If i complete the whole thing diligently , will i be able to speak italian decently?
Recently, when I go back to practice old lessons, I've started trying to respond through only listening to the sentences rather than reading them. Duolingo probably reads the Italian sentences out 70% of the time, so this gives me extra listening practice on top of the regular listening questions. I do pay more attention to the written questions on new lessons rather than just listening to them since I need to get the spelling and everything right, but when reviewing something I already have learned, I have found that it really helps my listening skills to do it just through listening. Just some advice to others who want extra practice with listening!
You might find that listening while reading at the same time would be more optimal. That's how our senses work best.
anz, I have also been doing this for a few months, and it is helping me as well.
Depending on where you live and how large your library is, you might look in the library. It can be a good source for language books and CD's. Also, the internet is a good place for various videos and websites, many of which are in Italian or teach Italian. I have used Busuu as well as http://www.learnitalianpod.com. Youtube has a lot of things in Italian as well as people teaching Italian. You can also watch Italian TV online. You don't need to do anything special in order to watch it. Type in "Italian TV channels" or something similar in a search engine and all sorts of options will come. I use BeelineTV.com as it offers a variety of channels throughout Italy so I can hear different accents and expressions. Hope this is helpful.
I studied in Italy after taking 5 semesters of Italian. The first day I was actually immersed in the language it was such a different experience that I felt "oh my goodness.... I know nothing!" But then I realized I could use my phrases and I could start hearing things I knew. I learned so much faster than my friends who didn't have the grammar background.
Like the other posters said, listening and speaking are different skills done at different speeds than reading or writing, so find opportunities to practice all of the skills. Another great way to practice listening is to find italian films, then watch them with English subtitles. If you live in a big city, look for groups on meetup.com for language exchanges. If you don't, you can probably find groups in communities like couchsurfing.com where people might be willing to skype some conversations.
And as a teacher once said, the most important skill in learning to speak a language is being comfortable messing up and trying again.
I'm afraid that depends on how much effort and desire you actually put into your studies.
A vital part of learning a new language is practice, practice, practice. Speaking a foreign language is often the part that needs the most practice (especially in a system like this where most of the practice is written practice).
The grammar lessons on Duolingo go all the way up to advanced grammatical concepts (the subjunctive, the conditional, gerunds, etc) so in theory you ought to have a complete understanding of Italian at the end of Duolingo. But in reality, how good you are at the end will depend on how much effort you put in.
My advice (for what it's worth):
General advice. Use the practice functions every single time you log in. Spend time reviewing what you've already learnt before doing a new lesson. Once you get past the first 5-7 units, only do 1-2 new lessons at a time. Do at least this much reviewing or more.
For improving your speaking specifically. Every time Duolingo reads out a sentence, repeat the sentence aloud several times. The audio isn't perfect and does have static sometimes, but 95% of the time the Italian pronunciation is correct. (or at least in the levels I've done so far). Read Italian sentences aloud even if Duolingo doesn't. Try to find some real life Italian practice - ie perhaps a conversation exchange partner in your city.
(If you doubt Duolingo's pronunciation, try searching the word here to check: http://www.forvo.com/languages/it)
Finally, timed practice is good for improving your recall speed. It seems impossible fast at first, but to be able to hold a real-life normal speed conversation in Italian with a native speaker you need to have that "instant" recall - rather than slowly working out what you want to say one word at a time.
Thank you so much for posting these tips. I will follow these as well as my own strategies and hopefully i will achieve mastery. Thanks again
Im having difficulty hearing the subtle words when I have to hear her and repeat. On one occasion she says one word and she's really saying another. SO frustrating. Im plugging along and having grammar issues-duh!
This is a problem with the machine generated audio. Sometimes it helps to listen 3 or 4 times at the "normal" speed, and then if it's indistinguishable, listen at the slower option, going back to normal once you have an idea what is being said. Every now and then, that can be an "aha!" moment. However, I believe the Italian audio is sometimes muddled beyond comprehension even at the slower speed; worse than the Spanish, I think. They need to work on this.
All that said, overall, the audio here has actually helped my listening ability, so hang in there!
