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Are you interested in learning Italian? If so, you’re not alone, as according to the latest national census, Italian is among the ten most commonly used foreign languages in Australia. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as this beautiful language has captivated more than 13 million learners across the globe and those numbers keep increasing every year. The reason why so many people choose to study this language every year also has to do with the many advantages of becoming bilingual. One of the main benefits is that it will positively impact your social life, as once you become a proficient Italian speaker, you’ll be able to connect with the large community of Italian Australians more deeply and build wonderful friendships with some of the 67 million native speakers that are spread all over the world. On top of this, being able to communicate fluently in Italian will allow you to apply for amazing positions that require to be bilingual, so it can be a great skill to have if you want to take your career to the next level.

Regardless of why you want to study this fascinating language, if you do your life will improve in many fantastic ways. Are you ready to get started? Then take a look at this useful guide where you’ll find many tips and recommendations to become a fluent speaker as quick as possible.

Language Trainers organizes Italian courses in almost any destination!

All classes are taught by qualified, native speaker Italian trainers and can be arranged at your office or home for any day of the week (including weekends) in the morning, afternoon or evening.

1. Why Learn Italian Today

The first thing you should do in order to find the motivation you need to study Italian is to find out about all the benefits it can bring to your life. To make it easier for you, here are some of the reasons why you should start learning Italian today.

To Experience Italy Like A Native

There’s a reason why millions of people flock to Italy every year, and that’s because it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Known for its impressive architecture, it’s delicious cuisine and its sophisticated art, Italy has something for everyone. Once you master the language, you’ll be able to move through the streets of Rome, Florence or Milan like a true native, befriend locals and get to know locations that are usually kept secret from most tourists. Moreover, you’ll have a newly found respect for the local culture, as you’ll be able to understand the different celebrations, traditions and customs that make this country so unique, so what are you waiting for to get started?

Rome

Florence

Venice

Torino

Tropea

To Travel Through Europe

In addition to visiting Italy, learning this language will come in handy to get by in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, certain parts of Slovenia and Croatia, so if you love travelling, studying Italian is a really smart choice. It can even help you understand countries where they speak other Romance languages like French, Portuguese or Spanish, as these have many similarities with Italian, so you’ll be able to make yourself understood in most of the continent without any difficulties.

To Access New Job Opportunities

If you’re currently in between jobs and are tired of only being eligible for the same low-paying positions, learning Italian is one of the smartest things you could do to reverse this situation. Once you can speak Italian confidently, you’ll be able to apply for great positions in some of the best Italian companies that operate from Australia, such as Saipem, Enel and Luxottica, or get a high-paying job in some of the multinationals that are constantly looking for bilinguals to help them expand abroad. On the other hand, if you own a business, speaking Italian will allow you to attract more clients that are part of the large foreign-born community, as well as take advantage of the successful economic relations between Australia and Italy, that in 2019 alone accounted for more than 11.1 billion dollars in bilateral trade.

”Our instructor helps us immensely in understanding and overcoming so many of the nuances that are present in the Italian language.”

Steve Meyer - Italian course in Las Vegas

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2. Is Italian Hard to Learn?

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Italian language is that it’s a tough language to master, especially for English speakers. However, this is far from the truth, as with a little effort, anybody can become a fluent Italian speaker. In fact, according to the American Foreign Service Institute, Italian is one of the easiest Romance languages for English speakers to learn, so it can be a great language choice if you’ve never studied a foreign language before. Nevertheless, there are a couple of things you should do to ensure your success, so if you want to become a proficient speaker, take a look at the following recommendations.

  • Get the help of a qualified teacher: one of the first things you should do is find a native Italian teacher. By doing this, you won’t have to waste time looking for updated resources online or at a public library, and instead will have someone who can create engaging lessons based on your needs and goals. On top of that, getting a teacher is the best way to stay motivated through the whole learning process, as they’ll be able to give you the support you need to overcome the challenging aspects of learning a new language, and help you become fluent as fast as possible.

  • Be consistent: although it takes the average student only twenty-four weeks to achieve basic fluency, many people end up quitting before that because they find it hard to be consistent. To avoid this, you should devote a certain amount of hours every week to work on your vocabulary, pronunciation or grammar and use time-management methods such as the Pomodoro technique, which can make a huge difference in your productivity.

