When learning the Italian language, it is important to get lots of conversation practice, instead of just memorizing grammar and vocabulary, a mistake that a lot of people make. This article is going to present to you the top 5 ways to improve your spoken Italian.
1. Go to Where the Italian Speakers Are
No, I’m not suggesting that you head off to Rome; if you had the time and resources for that, you’d be there. What I’m talking about is something much easier and more accessible. I’m talking about going where the native Italian-speaking people in your city are. The best places are restaurants. For example, if you go to an authentic Italian restaurant (skip the big chains) the wait staff will more than likely be Italian speakers. You can practice greetings, introductions, ordering food, and, if you go when it’s not too busy, you can even sneak in some general conversation practice. Don’t stop at restaurants, though. Visit all the local shops, and do business with them as much as possible, especially the delis!
2. Find Italian Cultural Exchange Groups
These groups are extremely popular and easy to find, and I have been to many myself. The meetings are usually held in coffee shops or other small cafes. The purpose, as the name implies, is to exchange cultural information, including language. What you want to find, for example, is a group called, “Italian Corner,” or something like that. The focus of the group will be to practice the Italian language and to discuss Italian culture.
3. Visit Sites like MeetUp.com
MeetUp.com, and other similar sites, is a website where people post meet-ups for just about everything you can imagine, from language learning to playing marbles. What you want to do is combine two activities, one of your hobbies and Learning Italian. For example, some time ago, I needed to learn the Korean language (I was moving to Korea). My favorite thing in the world is eating, so I went to a meet-up site and did a search for “learn Korean food,” and I found a wonderful Korean language exchange group that had each meeting in a different Korean restaurant. It was great! And, trust me, you’ll find lots of willing participants heading out to practice Italian while eating pizza and pasta!
4. Get a Personal Language Exchange Partner
You want to learn Italian, right? Well, lucky for you, there are lots of native Italian speakers who want to learn English. There is no need for either of you to hire private tutors or pay for expensive classes when you can just teach each other; the barter system is alive and well! I have done many of these language exchanges, so let me give you an important tip–be disciplined. When you meet with your language exchange partner it’s easy to become friends and then just start hanging out, not studying at all. Make a time to study and a time to play, and don’t deviate from the plan.
5. Get a Good Italian Language Software Program
Up to this point, all of my suggestions have had two things in common; they are all free, for the most part, and they are all done outside of your home. For many, however, time is short, and studying at home is necessary. If that is the case for you, get a hold of some Italian language learning software. Today’s software programs well designed, fun to use, and they are a very interactive and effective way to improve your conversational Italian. In addition, they are very affordable and oftentimes include access to native Italian speakers online. Just find one that looks good and sign up for a free trial.
Many people find it difficult to learn conversational Italian, mostly because they don’t know where to find speaking partners. This is not you! You’ve got 5 great ways to find conversation partners, so get out there and start speaking!
Best of luck in this and all of your future learning endeavors.