How are you learning Italian?

Pacentro08 Image
10/31/2009 - 19:36

Having just joined the community and recently bought a house in Abruzzo, I was just wondering how all of you living in Italy started learning Italian once you got to Italy and whether you are still taking classes or what you have found to help you improve. I notice from other postings people have been using CDs/TV/radio, but nobody has much talked about having someone teach them. Or have I missed it?Thanks 


 Best way is to get yourself in the local bar each evening for an aperativo and absorb Italian...Just hearing the pronunciation and the use of the language, the facial expressions etc. Although where we are in Abruzzo there's a little thing called dialect and this is completely mistifying. I also used and still use Michel Thomas, his 8 discs are good. I downloaded them onto my Ipod and go out walking for an hour each day & also learn Italian whilst trying to get fit!Good Luck, it's not easy. I have been here 21/2 years and my Italian is appaling  .....Secundo me.Sprat     

If you enquire at your Local Comune, you will find that most run Classes for Foreigners to learn ' Italian Language and Culture'. They are usually held at your local school and are subsidise by the Government. I am diong one at our local school and it only costs € 10 a year for twice weekly classes. As the teacher only speaks to you in Italian you will find that your mindset changes quicker than trying to translate evrything said and just start to think in Italian. Most teachers also speak a bit of English for those ' awkward silences' to be overcome.

 I agree with Gromit that you should inform yourself at the comune or local school.Here in Loreto (Abruzzo) we have the CTU which offers italian for foreigners for free, if you have residency. I know the same courses are offered in Pescara, at one of the public schools.As something new, here they also offer the Italian proficiency levels CELI level 1-6, which is the Italian equivalent to the Trinity school of English grade 1-6 and recognised at European level. A class costs 30 euro. And then it is a good way of getting some local contacts (allthough italian contacts would be more useful).The first time I went there was an Italian lady of 60+ years who attended the classes to LEARN ITALIAN as she only spoke DIALECT. So funny, because she couldn't help switching over and then 10 beginners were just lost while the teacher tried to stop her and make her switch into "proper" italian.This year I participate in the more "funny" ones like wine tasting and mushroom hunting..

You might consider subscribing to Acquerello Italiano, a quarterly CD/magazine in a talk radio format.It covers a range of news, cooking, human interest and local topics across Italy. The audio reporters and interviews are transcribed into Italian in a print magazine and that is further annotated  (but not fully translated) to translate difficult words or an odd usage of grammar. In addition, they have notes in the back that provide more background or context information to expand your undertanding of the topic.Depending on your level of understanding spoken Italian, you might read it first, then read it while listening to the cd, then just try listening to the CD. It is a great way to improve your understanding of Italian and to get used to understanding Italian spoken by a variety of people and with a range of accents.Check them out on . They have locations in the UK and US.Anne Oliver (Casa di Anne)

I know I've got another posting going on about the board game, but if you can record the programme, it's really good because people speak quite slowly as they think about choosing their response, you have the written versions to think about, and you're increasing your general knowledge/ cultural knowledge too. My students love it - even though they thought they would hate it when I first suggested it!  You can get it via satellite in the UK too (which is where I am at the moment). When I started this thread, I was intrigued that no-one seemed to be going to classes, but now I know better. I've learned such a lot from this site in the couple of weeks since I've joined. And I will get around to doing the Introductions posting soon. Promise.Salutoni

Whatever method you choose, CD, TV or online courses, one day you have to practice and just leap in. Every Italian will appreciate the effort you put in to trying to be understood and I find that most will try and give you a hand or a few pointers on prononciation. Start of by asking for things in shops or Restaurants and build from that. It's not easy but practice does make perfect  or at least understood.

In Italy both the buyer and seller pay the Italian Estate Agent Fees, which can range from 3 - 8% of the purchase price Then there are other purchase taxes/IVA etc, and Notary fees  [plus lawyers if you want them - but many Italians don't use them] Total cost - say 15% - 20% of purchase price