I really, really need to learn Italian. My girlfriend and her family are all fluent so you know if I want to be “a part of the family” I can’t be the dude at the table not able to converse with the aunts and uncles.
Now, here’s where my cry for help comes into play. I think I know my problem and the reason why my learning pursuits haven’t gained any traction — I don’t stick with my learning plan. They say the first step to recovery is admission, right?
I’ve tried a number of tools: Duolingo, Anki Flashcards, Italki…but here I am, still a good old-fashioned Italian-American boy that can’t speak a lick of the mother tongue outside of the normal pleasantries.
Here’s what I know so far…
My problem — and you may be facing the same issue — is that I have trouble with vocabulary. I am familiar with the rules of conjugation and sentence structure, but when it comes to knowing the actual word to use for what I’m trying to describe, I’m toast! My strategy for this is Anki Flashcards, and they work quite well. The software has an algorithm that displays the cards you score the worst on.
Another problem I have is practice — actually conversing with an Italian. I know there are schools, apps like Italki, and tutors you can use but nothing truly beats the experience of being in-country and having to survive…am I right? For that, there is really nothing I can do other than fully immerse as much as possible when I visit each year.
My question to you…
Are you bilingual? I’m so curious as to how you learned your second language and what you feel is the best path for someone starting out. I suspect I’m not alone in wanting to know this information so for those of you who are in the same boat as me, drop a comment too!