you are beginner, many native speakers will help you out and speak at a low level t help you. Grammar is the key to being able to do this.
Most of the words you’ll be using towards the beginning will be nouns and verbs. For that reason, you shouldn’t have to learn more of the intricate rules of grammar.
Also actually using and hearing grammar being used “in the wild” helps cement the structures in your mind. Once the structures are cemented it makes it easier to come and stack more grammar on top of it.
Also having the necessary grammar makes the next section a lot easier to happen naturally.
The part that usually trips people up.
Many times in a language there are 2000 words that make up 80% of the language that is typically used. The bad part is the other 20% has most of the meaning. The solution? Increase your vocabulary past that.
Trust me, the number looks large, but once you get into the nitty-gritty it won’t seem so daunting. Also with getting your caveman Italian ready to both speak and listen, you will start to automatically remember words.
You’ll speak with someone and since your vocabulary is small, they will inevitably use a word you haven’t heard before. You’ll do one of two things there. You will ask them to explain it simpler. Or (this happens more as you get better) you’ll figure it our from context and not even realize it.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been listening to someone and they’ve said I word I’ve never studied. After the conversation I’ll ask myself, “How the hell did I know that.” Its actually a great feeling.
But you don’t have to be limited to just picking up words naturally. You’re an adult, so you can hack your Italian learning a bit. By learning on purpose along with learning buy using, the results will compound and you’ll become better and better at speaking. Yayyy!
Increase Listening Comprehension
This part is going to deinflate some people, but hear me out and don’t just stop reading.
You need to listen a lot. I mean a lot a lot. Even when you don;t fully understand you need to listen. You exercise your brain and give it a chance to figure out these sounds you keep throwing at it.
Doing it for a few minutes on Saturday is not gonna cut it.
Because the hardest part about speaking isn’t actually speaking. The hardest part is understanding what has been said so that you can further the conversation.
So listening comprehension and vocabulary are actually the most important to keep a conversation flowing.
So my prescription is simply listen more. Whenever you have free time and aren’t tired, just listen. Even the act of passive listening has its place.
This is one of the only parts of language that can’t really be hacked. the good part is that once you’ve listened for a while and have picked up the rhythm of the language, it’ll become even easier to separate strings of words and will help your vocabulary and grammar.
Get Pronunciation Down From The Start
If listening comprehension and vocabulary were most important to keep a conversation flowing. Then pronunciation is most important in getting your point across. You can always dumb down what you want to say into words that you understand.
Even if you had the vocab of a Italian college professor, if the words you say sound like gibberish it doesn’t matter.
Simply do it from the beginning so that it won’t be a major point later on.
Also an added benefit of listening more to Italian is your mind will become more accustomed to it and be able to produce it even more native sounding. So start off on the right foot and let it naturally get better.
Make Native Speaking Friends
This is mainly for motivation. If you have people you want to speak with in Italian you’ll make the effort to speak more. Bonus points if they’re older and speak no English. You’ll have to speak Italian to better your relationship.
A somewhat depressing option (but unavoidable sometimes) if you are not near many native speakers is to treat television characters as your friends. You can converse in your mind.
Get Out Their And Speak
The number one action step. All the other tips mean nothing if you don’t do this.
Its amazing how often people want to be fluent at speaking but refuse to speak because they aren’t fluent.
Adults become sheltered and are afraid to look foolish. Don’t be like that. Don’t be afraid to fail from time to time. Failure is not failure forever. Its just feedback. You know what you will do next time and that’s fine.
If you just go out there and do it you’ll find yourself having fun learning how to speak Italian.
The way the cycle should work is this:
But its going to take you making that very first step. I know you can do it though.
Conclusion: How To Speak Italian
As you can see. Learning how to speak Italian doesn’t just happen, but that shouldn’t dissuade you. It is extremely rewarding to be able to speak another language.
If that whetted your appetite to begin learning Italian please take a look at How to Learn Italian if you feel ready to get started becoming a Italian speaking fool.