How do I start learning Italian – best tips on learning Italian for adults

Learning a foreign language can be more of a challenge than fun for adults. It is not easy for grown-ups for several reasons:

  • as people age, the linguistics of their mother language becomes so dominant that it’s hard for them to adapt to the linguistics of a foreign language;
  • children don’t translate the foreign words to the mother tongue words – they visualize them and speak or write without ant translation;
  • a foreign language for the adult is a new language, and a foreign language for a kid is a mother language. It is a tricky line, where we understand that kids percept the new language as a natural part of their environment. Adults don’t do that.

Besides these facts, it is hard for adults to learn a foreign language from basics to fluency because of brain activity. It is slowing down as people age. One more thing why it is hard for grown-ups to study something new (not just languages). It is difficult for adults to find time and focus for the classes. Time deficiency always comes with lots of other things to do, making it almost impossible to concentrate on language studying. That is why we have organized for you some tips on learning Italian effectively if you are an adult. Let’s go!

start learning Italian

Choose private lessons

Adults better memorize the information when the way of introduction is suitable for their needs. Choose a professional  Italian tutor at Preply that will help you go through the ups and downs of the process. The main task of an experienced tutor is to find a strategy of learning that will be proper and comfortable for you.

There is one more great thing that the teacher can help you with – supporting you. Adults do need support when learning a language because it is harder for them to memorize words. It is harder to speak out loud and harder to accept their own mistakes. Men and woman percept their own mistakes less adequately if they haven’t learned any foreign language before. Tutors are the ones who can help them overcome the difficulties on their way to Italian fluency.

Reading, listening and speaking

It can seem impossible, but there is a way to restore the natural human ability to percept the language as a native, even if you are an adult. A student has to learn how to read, listen and speak a foreign language simultaneously as the native speaker. This is the way to overload the brain and stop cross translation. It usually makes it impossible to think in a foreign language with cross translation.

Learning Italian, try to turn on the best Italian movies, get your Italian friends and ask them to share with you the details about their day, and read a book in Italian at the same time. Don’t feel sorry for your brain – make it work!

Let Italian become a part of your daily routine

Learning a language takes creativity, so why not try something that will amuse you and your family and friends! Feel free to take a notebook with self-adhesive stickers and write on them the Italian names of everything in your home. Place your stickers with words everywhere: in the kitchen, in the living room, in the garage. Whenever you see a sticker, say the word out loud until you remember it. This is a great way to boost your vocabulary.

Learning a foreign language doesn’t have to be boring. Learn Italian jokes, puns, or riddles and impress your friends. Solve the Italian crossword puzzle or try your hand at other local games. Improve your Italian skills with il Motore Anagrammatico if you feel confident.

Visit Italian speaking places

You have always wanted to visit the ancient city of Rome? The description in the tourist guide of the ruins of Pompeii is breathtaking. The greatest way to learn to speak Italian is to travel to Italy and immerse yourself in the language. You will not only be able to see ancient Roman ruins, Renaissance masterpieces, paintings by Raphael, and more, but you will also learn how to pronounce the specific Italian sounds correctly if you travel to Italy!

Italian novels, travel guides, and books describing Italy are great ways to enrich your experience. Read books with parallel text: The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia) or the Sovereign (Il Principe), or try reading books of modern Italian literature such as Enzo Biaggi, Umberto Eco, or Oriana Fallaci.

Train more

Training is the best way for adults to reach fluency in learning Italian. During the training sessions, the brain finds a pattern and records it as the familiar design, so after that, the skill can be performed effortlessly or with minimum tension.

It is also challenging to stop cross translations – use images instead! Make your brain think in Italian. You can pay attention to the pictures or objects everywhere. Once you see a thing, try to learn how to spell it and read it in Italian. You can also do that while sitting at the cinema or watching your favorite movies on BBC America. Name the things you see, and it will improve the routes of your memory to remember the words. Vocabulary expansion is what adults need to start speaking Italian.

Find more Italian friends

We know it is hard to find a friend at the post-COVID-19 epoque, but it is necessary if you want to speak Italian fluently. The best way to do that is to go to Italy, but go online when you don’t have such an opportunity!

Bottom line

It is possible to learn Italian even if you are an adult and don’t have much time. It is important to remember that adults have to focus with more effort than kids, so the number one rule is to find time and space for the learning. Cross translation is another thing that people who learn a foreign language have to forget about. Remember that it is never too late, and you are never too old to learn a foreign language.

Samantha Rigby
Samantha Rigby
Samantha is the head of content, lifestyle and entrepreneurial columnist for Best in Australia. She is also a contributor to Forbes and SH. Prior to joining the Best in Au, she was a reporter and business journalist for local newspapers.
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