So you have decided or are thinking about learning ‘la bella lingua’. Congratulations for making a wise decision in your life that is sure to open up new Worlds for you and is guaranteed to make you a more knowledgeable and enlightened person. Now that you have decided to learn this beautiful language, your next question is probably going to be how to learn it. Well you’ve come to the right place because here is an easy and cheap way to learn everything you need to know about Italian.
1. Start off with a good textbook (I recommend Prego! In the newest edition that you can find) that will teach you everything you need to know grammatically and start you off with intermediate (or higher) conversational skills and a base word set of anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 words. Books such as Idiot’s or Dummy’s guides are just that, they are for people who have no desire to truly learn the language but are little more than larger phrasebooks at 2-3 times the price of one. Although if you must get a mass-produced textbook in order to save money then I recommend the ‘Teach Yourself’ series as they teach in a manner that will better your knowledge of Italian. Also try to get a textbook that has been produced within the last 5 to 10 years so that modern terms are included (languages are constantly changing).
2. Buy a top-quality Italian-English dictionary that is relatively new (again no more than 10 years old) and is made by a highly reputable source. I personally prefer Oxford’s but there are definitely other ones out there that get the job done. This dictionary is going to be your new best friend. The key to learning Italian is constantly memorizing new words so please study your dictionary and constantly make word lists right from the beginning. This will save you a lot of time later and will ease your learning. A big vocabulary makes everything else that much easier.
3. Buy a notebook solely for your Italian language studies. The brand doesn’t matter here but still make sure to get one that is easy to bring with you anywhere. You will need it to make grammar and vocabulary notes as well as any other questions you have about the Italian language.
4. Have fun! If this means listening to Italian movies, watching their quirky yet entertaining T.V. shows, or singing your favorite Italian songs in the shower; it really doesn’t matter but please do whatever you have to do to make sure that learning Italian is always a fun and rewarding process for you. If you take out the fun aspect then you will almost definitely fail in learning fluent Italian.
5. Now that I have told you what to do, let me tell you what not to do. Please avoid Rosetta Stone, not only does it not work on anybody’s quest to become fluent but its’ price could get you evicted from your house. Its’ not far away from being an actual scam. The same advice goes for Pimsleur’s audio series as it also will not do you much good. Learning a language isn’t about pouring money down a drain but rather picking out the right products and really spending a lot of time studying and doing hard work to succeed. No amount of money can truly replace a good work ethic.
Now with good advice and a motivated mind, I encourage you to study ‘la bella lingua’ the right way and I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors.