We all know that the ultimate goal in language learning is the ability to speak with confidence. However, we also recognise that speaking can have its fair share of challenges and in many cases, it can become the most difficult skill to master.
In this blog we’ll address the common stumbling blocks and share some strategies to help you on your way to become a fluent Italian speaker.
First of all, let’s identify the most commonly reported issues our students encounter when it comes to speaking. There are three common problems:
1. Not remembering words that I need
One of the main problems is recalling words while engaged in conversation.
2. Understanding the other person
Second, understanding their interlocutors can be a source of anxiety, especially when faced with the rapid pace of native speakers.
3. Fear of making mistakes
Lastly, the fear of making mistakes can be a significant barrier. People feel that they will make a fool of themselves if they blunder.
However, at Parla Italiano, we see these challenges not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth. We’re here to guide you, offering strategies and support to overcome these obstacles and become a confident Italian speaker.
Let’s see together eight ways of making speaking easier for you:
1. Don’t Delay Speaking: Dive In!
One of the most common mistakes learners make is waiting for the “perfect” moment to start speaking. They think they need more vocabulary or a better grasp of the language before they can have a conversation. However, the truth is that speaking can only be mastered through practice.
That’s why, at Parla Italiano, we encourage speaking from the very beginning. Speaking is a skill that develops through practice, not just studying. A classroom is the perfect environment for starting as you’ll be guided step by step, encouraged and respected for your efforts.
So, don’t procrastinate—dive into the world of Italian conversation.
2. Listen as Much as Possible
Listening is the flip side of speaking. To engage in meaningful conversations, you need to understand what others are saying. Therefore, it’s crucial to immerse yourself in Italian audio content. Find podcasts or YouTube channels that you enjoy and listen to them regularly. Explore different accents from various regions of Italy. For example, you can follow an interviewer you like and listen to a diverse range of people being interviewed. This not only improves your comprehension but also exposes you to different speaking styles.
In our classrooms we develop speaking using specific techniques that are not simply used to check comprehension but are aimed at developing strategies to enable students to understand the real language outside of class.
3. Learn phrases rather than words
Forget about memorizing individual words in isolation. Instead, embrace chunk-based learning. This approach involves learning common phrases and sentences that you’re likely to use in real-life situations.
For instance, rather than learning the words “glass” and “wine” separately, and then master the verb “Vorrei”, focus on sentences like “Vorrei un bicchiere di vino rosso” (I’d like a glass of red wine) or “Vorrei un bicchiere di acqua frizzante.” (I’d like a glass of sparkling water)
Grammar is important but doesn’t have to come first.
By learning chunks, you’ll improve your fluency and reduce the pauses in your speech. Words will occur to you more naturally as they have been cemented in your brain by the context.
4. Use What You’ve Learned Right Away
Our brains are wired to remember what’s useful. So, when you learn a new word or phrase, try to incorporate it into your speech immediately.
Post-it notes can be your best friend here. Write down the new items you’ve learned, place them where you’ll see them regularly, and challenge yourself to use them in conversations. As you become more comfortable, replace them with new phrases to expand your repertoire.
5. Imitate and Repeat: The Shadowing Technique
Imitation and repetition have been fundamental language learning techniques for decades, and now they’re backed by neuroscience.
One powerful method is the shadowing technique, which involves mirroring native speakers. The technique is based on paying attention not only to the words but also to their pronunciation, rhythm and intonation. This technique helps you internalize the natural flow of the language and improves your speaking skills.
Here are the essential steps:
a. Choose a video/audio
Identify a video or audio related to something that really interest you.
b. Understand it
Make sure that you understand it well. Any YouTube video has a transcript and often an automatic translation in English.
c. Practise shadowing
Shadowing consists in repeating what the speaker says as accurately as possible maintaining a bit of speed.
6. Record Yourself: Self-Evaluation
Recording yourself speaking Italian is an effective way to gauge your progress and identify areas for improvement. It provides you with an opportunity to assess your pronunciation, fluency, and overall speaking abilities. As you listen to your recordings over time, you’ll gain confidence in your speaking skills and track your language-learning journey.
7. Make It Personal: Talk About Yourself
Discussing your personal experiences in Italian is a natural way to practice the language. When you talk about things that matter to you, your brain perceives those conversations as important and is more likely to store relevant words and phrases in your long-term memory.
At Parla Italiano, our lessons are structured around your personal experiences, ensuring that your language learning journey is engaging and meaningful.
8. Know Your Motivation: Stay Inspired
Understanding why you want to learn Italian can be a powerful motivator. Whether it’s for travel, a love of Italian culture, or personal growth, knowing your motivation will keep you inspired throughout your language learning journey.
Becoming a confident Italian speaker is a journey filled with excitement and growth. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about making progress. By applying these strategies and tips, you’ll find yourself speaking Italian with increasing confidence and fluency. So, let’s embark on this adventure together and unlock the beauty of speaking Italian!
Do you know we have recently launched a conversation club?
Ready to take your Italian speaking skills to the next level? Have a look at our conversion clubs HERE.
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