Hike the Appalachian Trail.
Write a novel.
Play the piano.
And learn to speak Italian.
Learning to speak Italian is on a ton of bucket lists.
Everyone dreams of chatting like a true Roman.
They want to order pasta, watch opera (hello, Puccini!) and tour Tuscany with the ease of one born on the Boot. After that, the Italian adventures and fun are limitless, right?
But to do all that, you need to speak Italian first.
Maybe you’re doing more than dreaming. Maybe you’re actually planning a trip to Italy. There are employment, education and personal growth opportunities in abundance in that beautiful country.
Or, maybe you’re one of the fortunate ones who intend to visit Italy purely for pleasure. And that—the meandering Italian escapade—is also on countless bucket lists.
All of these are valid reasons to learn to speak Italian.
And if that’s your goal—to speak Italian like you were born in Rome—you’re in luck!
Below are excellent resources and some fabulous tips that will help you reach that magic milestone.
Let’s check them out!
Tips for Learning How to Speak Italian
Apply a few—or all—of these tips to increase your chances of speaking Italian like you were born in Rome!
- Speak fearlessly. One of the best ways to learn to speak any language, including Italian, is to speak without fear. Don’t get caught up worrying about pronunciation or choosing the perfect word. Just speak—and do it con gusto (with gusto)!
- Accept your mistakes. It’s a fact that you won’t nail every word or phrase the first time or even every time. It’s perfectly okay to not be able to recall a word that came easily the day before. That happens to all of us, not just beginners, so don’t be put off by a pronunciation flub or vocabulary failure. Just keep trying. Don’t give up speaking!
- Fluency tops accuracy. Don’t overthink exactly how to say what you want to say. Just say it! Improved grammar will come with time. Focus on speaking and let the rest fall into place.
- Grab a phonetics guide. A phonetics guide is a very helpful tool. Use it as a pronunciation roadmap if you get stuck but, again, don’t obsess over the mechanics of speaking Italian. Just speak!
- Use hand gestures. To add some flair and fun to your Italian adventure, add hand gestures. Emphasize your conversations with a few palm slaps or finger swirls to feel like a true Italian! For the sake of complete honesty, I have to confess that I got this tip from a sister-in-law who is Italian. She coached me when I was learning the language and insisted that hand gestures are a natural part of Italian conversations. So, I tried it and I’m not sure whether or not my language skills benefitted, but I sure had a lot of fun!
How to Speak Italian Like You Were Born in Rome
Sign Up for a Speaking Course
BBC is a super site for learning to speak Italian. Their audio resources offer excellent material for modeling pronunciation and picking up slang.
Additionally, their holiday phrases, vocabulary lessons and exercises are perfect for building a core vocabulary.
Speaking aloud after the words are introduced in each section is a fast and fun method for familiarizing yourself with the material.
FluentU provides an immersive experience at home! This is an ideal way to learn to speak Italian.
It’s an easy leap for learners to begin speaking, modeling pronunciation after native speakers and learning cultural nuances like idioms and regional slang.
Interactive captions provide translations and in-context definitions, which makes using vocabulary properly a snap!
Plus, you can continue practicing with customized flashcards, vocabulary lists and quizzes. Test your knowledge, keep track of what you’ve learned and set daily goals for practicing your Italian.
CyberItalian’s speaking practice makes practicing Italian a natural part of any learner’s day.
It gives learners motivation for speaking often—on a daily basis, even!—and that’s key for learning to speak. The more learners speak, the simpler it becomes to do so with ease and confidence.
Online classes facilitate speaking and listening skills. The teachers are Italian, so their pronunciation skills set perfect examples for beginning learners.
Additionally, the site offers pronunciation guides and voice recording options!
Udemy offers 100,000 online courses on diverse topics. With Udemy, there’s something for everyone—including those who want to learn to speak Italian!
Udemy has a number of Italian courses that suit all levels. Many are tailored to specific topics, so if you want to travel, communicate quickly or need a course for employment purposes, chances are you’ll find one with Udemy.