  • Stay curious: a key to becoming fluent is to stay curious throughout the whole learning process, so read as much as you can about the language, watch films in Italian, talk to natives and ask your teacher as many questions as you possibly can. The more you immerse yourself in the language, the more fascinating things you’ll find out about it, which is a great way to keep motivated enough to reach all your goals.

If you do all these things, you’ll master the language in no time. Need help finding a suitable tutor? Then simply contact us and we’ll pair you up with one of our native Italian teachers.

3. Different Italian Dialects

Although most learners start with Standard Italian, there are plenty of dialects and regional variants that you can explore. In fact, before Italy was unified in 1861, only a small group of people spoke what it’s now known as Standard Italian, and most people in Italy spoke diverse dialects that derived from languages such as Greek, Latin and Albanian. Although many fell into disuse, there are still many that can be heard across the country, such as:

  • Neapolitan: this dialect differs so much from Standard Italian that the UNESCO recognised it as a separate language. It’s used around the Naples area and the Campania region, and because it derives from Greek, it’s pretty hard to understand, even for other Italian speakers.

  • Sicilian: this variant is heavily influenced by languages like Greek, Arabic, Catalan, German and Latin, and it’s mainly used in the island of Sicily and southern Calabria.

  • Venetian: if you visit Venice and its nearby areas, you’ll be able to hear people using this variant, which is characterized by omitting most vowel sounds at the ending of words.

  • Ligurian: this is another one you can hear in the North of Italy, especially in Genova and all the Liguria region.

Want to know more about this fascinating topic? Then take a look at Beyond Italian: A Thorough Guide to the Languages of Italy a fascinating article that covers many more Italian dialects.

4. Resources to Learn Italian.

In addition to starting a language course, it’s also important you use your free time to study Italian on your own. Here are some of the most useful resources you can use to work on your skills:

Language Level Tests

This is one of the first resources you should use, as it will help you find out exactly how good your Italian skills are. Knowing the level of your skills will allow you to look for the right resources, and let your teacher know exactly what you need to work on. You can also use them to check your progress or to know what proficiency level you should write on your CV. Although there are many tests out there, we offer a completely FREE Italian Level Test you can do in a few minutes, so before you check out the other resources, go and see how much you score on our test!

Listen to Podcasts

If you want to work on your listening skills but you don’t know any native speakers and there are no language exchange events near you, you can start by listening to podcasts in Italian. A great one you can listen to is News in Slow Italian, where you’ll find plenty of episodes where native speakers read the news in Italian, but very slowly, so it’s really easy to understand. You’ll also be able to follow the news by reading along, and you’ll find the translation of most of the words and expressions they use. On top of that, you’ll be able to choose between different levels, so you can use this resource if you’re a complete beginner, an intermediate student or an advanced speaker. Other great podcasts you should check out are Radio Lingua - Coffee Break Italian, which has new episodes every week, ItalianLingQ, where you’ll learn about sports, history, science and more, and LearnItalianPod, where you’ll learn useful things like how to rent a car in Italian or speak on the phone.

Watch YouTube Videos in Italian

There are plenty of amazing Italian YouTubers that create amazing videos every week that you can watch to boost your skills. If you’re interested in learning new vocabulary and developing your listening skills effortlessly, you should check out Impara L’Italiano con Italiano Automatico, a great YouTube channel where you’ll find amazing tips, and many videos that feature native speakers talking about different subjects. The great thing about this channel is that all videos have Italian subtitles, so you can follow what the speakers are saying and look up all the new words and expressions you hear. Another channel you should visit is Learn Italian with Lucrezia, where you’ll find many videos of a certified teacher named Lucrezia that can help you understand Italian grammar and learn many interesting things about the language.

Read as Much as Possible

The most efficient way to develop your reading skills in Italian is to read as much as possible in the language. If you’re a complete beginner, you can start by reading children’s books in Italian, which have an easy vocabulary that’s not hard to follow. Some books you should consider are Prosciutto e Uova Verdi , one of Dr Seuss's most well-known stories, and Il Grande Libro Delle Fiabe, which contains famous stories like The Three Little Pigs, and Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs in Italian. Once you can understand those, you can move on to other things like the news, magazines and classic literature.

If you want to find out more interesting facts about Italian, you should check out our blog which has many articles on the matter. Here are some you might want to read:

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5. Useful Tips to Learn Italian More Efficiently

Regardless of your language level, here are some useful tips and recommendations you can follow to learn Italian more efficiently.

