You don’t have to live in Italy to learn the language. It is possible to create an Immersion program at home. I’m living proof! I went from “0 to fluent” using these tips as my roadmap to fluency.
I help you to LEARN BETTER by posting tips, resources, and motivational posts on the Matta Blog to keep your Italian language learning motors super-charged. Here are a couple of the most popular ones:
• 10 Ways to Practice Pronunciation : Guest Post for Transparent Language 2014
• Learning a Language is like a masterpiece by Leonardo
• How Much Time Do You Spend on Italian Every Day?
• Addicted to Duolingo
Resources that Work!
ITALIAN TV, FILMS & RADIO, AUDIO
Who doesn’t love a good movie, TV show or music station to tune into and unwind? They are also fantastic resources to keep your auditory language skills thriving!
Italian TV On-Line
Rai.TV – Raiplay.it Enjoy shows like the series Il Paradiso delle Signore, L’Amica Geniale, Don Matteo and a whole bunch of comedies and soap dramas. Attenzione: you need region access to view Raiplay, which can be done by subscribing to Hola.)
Yabla. Language Immersion Through Online Video
Netflix: Rent or Stream MoviesNetflix has a surprisingly large selection of Italian films for viewing
Repubblica TV Watch short news videos and current events in Italian, streaming live on web, accompanied by short written descriptions. Great way to practice audio and reading skills!
Radio and Audio
Matta Spotify Italian Playlist. Tune in and discover Italian singers that you like.
RaiRadio3. Portale for Radio Stations and Podcasts.
Italia.FM. Portal for Radio Stations.
Radio Capital. Italian talk radio.
LatteMiele. An Italian Radio Station that features all Italian music.
News In Slow Italian. Weekly Language Learning News Podcast that you can listen to at different speeds: Slow & Fast (Paid subscription).
Stuck in traffic? Got a long commute? Don’t waste your valuable time drumming your fingers on the steering wheel, when instead you could be keeping yourself entertained and elevating your Italian skills by listening to a podcast in Italian.
Tutti Matti per l’Italiano. My own podcast explores all aspects of Italian culture, music, and current events as well as language learning tips.
Learn Italian with Lucrezia – Podcast by Lucrezia Oddone from Rome
Coffee Break Italian. – Podcast by Mark (Who is Scottish) and native Speaker Francesca from Pettinengo, a region of Piedmont in northern Italy. Coffee Break Italiano consists of two seasons of forty audio lessons. Season 1 is for Absolute Beginners, and Season 2 is for Intermediate language students. Conversations are then broken down sentence by sentence as the primary host demystifies new words and grammar constructions. Read a review I wrote of Coffee Break Italian.
L’Italiano Vero Recorded by Massimo Cubelli and Italian friends in Bergamo. It is the brainchild of Massimo who wanted to create a podcast that would be helpful to students of the Italian language. But, unlike other language podcasts that focus on grammar rules, dissect sentences, and wax on about tenses, Massimo, wanted listeners to understand his native language in a simple, practical, and entertaining way. Read blog post about L’Italiano Vero
Quattro Stagione. Recorded by Alessandra originally from Siena. A fun way to “tour” Italy from wherever you are. Read a blog post I wrote about Alessandra, the host.
ItalianPod101. They walk you through a dialogue, give you a transcript, then review new words and grammar structures, for a small fee for beginning to intermediate learners.
Finestra sull’Arte. Learn about famous Italian artists to understand Italian art history better. This is best for advanced learners.
Pick up an Italian book, magazine, and take the plunge by diving right in! If you are new to the Italian language, start with children’s books — that’s what I did! Then to challenge yourself, begin reading things you are familiar with in English — like Harry Potter or your favorite English mystery writer. I’d be thrilled, of course, if you read one of my novels set in Italy. I write in English, but there are lots of Italian words thrown in. I’ve also translated one of the books into Italian.
Vanity Fair. The Italian version.
Donna Moderna. Online Italian women’s magazine.
Il Post. A news source that features current events in Italy and
Le avventure di Pinocchio. This is a dual language book by Jack Risos. Read a review that I wrote.
Corriere della Sera. News specific to Italy.
La Repubblica. News specific to Italy.
Fumetti and Fotoromanzo. When you are in Italy search for these comic Books and photo romances in Italian open-air markets: Topolino, Tex, Diabolik, Dylan Dog, Julia, Sogno.
Youtube is a fantastic platform for working on your Italian skills at home. There are so many Italian teachers and videos to watch.
