One the hardest obstacles I have had to overcome since actually ‘living’ here as opposed to having a ‘holiday house’ is having to broaden my use of Italian. let’s face it, the vocabulary used for shopping, restaurants, the weather and outlining ones arrival and departure isn’t much use when trying to sort out plumbers, builders and the like! Your neighbours also expect a little more variety of conversation when they are seeing you on a regular basis.
Unlike my husband, I do not find learning languages easy! I’ve tried books, courses, lessons , apps. and think now I’ve finally found something that suits me! Learning is a very personal thing dependent on what suits you best and what kind of learner you are. Maybe also how old! My memory is definitely not what it used to be!
I’ve decided I need certain things in place.
1. Discipline and deadlines. If I have nothing to work towards I know I just won’t bother. I’m the sort of person who works better under pressure.
2. revision. I really do need SO much over learning these days. I need a schedule or course that allows this. It’s just no use assuming that I have mastered one verb and then moving on to the next because I won’t have!
3. Writing things down. I’m a visual/tactile learner so I assimilate info better once I have written it down and even better if I use mind mapping and draw little cartons etc!
4. Speaking. I need to USE the material immediately for it to go into my memory.
5. Reading. This improves vocabulary and helps with the grammar and spelling.
So, what I’ve done is combined a weekly lesson with two apps. which are on my IPad plus a really good book which is also downloaded onto my iPad. The weekly lesson keeps me disciplined. The apps give me progression and practice and I write down the conversations they provide and use this as revision before moving onto something new.
As for speaking I’ve chosen a couple of quiet bars where the owners are happy to talk to me and correct my mistakes. I should add that these bars are only frequented by Italians so lots of locals also join in and the experience is great fun especially since my Italian still leaves much to be desired. I don’t mind making huge gaffs in this company but I’d be mortified in a bar with other English people!
My weekly lesson. This didn’t work at first. Now I go with a particular topic to talk about plus a couple of diary entries I have made to practice past tense. I’ve been quite firm about wanting to talk and not write during these sessions. I’m just not bothered at this stage about odd spelling mistakes. The App. Course deals with this anyway. It’s just so much more important that we discuss situations that are relevant to me and that I have lots of opportunities to answer questions and use my verb forms and tenses.
I hope this helps . If you are interested then the resources I have found useful are listed below.
The App. Course is BABBEL
also the app. Called 1,500 Italian Verbs is a great resource .
my Reading Book available in paper back or from the Kindle Store is ‘ EASY ITALIAN READER ‘ by Saggese Riccarda.