I found using Google Translate helps me with the phonetics and has helped me hear the subtle differences. Though I do agree that the audio can be unclear and even have words mixed together. Otherwise I suggest practicing speaking whatever words or phrases you are having difficulties with until you get your mouth and ears used to it. I hope that helps. :)
I am German and just tried out the German course, as well as the English beta version for German speakers. In my opinion Duolingo is optimal to get very good basic knowledge about the language you are learning. You will not be able to speak Italian, because this course is structured in a way that you will be forced to get reading, listening and some writing skills.
I did the Test for the German course, eventhough i am German myself and my results were rather poor. So if your finish Duolingo and halfway start another language course offline or get an italian friend to talk to, it will be A LOT easier to learn it than without duolingo. But Duolingo alone will probably not enough, as my experience from the German and English courses seemed to show me.
No. I did the whole tree, and then I moved to an Italian speaking city, and I'm still useless. However, I'm not as useless as I might have been, and I can at least write an email in Italian without just translating the whole thing with the internet. I'd recommend supplementing your duolingo studies with watching some Italian movies or tv (for listening comprehension), and if you can, trying to have Italian conversations with people.
It's difficult to learn a language, only practice and patience will make you see the results. I repeat each lesson more times.I practice repeating each lesson over and over again until it becomes part of my vocabulary. And occasionally I return to it.
Italian when you know English is very easy, like extremely easy. If you talk to say an Arabic speaker they will commonly say how similar Italian is to English which surprises many english speakers. Compared to Arabic or Farsi, or even something like Basque, It's a walk in the park
I don't think of it that way. Italian is really, really, really difficult. But it also depends on which type of way you want to speak it. If you want to become an author then you have to know it perfectly, and by that I mean EVERY single tense there is. I can assure you there are plenty there and many irregular verbs. But your verbs are not the primary worry. What about the structure of the sentence, how to formulate questions and answers? That's big. If you need your Italian for buisness, then all the techical words are in the package. While, if you need italian to travel, have basic interactions, then the whole thing is a lot easier. The used words are barely half the ones you'd find in a book, the register is a lot more relaxed and of course your tenses are not all there. You use "presente" and "futuro semplice" and "passato prossimo" a lot, as for "condizionale" and "congiuntivo" you may ignore. I am not trying to discourage you, learning a language is a very good thing because you start seeing the world by different perspectives. I am a native Italian speaker, as my name would hint, learning English has been a challenge but I am happy I have. Non ho altro da scrivere quindi direi di smettere. A presto!
Arabic is the hardest of all the languages you mentioned, I have been studying it for 4 years now + 1 spent in Jordan and I still find difficulties in expressing 100/100 of my thoughts. I started my Farsi lessons a year ago and it's not even easy, it's elementary. In my opinion Farsi is the easiest of the aforementioned since you basically have very few grammar, the other is vocabulary. Arabic though...as one of my teachers used to say "is an ocean, and you guys can't swim.."
Me and you are on the same page, Arabic is extremely hard because it's so vast. You can learn one arabic and not understand another, lots of arabic in movies say Egypt might not be used in that region you are etc. Truth is, its almost impossible to express yourself 100 percent in any foreign language, no matter how long you've studied it. Unless you completely assimilate yourself into that culture. A good and easy thing for european speakers is, in english and french, almost everything literally translates (in different ways) and most common sayings even translate, many of them almost thought for thought. It's ok though, you can reach a great level of knowledge though. For most people here though, learning french and spanish, the closeness to english and the large amount of accessible material makes for an excellent learning environment.
What are and where can I find some Italian movies with english subtitles? What are some good ones?
It might be best to try Italian movies with Italian subtitles, since they are more common and you can often tell from the context and the "look" of the words what is going on. After all reading a language is much easier than recognising spoken Italian at the normal fast pace. You might need the pause and rewind buttons.
The online product - Yabla - gives lots of simple short videos with Italian and English subtitles. It is not free, but is probably worth trying for a bit and I found it a good complement to Duolingo, since it is all real Italian spoken by human beings in real situations. There are some sample videos on their site to try, and seven day free trial.