Studentessa Matta Channel. Join me on my Youtube channel where I post videos about grammar and Italian culture. Look for the transcriptions in Italian and English on the website in a linked blog post.
Grammatica Caffè. Short videos on Alma.tv, written and produced by Roberto Tartaglione of SCUDIT, Scuola d’Italiano.
Sgrammaticando. Focusing on Italian grammar. Originally intended for an Italian audience, it’s become a useful site for Italian students.
Italiano Automatico. Learn Italian with Alberto, and sometimes his nonna!
Learn Italian with Lucrezia. Lucrezia is an Italian native who records short, fun weekly videos to help you learn Italian.
Italian Language and Culture By Francesca. Helps non-native speakers discover the beauty of Italian through culture.
One World Italiano. Learn Italian with Veronica from Sardinia.
Weilà Tom. Italian teaching in a casual and fun way.
Peppa Pig. A children’s cartoon series that is easy to follow for beginning language learners.
Andiamo online and surf the web like an Italian. Here is a shortlist of some of my favorite websites — including the Matta site of course!
Studentessa Matta – Your crazy Language Guide helping you to Elevate your Passion for Italy and Italian! Award-winning blog about Italian language and culture.
Italian for My Girlfriend. This site has hundreds of vocabulary words drawn into images then records to words into video.
I Draw Italian. A Facebook site by a graphic designer trying to learn the Italian language. Welcome to the visual language journal!
Italian StackExchange. A question and answer site for those wanting to discuss the finer points of the Italian language.
Becoming Italian Word by Word. Dianne Hales author of “The Bella Lingua”, blogs in English highlighting Italian culture and vocabulary.
Parlate. This site is for Italian students who what to learn language through culture.
Giallo Zafferano. A recipe site that all my Italian friends use.
Featuring interactive websites for learning Italian and language training
Parola del Giorno. Learn a new Italian word Monday through Friday, published most weekdays.
LyricsTraining The LyricsTraining program is available for Smart Phone or computer. The learning game draws upon thousands of popular songs found on Youtube. Music stimulates learning and memorization naturally.
LingQ. Learn languages enjoyably with interesting, authentic content in a global community. Listen and read, grow your vocabulary, learn from anything on the web.
DuoLingo. A free site that gasifies your way up a “tree of learning,” gaining points and mastering up to 25 skill levels. And in all honesty, I was once Addicted to Duolingo.
bab.la. A rich resource for reference tools including an Italian dictionary, conjugation support, quizzes, and games.
Anki. A spaced repetition flashcard program. You can create your own mnemonic cards
lang-8.com. Language exchange social networking website geared towards learners.
Italian Verbs Conjugator. Type a verb and have it instantly conjugated.
Babbel. Beginner grammar courses, vocabulary lessons, and courses with tongue-twisters, sayings, and songs.
Cyber Italian. Learn Italian online with Maura Garau’s team of teachers
Italian: A Self-Teaching Guide. Edourdo A. Lebano
Word Reference Forum. A great place to ask scholarly questions about the language.
WordReference. Online dictionary and translator.
Forvo. Listen to native speakers pronounce Italian words
Reverso Context. Translate and learn millions of words and
Dizy Italian Dictionary. A dictionary with pictures, descriptions, and links.
Garzanti Linguistica Dizionario Italiano. Italian online dictionary.
UltraLingua Dictionary. An online dictionary and conjugations app for iOS.
Treccani. Italian encyclopedia.
Fraze.it. Enter a word or a short phrase and Fraze will pump out sentences for you in context.
Italy Made Easy. Brilliant free and paid lessons that developed from a popular Youtube series.
Fluent Forever. Train your ear to understand the basic and more complex pronunciation. Read a post I wrote and listen to an interview I gave with the founder Gabriel Wyner.
Surface Language. Practice and learn the pronunciation of the 500 most commonly used words in Italian.
Google Translate ATTENZIONE!!! The Google Translator should be used with caution! It is not accurate and should be used by those who already have a reasonable understanding of grammar and idioms and can spot a bad when a translation comes back with an incorrect translation.
Play around in the Italian language and take your language skills farther.
Scriveremo Pocket Puzzles. Puzzles and quizzes to enhance your vocabulary comprehension. Read a post I wrote about Scriveremo.
Aworded. An app to play Scrabble with Italians and other language learners.
Mindsnacks. Helps you learn vocabulary, phrases, verb conjugations, grammar, and pronunciation.
