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How to Start Thinking in Italian

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Italian

Going through Italian lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Italian, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Italian. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Italian and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Italian vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Italian

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through ItalianPod101.com.

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1. Surround yourself with Italian

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Italian constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Italian radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of ItalianPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Italian words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Italian.

ItalianPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Italian.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Italian not only gets you in the mindset of Italian, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With ItalianPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Italian speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but ItalianPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with ItalianPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that ItalianPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

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5 Tips To Motivate Yourself While Learning A Second Language

5 Tips to Motivate Yourself

1. Schedule your time.

One of the most important factors in keeping your motivation up is developing it into a habit. Whether it be 20 minutes or 3 hours, schedule time to study every day and stick to it. Regular exposure solidifies what you learn and keeps you progressing. To make sure you stick to your routine, a great idea is to build a schedule for your day and decide that every day/Monday/weekend, you study from 6pm to 8pm. Just remember that 30 minutes a day, every day, is better than a binge 8-hour study session at the end of the week (though it’s obviously better than nothing).

2. Learn a word a day with our great Word of the Day learning tool.

Trying to learn everything at once and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of words in your new language is not a good idea. Sometimes, even if you do learn new words, you forget them quickly because you haven’t heard them enough in context. As mentioned above, daily exposure to new words is an important factor in solidifying your target language. Our Word of the Day tool delivers you daily words and phrases, shows you how to pronounce them and use them in different contexts. Since you can get the WOTD via email, Facebook, or Twitter, this is a passive way of learning a language that fits into your existing daily social media routine. It only takes 3 minutes to review a word and practice its pronunciation, so you can do it on the way to work, in the gym, or even before you go to bed.

Click here to get the Italian Word of the Day for FREE!

3. Make friends!

Make friends!

If there’s a community of people who speak the language you want to learn in your city, start attending those events! Friendship is the easiest way to get comfortable with the slang, intonation, and mannerisms of a new language. The key to learning any language is speaking a lot, so try to find a native speaker who can be your conversation partner. Having friends that speak your target language means that you will find yourself in situations where you have no choice but to speak that language. But since they are your friends, you will be doing things you enjoy with them. So these situations will probably have little or no stress. These friendships will also mean that you have someone you can ask about language, culture, and so on.

4. Take a break!

Break time

If you’re having an off day or if your brain is already tired of studying, see if you can take a break and do something fun AND useful. Comic books, illustrated stories, and cartoons are a fun way to keep learning while reducing the target language text load for weary eyes. Plus, the images help you plant lasting seeds of memory, as researchers say humor opens up cognitive doors. This is a way to keep the target language active in your brain without the strain of studying a textbook.

Don’t get stuck with the same content though. When things start to bore you, move on. Change up your books, movies, anime, music, dramas, and so on when they start getting old.

5. Don’t give up!

As with any goal, there are going to be pitfalls along the way. You’d have to be incredibly determined to never have an off-day or consider giving up. And when you do it’s ok, but the important thing is to pick yourself up after this temporary setback and keep going. Knowing you’ve overcome a few obstacles is only going to make the moment you have your first conversation in another language that much sweeter. Like the Italian proverb says, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

If you need more motivation, check out this list of the Top 10 Inspirational Quotes in Italian.

The Ferrari Dream

Congratulations to Paddy Cunningham on winning the GRAND PRIZE of Mail Bag Contest II!

Paddy loves Italian, Italy and most of all, Ferrari! He even got to tour the Ferrari factory! This only spurred on his love for all things Italian and motivated him further to learning Italian.

Have a look at the mail he sent us:

“My love for Italy and all things Italian started many years ago and it
all began where many dreams begin. A dream of some day owning a
Ferrari.

I had been to Italy many times to watch Grand Prix and then in 2005
I won a trip to vist the Ferrari factory. On that trip I met a very
nice Italian Lady. Life does not always turn out the way we plan it
and I never managed to get the Ferrari, but I did get the girl.

I only knew a couple of Italian words such as ‘Aqua’ and ‘Grazie’ and
so on and learning a language was very intimidating for me. But in
August 2007 I decided to give it a try and found the first 6 months were
very hard and I gave up many times, but then in April 2008 I discovered
Italianpod101.com.

Paddy, lover of Italy, Ferrari and ItalianPod101!

Although I tried a number of other Italian podcasts, I found that Italianpod101.com was easily the best, the lessons were presented in a way which was very efficient and easy to learn. I wanted to increase my vocabulary as much as possible and it is a great help to listen to audio lessons on my iPod whenever I am on-the-go. I am not looking to have a degree in Italian or to write or speak perfect Italian but I do want to be able to communicate in Italian with native speakers. That’s why I still get a great degree of satisfaction when I see my steady progress as I learn Italian using Italianpod101.com.

There is an old saying, ‘There is no such thing as a bad student, just
a bad teacher.’

I do not regard myself as a good student by any stretch of the
imagination, but I am sure that if Italianpod101.com can teach someone
like me Italian, then it is a very good teacher!”

Have a great story to share? Share yours with us yours in the comment field on any of our current posts or e-mail us.

Mail Bag Stories - Learn Italian with Your Classmates!

Welcome to the new section of our blog, The Mail Bag. This is where we’ll share stories from our listeners in the endeavors with Italian. We hope stories from fellow students can help motivate and inspire you to begin learning Italian or give you that extra needed push and renewed sense of strength when you think it’s impossible to get become more proficient!

This week we’d like to introduce you to Jack Eitelgeorge from Santa Rosa, CA. Jack had this to say about his studies:

“My wife and I studied her family history and we found relatives in Italy. The next year we visited them and found them very please to meet and welcome us. The problem was, neither side could speak the others’ language.

Do you know what it’s like to have six smiling people sitting in a circle around you while you look up an Italian
word in the dictionary? It’s an ETERNITY.

Then once you say the word and acknowledge the nods, you have to launch another search while the anticipating people wait. It is a bit stressful, so I decided ‘next time I will be able to carry on a conversation.’

I tried a year of basic Italian at home at a local college and that helped, but I needed a more flexible method of study
without deadlines and without competitive quizzes and tests. I found Italianpod101 through a search of the word “Italian” at the iTunes website. It led to the podcast site and it was ‘free.’ I found that the daily dialogues were short, easy to download and the study plan was perfect for my time frame.

I followed the study approach suggested at the web site and kept drilling myself, almost to the point of memorizing the
dialogue. I learn best by rote, like learning the words and tune of a song. Italian is such a melodious language that it is almost a form of music. Pretty soon I was able to speak the phrases without the herky-jerky hesitations of recitation. I found a couple of terms like ‘allora’ and ’secondo me’ and began to fill in the pauses between sentences.

By no means am I fluent but, heck, I am barely fluent in English! I can honestly say this, however: on our last trip to
Italy I was a bit of a hero. Our relatives loved the fact that not only was I studying their language I was actually able to communicate.

Now I am continuing Italianpod101 to become even better at Italian. My latest goal? To reach a point where our Italian relatives do not finish my sentences for me!”

Great job! We’re happy to hear that your second trip was much smoother and your Italian is improving!

This is an ongoing project, so please share your stories! You may send these to contactus@italianpod101.com with the subject line: “Mailbag Story”. Our favorite stories will win FREE Premium service and be posted here to be shared with others!

Until next time, keep listening!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From ItalianPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at ItalianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Italian together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Italian with ItalianPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the ItalianPod101.com team!