I have found that this is a useful way to learn grammar rules but other apps such as babble are better for expanding vocab and speaking another way to increase speaking ability is to watch foreign films through you tube ect or to listen to Italian music and sing along as it helps you to tune into the language and also helps you to get some of the culture. Also inspector montalbarno is a good tv series which you can watch with English subtitles although this is set in Sicily so contains some Sicilian dialect.
There's no way to say this gently, but is there any good Italian-language music out there to listen to? (I've never been an Opera fan but maybe I'll have to resort to that..)
Of course there is. But as always, it depends on how you define good in music. Assuming your musical tastes have some breadth, and you're looking for some learnable lyrics, you might start on Youtube with the contemporary diva, Laura Pausini. She may be too commercial for you, but she is very easy to watch. Search 'Pausini - Italian' because though she is Italian, much of her music is in Spanish.
Thanks - I'll keep looking ; ] By 'good' I of course mean what I like. I want something challenging, interesting, or creative. That is, music that musicians would want to listen to.
Hmmm, okay, interesting. But as a musician of some 60 years myself –and even an occasional opera listener – I find the lady quite acceptable in her own musicianship, even aside from the fact that, in the context of this website, my purpose has been to seek music that furthers my target language. Apparently not what you are after.
She's a wonderful suggestion as far as language learning, so hopefully others can get some use from your suggestions. I might be too particular for this to be a good learning strategy for me, but I can remember silly Spanish songs from 15 years ago in school, so in general it is clearly a good one!
I'm curious as to why this would be downvoted so much. Actually, it's not such a bad observation. After all, by the time children reach the age of 7, they have had, by family and others, some 30,000 waking hours of instruction by example in the native language (immersion, anyone?). Especially those who have ever known a precocious 5-year-old, I should think most people learning a second language thrilled to reach the level of a second-grader through Duolingo alone (or other seff-study methods).
I'm Latin American and one of my discussions in the forums (English to Spanish or or vice versa ) was because the people were worrying more for the correct translation to Spanish of the phrase given for Duolingo, and it is sad to see that they do not worry about assimilating as you say, equal to a child ... without questioning, but my comment is marked like out of context, nevertheless I think as you that the children assimilate better the language of his parents because they do not have another thing any more that to learn, and like that it is used by courses as Assimil or Rossetta.... I will never say that the grammar is not good and very useful but to understand and to speak the language fluently the practice and the immersion is better to the conversation
adults have the power to say no, children don't. If you drop a little english 5 year old in Spain for 4 months, there is a good chance he will out do any adult that is not the most open minded and accepting person. Grammar is told to us, so that's ok to learn, but speaking out of a book won't get you fluent, just very disappointed.
Do not worry, if you study and practice fluid see the result, in my country fall into the trap of too much grammar teaching for 12 years of elementary and high school together and the percentage of young people who might come to speak the language is very limited. System error? wrong approach? Those that we speak Spanish tend to think too much about our language and not dive into the study but that is my personal opinion and does not want anyone to be offended, Just I'm an example, I have many years trying to study English and other languages but try now to think and write and when I can, talking.
I have been using Duo very regularly for a while now after having used an audio book course. I started my studies in September last year as an extra surprise for the special trip I had planned, also in secret, for my girlfriend in January.
From a few online tests that I have done I believe that I am currently at about A2 (Elementary) to B1 (Intermediate). The BBC offer a good range of proficiency tests and assistance which you may want to try to work out your current level at any stage; http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/gauge/. My reading and writing have increased dramatically due to Duolingo by my listening and speaking has not increased at the same speed.
But back to the original questions. I think that your speaking will be determined mainly by your additional practice with, and outside, Duolingo of the speaking. As brilliant as Duolingo is, the speaking proficiency will be a lot lower than your reading and writing due to the way the course is structured.
I would definitely advise using an audio book course, Pimsleur was my choice, which will assist in the pronunciation and speaking of the language alongside your reading ability. Then you should be more than prepared for most basic conversation when travelling, as I found January. I am planning a further trip to Venice in September and am fairly confident that I will be able to converse quite well.