Play Learn Italian. Play hangman and do word searches.
Barzellette. Jokes in Italian.
Parole Vietate. The Italian version of Taboo. Tobjective of the game is to guess a word, by describing it using other words. Helps build vocabulary!
Spotify Italian Karaoke Playlist. Search for Playlists on Spotify and sing along to your favorite Italian tunes at your next party.
Italian Karaoke Youtube Videos provide music and words for you to sing.
PRACTICE PRONUNCIATION – VOICE RECORDING
Let’s face it. No one likes the sound of their own voice! Horrors of horrors if you record your own voice in another language! But making a recording of yourself speaking in the target language can be quite effective and illuminating as you learn to self-correct your own speech. You can simply use your iPhone or iPad to record yourself reading from a book or newspaper. Or record a daily “to do” list in Italian on your mobile phone.
Transparent Language EveryVoice. Record your own voice and compare it to native speaker pronunciation.
Rocket Italian Online Voice Registration. Record your own voice and compare it to native speaker pronunciation.
iOS Voice Memo App. Record your own voice while you’re speaking or reading aloud and evaluate yourself.
JOIN A CONVERSATION GROUP/FIND A LANGUAGE PARTNER
Learning a language is all about making conversation. So go out there and find a language partner. Trust me. It is the best way you can break through inhibitions and start feeling comfortable with speaking. A private tutor will also help with enunciation, word emphasis, and phonic recognition.
Chat Italiano! Sign-up for on-line 1/2 hour Italian chat sessions with Melissa on the Matta website and elevate your conversation skills
iTalki.com. Connect with an online teacher and native- speaking language partner. Listen to a podcast I recorded on italki.
Preply. Find a native speaking language teacher that is right for any student’s interest.
Skill Silo. Find a native language teacher and have 1-on-1 language lessons via Skype. See a post I wrote on Skill Silo.
Impariamo l’Italiano. A great forum where you can exercise your skills with madrelingua Italians and other students. (This is where I got my start.)
Interpals. Find language partners that you can chat with via text, Skype, email or snail mail if you’re feeling old-fashioned.
WyzAnt. Find expert tutors at affordable prices in your area.
Skype. set a FREE e account and find some friends to chat with in Italy. In California there is a 9 hour time difference between me and il bel paese. I find the best time to connect with my Italian pals is between 12pm – 3pm west coast California Time (In Italy it is their 9pm -12am)
MeetUp Local Interest Groups. Join an Italian conversation group in your area.
WRITE IN ITALIANO
Develop a daily writing practice in Italian. Keep an old-fashioned journal and jot down a couple of sentences about your day — it could be as simple as a short paragraph describing an activity or the weather, even a grocery list. In so doing, you work on new vocabulary and improve your grammar skills. It’s time to get creative and let those words fly — digitally or on paper!
Matta Facebook Page. Be an active member of the Matta Facebook community and interact with others to practice your writing skills daily.
MattaTwitter Feed. Tweet in Italian — just a couple words a day goes a long way!
Matta Facebook Conversation Group. Join the smaller community of chatty Matta fans as we practice writing in a small group forum.
To-Do List. Write your to-dos or grocery list in Italian.
Short stories. Unleash your own creativity and write a short story, movie review, editorial, or poem in Italian.
Texting. Send messages on your mobile phone to friends in Italy and other countries for free! To make texting in Italian even easier activate the Italian keyboard/spell check on your phone.
Word Press Blog Take a page out of my book and start your own Italian language blog! Let me know and I will come and be a fan!
HOST A FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT
If you’re serious about practicing the language, hosting an exchange student is a great idea. It is the most personalized and profound way I have found to practice Italian language skills on a long-term daily basis.
AFS Study Abroad — Host an exchange student. I’ve hosted two Italian students through AFS — Francesca from Puglia for an entire school year and Marta, from Lecce in Puglia for 2 months. The experience changed my life and I gained two new families.
STUDY IN ITALIA
Twice a year, I take small groups to Italy with me to learn the language and practice conversation skills. I also offer personalized Italian Homestay vacation here on the Matta Site. If you are looking for a great school in Italy to learn the language I partner with Cultura Italiana in Arezzo.
Andiamo in Italia! Join me for a small-group language program.
At Home in Italy. Enjoy an Italian language homestay and live and learn in the home of an Italian teacher in Italy.
Study at Cultura Italiana Italian School Arezzo. Tell them Melissa sent you and you will receive a special welcome and an aperitivo.