You’ve decided to learn to speak Italian. That’s great! But now you have to figure out how to go about doing that. This post is going to introduce you to the top 4 ways to learn Italian, and it is going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each Italian language learning method. For more information, please visit our learn the Italian language site, SpeakOut! Italain.
1. Use Free Courses and Materials from the Internet
The are lots of sites hosting Italian language learning materials. Some of these sites are “.edu” sites, mostly universities providing learning content for free. Other sites are what I call “Adsense” sites. These are sites that put up free Italian learning materials and make money off of Google advertising. Of course, there are also the “freemium” sites, sites that give you content for free, but make you pay for their premium materials.
Obviously, the biggest advantage of learning to speak Italian with these sites is that it doesn’t cost anything. In addition, you can get quite a lot of material, especially from university sites, or reference sites like Wikipedia. The “freemium” sites are great if you you’re thinking about investing in language learning course but aren’t totally committed yet.
While everybody loves free stuff, there are quite a few limitations to this method. First, the material you get is going to be totally disorganized. For example you’ll find lists of Italian vocabulary words, phrases and dialogues, but you won’t find any structured way of effectively learning them. In addition, most of the information you get will be incomplete. The fact is that most people don’t give away complete, well organized Italian language learning courses. It’s just too much work!
2. Learning Italian With Books
Learning with books, surprisingly, is still one of the most popular ways to study Italian. You can buy “4-skills” books that teach reading, writing, listening, and speaking. You can buy grammar books, vocabulary books, writing books, conjugation books. You name the Italian language learning component and, rest assured, someone has written an instructional book in regards to it.
The biggest advantages of books is that you can throw them in a backpack and study them anywhere; you don’t need to be connected or plugged in to anything. In addition, books provide lots of information in a small, well-organized package. There is no information overload. You’ve specific chapter that do specific things. Finally, books are great for people who like to do written activities, like fill-in-the-blank exercises.
The biggest drawback to learning Italian with books is that they aren’t interactive at all. You can’t learn Italian pronunciation with a book, and you can’t have an interactive conversation in Italian with a book, like you can with software or a teacher. Also, when compared to digital products, books are very expensive, and actually provide far less learning content. Italian language learning software programs, in my opinion, are the “new books.”
3. Taking an Italian Course
You can take Italian courses at universities, community centers, and at private Italian language learning centers.
The biggest advantage of learning to speak Italian in a classroom is, of course, having a teacher. Teachers provide information, yes, but they also provide structure, and they demand a bit of accountability, even if you’re just taking the course for fun. In addition, Italian courses provide social interaction that many people enjoy; studying in a group is oftentimes far more interesting and motivating than studying alone.
The biggest disadvantage to taking an Italian is cost. Teachers, classrooms, and lesson plans don’t come for free, and if you take a class, you will pay far more than if you just learn with books or software. In addition, you have physically be present in a classroom. This can be difficult if you already spend a lot of time in the office and commuting to and from work. Finally, some people find learning Italian in front of others to be embarrassing and stressful.
4. Learning With Italian Language Learning Software
Learning to speak Italian on a computer used to be kind of a novelty. It was also considered to be a second-rate way to learn, as opposed to classroom courses and good old-fashioned paper textbooks. Not anymore!
The first advantage of learning Italian on a computer is the price to instruction ratio. For a relatively small amount of money, $100 to $300 dollars, you get hundreds of hours of quality learning materials. In addition, these learning materials are more effective than anything you get in a book or a classroom. For example, native-speaker audio recordings are included for all words and phrases learned. Also included are real-life Italian conversations. And you don’t just speak your parts. When you speak, your voice is recorded and analyzed by the software. Then you make adjustments to perfect your pronunciation. In addition, Italian language learning programs also provide interactive games to help you learn vocabulary words and master verb conjugations. Finally, most Italian courses have downloadable MP3 files that you can use anywhere.
The biggest disadvantage to using Italian learning software is that you have to be disciplined. There is no teacher telling you when to study and how to do your homework. Also, there are a lot of Italian language learning products out there, but not all of them are good. You’ve got to do your research before investing in a program.
There are many ways to learn to speak Italian. You can use free material on the Internet, buy Italian textbooks, take an Italian course, or, my favorite, use Italian language learning software. Read the advantages and disadvantages of each method, consider them in light of your strengths and weaknesses asna student, and you’ll choose the method that is best for you.