Hope that helps you and good luck! :)
There are people who learn and speak decently in 2-3 months time, and there is people 8 years in that can't hold a conversation. Even after all those years they still struggle, they just can't turn off their native language, you may have this problem, you may not. Thinking in english and translating on the spot is horrible, be like a child, learn like a baby, only thing is, you can actually learn faster because you can understand how the grammar works very quickly.
I agree with you, but they also have to get used to the ear and to the phonetics of the language, I am from Latin America and more time takes us English as the absence of the immersion in the language, as teachers are concentrated more on grammar, That is not bad but Duolingo does well as the excess of the grammar avoids us and gives us more vocabulary. Have a good day!
I'm on level 10 on my mobile, only 7 on the computer, where I have gone right back to the first lessons and started again. (Just for practice !) I agree with most of the comments here. Duolingo is by far the best computer learning course I've come across. I started using Bussu, which was great for a complete beginner, just learning vocabulary and a bit of pronunciation, but I was appalled to sample a few of it's final level's lessons, to find it taught very little. Duo is different. With constant practice and repetition of old levels, this will take you to at least 'advanced intermediate.' For Grammar and understanding it is excellent (But I suggest you also get a decent Grammar Book) Also, one book, I can't do without, is Collins easy learning dictionary. It is stuffed with everyday examples of how words are used in everyday practise. But my main tip for Duolingo is to go back, even to the first lesson, and repeat out loud (It must be out loud) the words and phrase over and over. 10 times is not too much. Per essempio, try just pronouncing this..."Lui è un uomo" or "Tu sei la ragazza" 10 times each...first slowly word by word, until you can say each phrase fluently and effortlessly... What you are doing is exercising the muscles in your mouth to recognise the "Shapes" by repetitive speaking. Not only does your brain remember the words, your mouth does too!! Also try, as hard as it seems at first. NOT TO TRANSLATE the words into English / Your native language. Watch films, read books (Childrens books for 5 - 7 year old are great .. You wouldn't believe how many stories I know about 'Bunnies' - coniglietti . lol) listen to music...Try Fabrizio de André - A genius! ecc. Then yes by the end of this course you will be more than competent. And NEVER be afraid to make mistakes. My Italian girlfriend said I sounded like a Russian speaking English when I first tried my Italian on her.(No offence to Russians or the English) Buona fortuna.
The Collins Easy Learning dictionary is marvellous. I have a Kindle edition so can use it as the same time as Duolingo. It cost about £3.00 as far as I recall.
I agree with you, regarding Busuu's lessons, but it works a lot on making friends on there, Even though I haven't done anything on Busuu for a long time, I did have quite a few "friends" on it, who helped me a lot.
Good question! I am truly ashamed to say I have an "A" level in Italian, but I am having to re-learn the basics as I am struggling to remember even simple words now! I think, as others who have answered your post, that Duolingo is very good, but you need to supplement it with something else. Alone it will probably bring you to lower intermediate and this in itself is very good.
You will develop good basic skills that will enable you to expand to any level your dedication and experience will take you. The best advise I have for gaining the most out of this, or similar, programs is to give extra focus and practice to conversational comprehension and pronunciation; that is, to make the practice of listening and speaking the language a priority, and more specifically, in a listening and response (conversational) setting. Buona fortuna! Language and Communication is the key to so many doors of appreciation, enjoyment, understanding, and love! :o)
It depends on where you try it, on whom, and how hard you try. I would not however suggest any other free lessons as I cannot think of any that are better. I thought I would learn the stuff on here to get a basic understanding and than just try to learn some more on my own. It is definetly a good place to start.
No. I am on level 25 and have got 320 out of a maximum 330 crowns. I have some more Level 4 and a lot more Level 5 practice to do. It is clear to me that I will still not speak Italian decently. I am viewing Youtube videos with Italian subtitles, and also following courses on FutureLearn from the Open University and l'Università per Stranieri di Siena. It takes months to learn a language and Duolingo is not enough.
You need to speak it every day, even if it's just with yourself, to be able to speak it decently - and ideally speak it with someone else at least once a week as well. Duolingo is a great supplement, but it's not enough. Buona fortuna!
yes you will i already know italien but i have learnt a lot i am only on level two but it has helped a lot thanks duolingo