Languages › Italian 5 Techniques to Become Fluent in Italian Study tips and tricks for becoming fluent in Italian Share Flipboard Email Print izusek Languages History & Culture Vocabulary Grammar By Cher Hale Italian Language Expert B.A., University of Nevada–Las Vegas Cher Hale is the founder of The Iceberg Project, a language-learning platform for students of the Italian language. She also hosts the 30 Minute Italian podcast. our editorial process Cher Hale Updated July 03, 2019 There are a number of academic papers and tips from expert language learners that will help you become fluent in Italian, but you might be surprised to know that while those techniques are great, it's really daily commitment that seals the deal on the way to fluency. As you go about your daily studies though, there are five techniques that will help you get ahead as a student of Italian. 5 Techniques to Become Fluent in Italian 1.) Passively watching or listening doesn’t cut it as practicing the language There is a vast difference between actively listening and benefiting from something in a foreign language and passively listening to it while ironing your button-downs or driving to work. When you listen to something in a foreign language, like a podcast, you need to have one sole purpose for doing so. For example, if you’re looking to improve your pronunciation, focus on the way the speakers are pronouncing words, where they pause, and where they put the emphasis. This way you are able to focus on one area and make more progress within it. And speaking of pronunciation… 2.) Rushing through the pronunciation sections of each course is detrimental Pronunciation IS important and taking the time to understand the correct way to say things helps you understand the spoken language and feel more confident when you start producing the language on your own. If you travel to Italy and and start a conversation, an Italian person is more likely to feel comfortable speaking to you and will continue in Italian if she or he can hear that your pronunciation is clear. Plus, there are added side effects of helping you with sentence structure, grammar and vocabulary. 3.) Don't sip the immersion Kool-Aid that being in the country is going to vastly improve your language ability The truth is that going to Italy at a beginner level is lovely, but not as beneficial as if you were at an intermediate level. At an intermediate level, your capacity to notice details, pick up on patterns within the language, and remember more of what you hear around you expands. Studies have shown that going as a beginner is too soon and that you’re too far along if you go at an advanced level. You’ll make the most progress as an intermediate learner. I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't go to Italy as a beginner, but what I am trying to say is that you'll have the best experience if you manage your expectations beforehand. 4.) Know how to work with a dictionary Kató Lomb, a Hungarian polyglot, claims that dependence on dictionaries can cripple your ability to produce language on your own. I would agree with her and elaborate that it cripples your trust in yourself. Every time you choose to run to a dictionary instead of giving the word you know you’ve learned thought, you tell yourself that the dictionary is more reliable than what you’ve stored. Don’t do that. You can’t run to dictionaries in live conversations, so learn to trust and rely on yourself while using a dictionary as what it’s meant to be – a study aid. If you want to use something on a regular, the best method would be digital spaced-time repetition flash cards. 5.) Roadblocks are going to plop themselves in your way as if they owned the place Time will take a vacation and leave you wondering where it went, money will be tight and limit how many classes you can pay for, and family or school or Netflix will demand your attention. What I want you to do is to anticipate the roadblocks and plan ways around them. When you don’t, they have a tendency to run your life and will leave you at the airport at the end of another trip wondering why you’re stuck at exactly the same place you were the year before. You'll find that you're more creative in solving problems with your studies before they happen than you realized. Buono studio!