If someone asked you to speak some Italian right now, what would you do?
If you haven’t learned Italian before then maybe you know basic vocabulary such as ciao (hello/goodbye) or grazie (thank you).
Perhaps you’ve been learning for a while and can speak fluently.
But I know one thing. Your hands are almost instinctively going up with your fingers grouped at the fingertips into the Italian pinecone hand gesture. Or, at the very least, you became more animated as you sit upright with your shoulders back.
Body language is, without doubt, one of the most notable and interesting components of Italian communication. It’s a key feature of accentuating your point and relaying additional information. It also maintains a strong tradition in the Italian lexicon to this day.
This means that if you’re only using listening and reading resources to study Italian you’re missing a big piece of the Italian context pie!
That’s where videos come in! With heaps of native input, action and body language to read you’ll be learning Italian the way it’s used by Italian speakers every day.
By incorporating Italian video into your learning and study routine you’ll be able to see, hear and feel how native Italian is used.
Best of all, videos are super fun and can be a great way to learn Italian quickly!
Why Learning with Italian Videos Is Important
Learning with Italian videos is one of the top ways to maintain a cultural connection to the language. While it would be amazing to roam the streets of Florence or marvel in wonder at the Colosseum while soaking up native Italian, sometimes international travel isn’t always a viable possibility!
Thankfully you can bring native Italian content to your screen with ease!
Learn natively spoken Italian
It goes without saying that learning with video content is one of the ultimate ways to learn natively used Italian. As previously discussed, Italian is quite a unique language in that there are many physical components and subtle gestures of body language. With video, you’ll be able to learn the daily spoken form of Italian as well as understand how it fits within the context of overall communication with the body.
Tune your ear to native accents, dialects and phrases
There are 34 Italian dialects and you’ll generally find big differences between them. The divide is across the northern, central and southern areas of Italy. These differences can cover everything from pronunciation to the use of vocabulary. It’s important to have a basic understanding of these differences and to understand that there are even unique languages such as Neapolitan spoken throughout Italy!
Being aware of these differences by listening and watching native content will give you a greater overview of the forms of everyday spoken Italian. Plus, you’ll learn slang and local words which is one of the guaranteed ways to get in with the locals should you travel to Italy.
Learn with a fun, convenient and accessible resource
Of course, learning with native content is a fun and easily accessible method to learn Italian. Learning with videos is a key way to maintain motivation and interest in your language learning goals. This is especially true when you find that it is wavering! In addition to this, with the accessibility of online platforms, streaming services and webpages, finding high-quality native videos is a relatively straightforward task.
They provide visual context
Language learning with video is a great way to provide context to your language learning. This is known as comprehensible input which essentially means that with images, body language, movement, facial expression and other cues your ability to comprehend the spoken language increases! Input is especially valuable when learning Italian as it’s a very “active” language.
Learn cultural components of the language
Following on from the previous point, video learning serves as a great introduction to the various cultural facets of a spoken language. For example, Italians are very warm and open people. Because of this, you may find that people in Italy stand in closer proximity during a conversation than what you may be used to.
This can come as a shock to the underprepared, but for those who’ve been learning with video content, it’s an interesting cultural practice that you’ll already have witnessed.
This is especially true when watching telenovelas (soap operas)!
All the Different Types of Italian Videos
There are so many different forms of great Italian videos online that you won’t have any problems squeezing in this much-needed native content into your daily study routine!
Remember to always try and focus on active content and to stay on track! It’s very easy to fall into a video-watching hole and forget your main goal of the videos, to improve your language!
Take a deep dive into Italian culture with YouTube videos
If you’re searching for top-quality Italian videos why not start with the world’s second-biggest search engine.
What’s great about learning Italian with YouTube is the variety of resources that are available to you. You’ll be able to find content related to many different topics and learning styles. Let’s take a look at some below!
- General learning with YouTube: YouTube is a popular video resource to locate general learning videos which includes many informative channels that teach you exactly how to speak Italian. In fact, you’ll find some of the best and highest quality Italian resources in the wonderful world of Italian YouTube simply by searching around!
Some top tips for finding quality Italian learning videos on YouTube include reading breakdowns, checking the comments for user feedback and reading some great blogs about Italian learning. Once you find a useful learning Italian playlist on YouTube it’s just a matter of sticking with the classes and working it into your schedule.
- Get cultural and learn slang with popular YouTubers: A survey published in 2019 found that one-third of children aged between 8 and 12 said they want to be YouTubers when they grow up! And why not? It looks like a fun, modern and influential job to have. But while we can’t all be YouTubers, we can certainly use them to our advantage. By following some Italian YouTubers you’ll be able to listen to authentic and natively spoken Italian. It may be a little quicker and you might find more slang than in general learning videos but for an intermediate to the advanced learner, this is a good target to aim for!