Purchasing a course provides lifetime access so learners can complete a program on their own schedule. With lifetime access, Italian courses are always available so reviewing or even taking a course a second time is possible.
There are courses at Udemy designed specifically for those who want to speak Italian.
These are taught in small chunks, typically a few minutes at a time, and learners grasp conversational tidbits by participating in situations designed to mimic real-world interactions. Look for those “minute” courses—they get learners speaking usually within the first lesson!
Study Abroad in Italy
Immersion is the fast-track to Italian language success. When your only choice for communication is speaking, it makes sense that necessity might increase motivation and speed up learning!
Companies like StudyAbroad.com offer learners the chance to learn to speak Italian in some of Italy’s most stunning spots!
Several cities are available for studying abroad, including Florence, Rome, Venice and Siena. Each adds a twist to spoken Italian in the form of regional dialects, idioms and street slang.
Immersion abroad brings learners right to the source and gets them on the path to fluency from the very first day.
And learning to speak Italian while enjoying the sights and sounds of Italy is a dream come true for many!
Create Italian Immersion at Home
A lot of learners—myself included—can’t learn to speak Italian in Italy. While it’s a wonderful idea, it’s just not possible for everyone to go the study abroad route.
All of us, however, are able to create an immersive Italian environment at home. It may sound slightly offbeat but, believe me, it works!
How to do it? A few tips will get the language ball rolling!
First, label everything.
But, don’t just stick labels all around your home without speaking the Italian words aloud. Name everything as you label it.
When you’re comfortable naming things, move on to creating sentences or phrases to describe what you’re seeing.
Secondly, read in Italian.
Let’s face it: If you were in Italy taking an immersive course, you’d be reading street signs, newspapers and menus on a daily basis. Since you can’t get that sort of reading in at home, add some Italian books to your self-study program.
The key to getting speaking practice in is to read aloud. That’s right—read the stories as if you’re reading to an audience to reap the benefits that will get you closer to your speaking goal.
The Italian Bookshop is also a solid source for Italian language books. Several genres and reading levels are available, so browse and choose something that strikes your fancy.
Finally, watch YouTube cooking videos.
Immersive experiences offer a taste of Italy.
Bringing that amazing Italian cooking into your home-style immersion can be fun if you watch some YouTube cooking videos.
Remember, don’t just watch. Speak to the chef on the video, speak aloud as you add ingredients to your dishes and talk to your guests as you’re serving what’s sure to be an excellent meal!
Speak with Native Italian Speakers
Find a friend to practice speaking Italian with. This is a nearly fail-proof method for increasing your speaking ability.
Tandem pairs learners with native speakers in Italy to help them speak Italian. Conversations begin with the first session!
It’s a super great way to focus on one dialect if you’re planning a trip to a certain part of the country.
But whatever part of Italy a Tandem speaking partner hails from, learners can be sure they’re hearing authentic Italian and getting speaking tips straight from someone whose native language is Italian!
Instantly Italy provides a unique way to speak with a native Italian named Cinzia. She chats via Skype with learners from all over the world and has one goal: to help others learn to speak Italian.
Meetings can be scheduled to suit learners’ preferences, and there’s no minimum number of sessions to sign up for.
It’s a casual way to chat in Italian on your own time and at your own pace!
Listen to Native Italian Speakers
Movies and music are first-rate methods for bringing the Italian language into your day-to-day life.
The key to watching movies in Italian?
Reply to questions, take part in conversations on your screen and even mimic dialogue. All of these small speaking steps lead to confidence and mastery—and you get to see some great films while learning!
Remember, don’t overthink pronunciation, grammar or anything else. Just have fun and get used to speaking (or singing!) in Italian.
Almost any Italian language resource can be speaking-oriented if you put a little effort into it.
Whether you’re taking lessons, watching movies or reading, if you reply, speak aloud and repeat, it becomes a speaking opportunity.
Speaking Italian is fun. It’s an expressive, beautiful, lyrical language. With or without hand gestures, this is a language that attracts a ton of learners and even more bucket list mentions.
But now, it’s time to check it off your bucket list!
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