You may know that I (Lisa, editor) want to learn Italian or at least try to acquire some basic survival skills. Every day, I am reading either an email, press release or article in Italian, plus receiving voicemail messages ‘solo in Italiano’! Although Google Translate has helped with messages and Sabrina (in Piemonte) translates our articles, I hope to communicate much better very soon.
Here are some ways that I’ve found helpful and hope you do too. Since we all learn differently, find what best works for you and be sure to let me know your favorite methods in a comment at the end of the article.
Morning Vocabulary with iTunes
First, I listen to vocabulary with Learn Italian and I Speak Italian with Mozart during my morning run. I prefer the latter because they repeat the phrases. I may look a little silly blurting out vocabulary between breaths…
Lunch Break with Coffee Break Italian
Second, I often have lunch with Coffee Break Italian. The team has built quite a following of Italian language learning enthusiasts with almost 24,000 followers on Facebook and 10,800 followers on Twitter. I just discovered that they have a YouTube channel where you can find videos to help you learn not only Italian, but also French, German, and Spanish. Scottish Mark (of Italian descent) and Francesca (from Piemonte) lead Katie (their Scottish student) through a host of learning modules that emulate daily life conversations. Besides being thorough, the hosts are delightful.
Evening: 15 Minutes Writing Verbs
Third, while cooking (or eating) dinner I try to go through three or four pages of McGraw Hill’s Italian Verb Drills by Paola Nanni-Tate.
Nighttime with Amore Pensaci Tu on YouTube
Next, after a long day of work, I try to find a less academic way to understand Italian. I’m not sure if it’s the English music or modern family theme that makes watching this comedy so enjoyable. However, I highly recommend watching Amore Pensaci Tu where four modern family types are represented: 1) the blended family where a divorced father raises three daughters with his girlfriend; 2) the gay couple raising the daughter of one of the partner’s deceased sister, plus living with the mother aka the intrusive mother-in-law; 3) the divorced couple who battle over custody of their twins, but are really still in love with each other; and 4) the father who sets aside his career to raise the children while his wife, a successful physician works.
I’ve also watched a couple of movies in Italian without any subtitles because for me, the experience is more immersive. However, because of different dialects and how fast the actors are speaking, it can be difficult. Below are a couple of movies that I liked. The first two films have simple themes and Il Segreto di Rahil is more complex, but understandable. I highly recommend it.
In addition, what better way to explore the nuances of each of Italy’s 20 regions than through an exploration of their wine? I am WSET 2 certified and if I had time, would continue pursuing higher certifications. However, I felt it’s best to learn Italian geography through Italian wine and each weekend I read about native grapes with the Italian Wine Unplugged Grape by Grape book by Stevie Kim and the regions using: An Overview of Italian Wine written by Diego Meraviglia and published by the North American Sommelier Association. (In 2014, I had the pleasure of working with Diego when he taught a class in Miami).
Weekends with Chiara’s Tuscany
Finally, I dedicate some of my weekends to online learning with Chiara’s Tuscany. Born from the love of her native Tuscany, Chiara and team promote a new way of learning Italian and discovering Florence, Sienna and other parts of the region. Chiara’s Tuscany is all about experiential learning and traveling.
Watch the video and sample lesson below.
The world is at our fingertips and there are so many ways to learn something new! Here are some other resources that I’ve discovered:
Remember to let me know how you’re learning Italian in a comment below. 👇🏼