- Follow your interests with some specific YouTube videos: One of my favorite parts of YouTube is that there’s content on pretty much anything. This means you can find Italian videos on woodworking, skiing, fishing, history or any other topics that you might be interested in!
Of course, it wouldn’t be an authentic Italian learning experience without some authentic recipes! Why not get started learning Italian with YouTube with top recipes for a fun and tasty introduction to the Italian food culture and language.
Get native fast with a FluentU Italian account
When you dream of speaking Italian what do you envision? Robotic lecturing straight from a textbook? What about drinking a coffee with some locals in a Florentine cafe discussing the latest football results?
When it comes down to it, speaking a language and speaking a language like a native are two different skills. And with the right resources, even this idyllic form of speaking Italian is an achievable goal!
To speak a language the way that native speakers use it, you need to start with top-quality resources that native speakers watch. Using video for learning is great however using a program such as the FluentU Italian system is even better!
By using the FluentU Italian learning program you’ll be introduced to native Italian content that has communication and spoken language as the central focus. In addition to this, the lesson component has been taken care of as the system offers summarization activities such as quizzes, SRS spaced flashcards and context language definitions.
If you’re stuck searching for learning content or looking to do a bit more research then be sure to jump on the FluentU Italian language and culture blog where you’ll find some great video lists such as some top funny Italian clips to add a bit of comedy to your study routine!
With the FluentU learning system and FluentU Italian blog, you’re onto a winning Italian learning with videos combination.
Laugh, cry and smile with some top Italian films
Italian movies are often noted for their realism as well as stunning depictions of everyday life. This makes Italian cinema a fantastic resource for both learning and engaging with the community!
Thanks to the widespread accessibility of streaming platforms and online options, finding Italian movie content has never been easier! Plus, with online reviews, blogs and websites you’ll find a movie that suits your needs with ease.
To get started please check out the essential learn Italian with movies list.
Of course, as a special piece of advice, it’s always a great option to search for film festivals that may be happening in your local area. For a real authentic feel, you can search your local area for “Italian film festival” or “European film festival” to find events happening around you!
But as we’re looking at resources let’s examine some of the easiest and most direct methods of accessing Italian movies.
- Bring the cinema to you with some streaming services: Without a doubt, streaming platforms would have to be the number one way to access Italian film and cinema content. To get you started you can check out the video library of Italian movies on Netflix and the top Italian movies on Hulu. If you’re after a taste of classic cinema then you can also consider some classic Italian cinema on a platform such as Amazon.
- Search for a specific film or genre for that special movie night: If you have a particular type of film in mind such as a fun Italian movie or a specific style such as Italian Christmas movies then you can search for these specific types of films first. For example, you’ll be able to find top films in blogs, reviews and even YouTube channels dedicated to Italian movie reviews. From there it’s simply a matter of finding a platform or service that screens the particular resource!
- Take it to the next level with dubbed film resources: If you’re after a more immersive and targeted Italian learning lesson then you might want to consider searching for some blogs or breakdowns of the top dubbed Italian movies for your learning benefit. Usually, popular movies taken from English to Italian are a great resource. If you’ve seen the film in English before then even better as you’ll be able to follow the plot and development of the storyline with ease.
Get swept up in the drama of Italian life with some top TV programs
So, you’re thinking it’s about time to learn native Italian with TV?
It’s certainly a great way to get an insider look into the life and lives of Italian people and their families. Best of all, with recurring themes and specific vocabulary, it’ll give a quick boost to your Italian fluency.
But be warned as Italian TV can be seriously addictive!
As a resource, Italian TV is fantastic due to the range of options meaning there is content available for all levels of learners.
- Stream until you stream no more: Similar to Italian film, you’ll find many great Italian drama series on all of the top streaming platforms as well as some highly addictive Italian TV shows. Be sure to always have a notebook handy and to play around with subtitles to test your comprehension.
- Jump online for even more resources: There are also many fantastic options for finding Italian TV online. For example, if you wanted to learn Italian with cartoons then you might want to jump on YouTube or use an online Italian TV service such as Rai Play. That’s right, sometimes it’s important to remember that you’re not restricted to the dominant streaming platforms. There are still plenty of options to watch Italian TV online and great Italian TV shows from websites that are perfect for students!
Stay informed while learning Italian with news and talks!
Watching the news, presentations and talk shows as a method of study has long been a popular approach. This is because there’s heaps of great context, the spoken language is clear, direct and there are many follow-up activities you can enjoy.
- Get real-time news straight to our screen: Your first option for using news video in your Italian study regime is to jump online and watch the Italian news live. Explore the many streaming options and for a shorter update you can always check out the top stories or individual clips. You can also supplement the learning with great online Italian news sites that’ll help give even more context to the ongoing and breaking news stories.
- For more of a lesson focus: If you’re after more of a “lesson style” approach to the news in Italian then you’re encouraged to check out some outstanding resources for learning Italian with the news. You’ll also be introduced to some of the top Italian news outlets and how to make the most of this video resource for your learning.
