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My Italian Journey #1

Since February 7th, I started to learn Italian at University. I decided that it would be better to study on my own with Duolingo and listening to Italian radio but also speaking from day one. I "only" have 6 hours a week of Italian and I don't believe it's enough to be able proficient in the language at the end of the course. I wanted to tell you guys how it has been this past month (maybe I'll write a report every 1st of the Month) and what exactly I've been doing in order to learn this language.

The very first thing I did was buy a little notebook where I can write the vocabulary I learn here (Duolingo is very organised and I love that) and the Tips and Notes that can be found in the lessons. On the first page of this notebook, I wrote my reasons to learn Italian. This way I can motivate myself, and the fact that I am the one in command on how to study makes this journey even better.

I have a strict schedule and timetable where I plan what I am going to do the next (strengthening skills or learn new ones) and I do it daily (around 1hour to 2hours a day). When I am doing other things such as showering or working on other university subjects, I like to listen to the Italian radio (they have good music) so this way I indirectly improve my listening. I remember doing that for German when I had to prepare for my high school exams and I truly believed that this helped !

Last thing regarding my progress; at the beginning it was really hard to think or speak in Italian because my Spanish was always interfering (my level in Spanish is very low but still enough to confuse my Italian). At the end of the month, I realised that it became the opposite; my Italian was interfering with my Spanish. I think it's great news because it was always an argument to stop motivating me of learning Italian. Finally, I had my first little discussion in Italian with somebody yesterday (a bigger conversation than hey how are). Nothing big but still an achievement after a 3 weeks learning

Thank you for reading ! If you want to tell your journey with your language learning please do ! I love reading these kind of stories during my free time :)

March 1, 2017


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Sounds like you've got a really nice start for one month, and your experience from learning other languages should help you as you plan out your strategy for Italian.

I recommend the lyrics training site (linked below) to help diversify your studies, and improve your listening skills. I've found it takes a wide variety of sources to keep my interest piqued, and music is always a nice break away from Duo.


I'll be looking for your updates, and look forward to any insights you're willing to share. Cheers!

March 1, 2017


Hey thanks for the website and your comment :)! My experiences with other languages are indeed helping me with my Italian but I think what is really helping me is the fact that French is my first language. I don't think I would have had made the same progress in Turkish or Hungarian for example. I intend to do another update next month,it keeps me motivated to continue learning

March 1, 2017


March 1, 2017


I've been learning Italian for two years now and although there are many words I still don't know, I am already able to read complete books and to understand almost everything and to have complete conversations with Italian speakers. I recommend you to read Pinnochio when you feel you are ready to read, because you already know the story and the words Collodi uses are very simple. I believe you are going to learn very fast, and if you are interested, we have an Italian Whatsapp group, where people from all the world practice a Italian. If you are interested look for my Facebook profile in my Duolingo's profile and send me an inbox.

March 2, 2017


Hey thanks for the recommendation. I am looking forward to read a book in Italian (I still haven't made up my mind but probably something not too hard like Pinnochio). As of now I have enough reading materials in class and the next step will be online italian newspapers. Thanks for the invitation to the Whatsaap group but I might join next month when I'm going to be more relax to text in Italian to strangers. Now I text my Italian friends in this language times to times. I'll keep you updated.

March 2, 2017


Hey! Congratulations for your journey. Before recomending anything, I will just point out something. 6 hours a week is not a small amount. Actually, if your teacher doesn't rush and teaches the four pragmatical skills, it means you studied 24 hours which is half the average time you need to get an A1 level. That's great!

As for the recomendations, I don't know if your strategy is efficient at this level. Duolingo isn't for long sessions (more than 1 hour daily), you can do it, but I'm not sure it would help. I tend to study max 1 hour on Duolingo, because I noticed that after this, I'm not learning anymore but more on answering automatically to the questions while thinking about something else. Maybe it works with you, and if it does, keep up! As for the radio and the music, I also think you haven't reached the level yet. Listening is indeed an important part of learning, and you should listen to something, but radio or music is a bit too difficult for the moment. I don't know what you could listen that would be authentic. Maybe listen to your listening materials from class again and again, that's what I used to do for Spanish.

Now, I don't know why you started studying Italian, but remember that a language is a complex tool. You can't get rid of any aspect, even if you don't like it, because sooner or later, it will strike back to you. I say this, because a lot of people say they only want to speak and they don't care about grammar or pronunciation, but after a certain level, they are stuck because they cannot write, read a newspaper and even have a conversation because they lack the grammar to understand and they lack a good pronunciation to be understood. So even if your teacher gives unpleasant exercises (Conjugation tables, Fill in the gaps,...) just do it, and don't complain :)

March 2, 2017


Hey ! Thanks for the recommendations.

I do understand 70% of what they are saying in the radio firstly because of the context (I listen to a radio which mostly plays rock music so whenever they are saying something it's either about current events or about a song) and secondly because I already speak French so it is very similar. I am learning grammar Italian (I am doing 60% Vocabulary 40% Grammar) because I really want to be able to read and write without any difficulties in the future. What I was saying with Spanish was that because the two languages are very similar, I tend to mix up Spanish words with Italian ones but now that I focused on Italian for a month, it is the opposite.

March 2, 2017
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