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!

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Alex
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Alex

Best way to learn is total immersion. It sucks but you can be totally fluent in 3 months if you really put in some serious effort. Second best is watching a ton of movies in the language lol

Bala
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Bala

Hi,it may be funny how I learned my second language.I use to watch old movies, that way it’s more interesting to learn.Other tip is find some oneto talk who don’t know English & know italian.

Fonzi
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Fonzi

I am sorry i am 6 lingual.

globetrotter
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globetrotter

Master a language is no picnic that requires years if not decades. It is impossible to be fluent in a language in three months. Fluency means you speak a language at ease that everyone clearly understands you. It is much easier and faster to speak street language with incorrect diction, grammar and sentence structure. To be fluent in spoken language is to practice with native speakers and immerse yourself in an environment in which nobody speaks your language but you must force yourself to speak theirs. To be fluent in written language requires extensive and intensive readings to understand when… Read more »

Libra7474
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Libra7474

If you have a chance, watch a movie “The Sleeping Dictionary”. You already have the best method of learning the language – your girlfriend. As the saying goes “the language is learned either in a crib as a baby or in bed as a lover”

Theresa Envid
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Theresa Envid

Depending on how much time you have before you need to be immersed in Italian: 1) audit a course at a nearby college 2) go to the library and get a phrase tape. If you can say basic things it will win over the people and they will be trying to impress you with the little English they know. Otherwise find an Italian willing to chat with you (paid tutor). I could go on and on………..but there’s a start . Also…there is a “translator app.” for your phone.

Theresa Envid
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Theresa Envid

Depending on how much time you have:
1- audit a college course
2- go to the library and get a tape. Memorize basic greetings
3- duolngo.com is a free online course
4- put “translator app. ” on your phone
5- find a paid tutor in the neighborhood or at the local school (some teachers are willing)
6- If you make the slightest effort you will find the Italians trying to show you how much English they know. Have fun with it and relax………………..

Frank
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Frank

We moved to Italy last year, and in preparation (while still in the US) we started watching game shows on RaiPlay (RAI’s free on-demand videos), either online or on our AppleTV. Those shows are based on the language, and they help a lot learning the vocab’ (particularly if you keep your translator app nearby while watching): Reazione a Catena, L’Eredità. Also fun, Music Quiz and Soliti Ignoti, mostly because the host, Amadeus, has a clear way of speaking Italian.

Dr. V
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Dr. V

I’m with you, lol ! I never get better because I would frustrated and lose interest. I want to learn Japanese (anime is my guilty pleasure).
I have Memrise app (good for writing and vocab), duolingo, I joined a meet up group for Japanese speakers but they met at a weird time and I felt insecure, I have books. My next plan is to go to a tutor and group classes.
I was nearly fluent in Spanish in college but had Puerto Rican classmates and I got embarrassed trying to speak and just stopped. Hoping group classes gets me past my insecurities.

Stany
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Stany

Besides English, I am fluent in Russian and Japanese and can get by in Swedish and French. If you are aiming for conversational fluency, consider Michel Thomas method, especially for Italian (I think that Italian was one of the languages he recorded himself before he passed away). It has it’s limitations, and it will not teach you things like counting or days of the week, but it will give you the basic grammar, and some verbs and nouns to push into the grammatical frameworks. Great stepping stone, to get you started, and once you got through the Michel Thomas method,… Read more »