Take it to the next level with TED Talks
If you’ve got a particular interest in a specific field or are simply looking to learn something new then be sure to check out the library of TED Talks in Italian.
You’ll be introduced to some new ideas, explore exciting fields and practice your Italian all in one resource!
I love TED Talks for studying Italian and languages generally as they are slow, well-presented and often accompanied by images or slides for additional context!
Push your comfort zone and explore beyond the traditional video resources
Of course, there are many wide and wonderful options for you to explore when it comes to learning Italian with video!
Think beyond YouTube to find some extra websites that offer resources for you to learn Italian with videos there are many websites, blogs and online video libraries that also provide hidden gems of Italian learning with video to help you achieve that native feel.
Did you know that learning doesn’t stop even after you’ve turned off the TV or closed the laptop? There are even some opportunities to learn Italian while you sleep to consolidate new vocabulary.
Foolproof Methods for Learning Italian with Video
Here, I’m going to outlay some tips to help you maximize your Italian acquisition with video content.
As we’ve covered the types of resources previously this is going to be a section focused on how exactly video content can be used to your full learning potential.
Good luck and enjoy!
Watch and rewatch with various difficulty levels
This is a great strategy that I have found very useful when studying languages. Although it can get a little bit boring it’s very successful for acquiring vocabulary and language through video content. I’ll present it in step form below.
- Choose a piece of video content. To begin, opt for a shorter piece of content such as a short TV show or news segment as previously discussed. Please note that the resource must be an Italian video with subtitles.
- Watch the video once with English subtitles and pay special attention to a particular component of the Italian (vocabulary, native phrases, verbs). It depends on your level and what you’re studying at that moment. Keep a notebook handy and pause frequently.
- Watch the same content again only this time with Italian subtitles and focus on recollection and definitions that you’d noted from the previous watch. Try to match your previously noted components with the Italian subtitles.
- Watch a final time without any subtitles at all and see if you notice a difference in your overall comprehension!
- As a great follow-up activity, you can then do some writing. A couple of hundred words of a review using the vocabulary from the content or finding an online quiz is a great way to consolidate the lesson.
As noted, it’s a repetitive strategy but it gets the job done! A great place to start is with some Italian short films with English subtitles. This is because they tick all the boxes as they’re native, short and come with subtitles!
Don’t forget to follow up with additional activities
If you’re like me and you’re a film buff then this is a great strategy to extract even more educational content out of your movie or video content!
These follow up activities can take many different forms including:
- Discussing the film or content with Italian learning friends or native speakers (in Italian)
- Writing about the characters, creating a family tree or even getting creative and writing alternate endings
- Watching interviews related to the content i.e. interviews with the cast/director etc.
- Interacting in communities such as Reddit/Facebook groups/forums etc.
- Reading online reviews or even writing your own
Pause and note!
Keep a notebook handy at all times with nice big sections with headings for native phrases, new vocabulary, etc. When I’m studying with native content I have found that about every 20 minutes is a good amount of time for me to stop and review. This means that I’m reviewing vocabulary, notes phrases and expressions in short blocks.
But, you’re encouraged to find your own rhythm. To help with this process be sure to start with some great Italian videos with subtitles.
Or, I would recommend using the FluentU program. One of the key features that helps benefit my learning is the context-specific definition. It saves time and can give you a really unique and cultural insight.
If you’re like me and enjoy learning languages then I’m sure you’ve had this experience before. You ask a native speaking friend for a vocabulary definition and they will reply with “hmm, well, it depends.”
To avoid this situation the FluentU in-context definitions are a lifesaver.
Mix up the speed, content and sources
One of the biggest benefits of using video in your Italian learning is that there are so many options for you to choose from.
Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone a little bit. This means exploring new and exciting content that may not always be your first choice. I’ve found this to be a great strategy for acquiring new vocabulary and well as new interests generally.
To get you started you can check out some shorter clips to learn Italian on YouTube.
Embrace your inner shadow with the shadowing technique
Sounds dramatic, right? But don’t be scared, the shadowing technique is a very simple method to practice native speaking and listening.
In its simplest form, shadowing is repeating a piece of native content out loud as close to the original piece of content as possible. Of course, there are many variations of this, for example, you can print out transcripts and act out a dramatic Italian scene with a friend. Or a simple watch, listen and repeat strategy works pretty well also!
For this, I would recommend using a subtitled video as it’ll also help your reading and is a great way to practice pronunciation of the language.
While it might not beat a trip to Italy, Italian video resources are certainly a fantastic gateway to Italian learning and culture. Don’t forget to watch and listen closely! Always be sure to implement the different learning strategies that have been discussed! They make a huge difference and really take the video from a passive activity to an active Italian lesson.
So, how is your Italian going? Do you have a favorite Italian video to learn with? Good luck!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.