Learn How to Conjugate Irregular Verbs

Some of the most common verbs in Italian are irregular, so the best thing you can do is to learn how to conjugate them as fast as possible. If you do this at the beginning, you’ll save a lot of time, so devote at least fifteen minutes a day to do this and you won’t regret it. Some of the verbs you should start with are:

  • Essere, which means “To be”

  • Avere, which means “To have”

  • Potere, which means “Can”

  • Dovere, which means “Must”

  • Volere, which means “Want”

  • Fare, which means “To make” or “To do”

  • Andare, which means “To go”

  • Dire, which means “To say”

Watch Out for Grammatical Gender

Unlike English, Italian nouns can be masculine or feminine, and it’s really important to learn the grammatical gender of a noun to use the right article before it, as well as the right adjective. Most nouns that end in -o are masculine, while most that end in -a are feminine. Those that end in -e, however, can be either masculine or feminine, but fortunately there’s a trick to get these right: if a noun ends in -zione, like emozione, which means emotion or contraddizione, which means contradiction, it’s always feminine. Once you know the grammatical gender of a word, you’ll be able to use the appropriate article before it, so for example if you have a feminine single noun you use la, as in la casa, which means the house, while if you have a single masculine noun you use the article il like in il treno, which means the train.

Take Advantage of Cognates

As you might know, more than 30 per cent of English words have French origin. French is a Romance language like Italian, so there are many Italian words that you’ll be able to understand thanks to all the words that come from French. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this list of Italian words that you’ll understand without having to look them up:

  • Architettura, which means architecture.

  • Castello, which means castle.

  • Autore, which means author.

  • Universittà, which means university.

  • Attenzione, which means attention.

  • Liberazione, which means liberation.

  • Totalmente, which means totally.

  • Generalmente, which means generally.

  • Automatico, which means automatic.

  • Drammatico, which means dramatic.

Pay Attention to False Cognates

Although there are many words that you’ll understand in Italian just by speaking English, you need to pay attention to words that look similar but have completely different meanings. Some examples are:

  • Candido, which looks like the English word candid but means pure or innocent.

  • Magazzino, which looks like the English word magazine, but means store.

  • Firma, which looks like the English word firm, but means signature.

  • Confrontate, which looks like the English verb to confront but means to compare.

  • Argomento, which looks like the English word argument but means topic or subject.

  • Delusione, which looks like the English word delusion but means disappointment.

  • Fattoria, which looks like the English word factory but means farm.

  • Morbido, which looks like the English word morbid but means soft.

  • Parenti, which looks like the English word parents but means relatives.

  • Ricordo, which looks like the English word record but means memory.

6. Survival Italian Phrases

Although you should aim to become a proficient Italian speaker, the smartest thing you can do if you’re about to travel and don’t have much time on your hands is to learn some survival Italian phrases to help you get by more easily. Don’t know where to start? Then take a look at some of the most useful.

Phrases in English Phrases in Italian
Getting Around Where is…?/ Where are…? Dov’è…?/ Dove sono…?
The restaurants I restoranti
Toilet Bagno
Bus stop La fermata dell’autobus
Airport L’aeroporto
Train station La stazione
Sightseeing Where does it open? Quando si apre?
When does it close? Quando si chiude?
Tickets Biglietti
Greetings Hello/Hi Salve/Ciao
Good morning/aftternoon Buon giorno/pomeriggio
Good evening/night Buona sera/note
How are you? Come sta?
Good/So-so/Not bad Bene/Così-così/Non c’è male
Goodbye Arrivederci
Emergencies Help! Aiuto!
I’ve been mugged Sono stato assalito (m)
Sono stata assalita (f)
I lost my passport Ho perso il mio passaporto
I feel ill Mi sento male
Ordering food I would like… Prendo…
The menu, please Il menu, per favore
What do you recommend? Che cosa ci consiglia?
I’m allergic to… Sono allergico a…(m)
Sono allergica a…(f)
I’m vegetarian Sono vegetariano…(m)
Sono vegetariana…(f)
The bill, please Il conto, per favore
Other useful expressions How much is it? Quanto costa?
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese?
I don’t understand Non capisco
I’m sorry Mi dispiace
Thank you! Grazie!
You’re welcome! Prego!

Now that you know these phrases, you can rest assured that you’ll get by in Italy without problems. However, if you really want to communicate with natives and improve your experience abroad, the best way to go is to book an Italian course at Language Trainers. If you send us a quick enquiry, we’ll make sure you find the language course that you need, so don’t waste any more time and get started today!

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