Learn Italian online? Where & how to begin.

Is it possible to learn Italian online? Without chucking in your job, leaving home and family, and traveling to Italy?

Absolutely.

Not only is it possible, but these days the self-study option can even be faster and cheaper than a traditional course!

Remember the days before the Internet?

To learn a foreign language back then you more or less HAD to go to a country where that language was spoken. The limited number of ‘teach-yourself’ courses that were available in the local library or book seller were definitely an inferior option.

Not any more. Of course you might prefer to take an Italian course in Italy – in which case click this link to find out more –  but if lack of time or money rule out that option, not to worry. You really CAN learn Italian, using just your home PC, tablet or even a smartphone!

1. Study Italian online

If you know nothing of Italian, you’ll save time by boning up on the basics.

Try the beginners’ Italian course at dontspeakitalian.com, which has 10 simple grammar lessons, 10 exercises to consolidate what you study, 10 vocabulary lists, 10 listening practice texts (complete with transcripts), and ten situational dialogues (ditto.) That’s fifty pages of free online learning, with no registration required. Visit the site.

If (when) you’re no longer a beginner, the best option is onlineitalianclub.com, a site which boasts over 1500 pages of free materials and exercises, divided into six levels from A1 (beginner/elementary) to C2 (proficiency). Again, there’s no need to register, but if you ‘join’ the club by getting on their mailing list, you’re promised three new exercises or similar each week.

2. Try online Italian lessons

Learning Italian online from your own home doesn’t have to mean self-study. And it isn’t always free…

Some people thrive on the many exercises available at zero cost on the Internet.

But others miss the ‘guiding hand’ and personalized explanations that only an experienced teacher can provide.

If that sounds like you, it could be that taking online Italian lessons with an experienced Italian teacher would be a better or complimentary approach.

Italian lessons online, usually via Skype video calling (which is free to download), are a relatively inexpensive but very effective way to make progress with your Italian.

Typically you’ll be asked about your preferences and priorities so that lessons can be personalized to your needs. And you can take lessons as often as you please.

Click here for more information about online Italian lessons with a Madrelingua teacher!

3. Practice makes perfect!

Another of the ways that the Internet has made learning a language so much easier than it used to be are the myriad opportunities to use what you study.

Practice really is the magic link between studying Italian (on your own or with a teacher) and actually absorbing and using the language.

With the Internet you can read an Italian newspaper or magazine, tune into an Italian radio station or TV channel, listen to Italian pop music on YouTube, or even frequent Italian language websites that cover topics that interest you.

That said, emerging yourself in a world of fast, complex Italian can be overwhelming and even de-motivating.

So it can be a good idea to ease yourself in gently. You could, for example, start with materials which allow you to practice your reading and listening, but which are specifically designed for learners at your level.

One such resource are  ‘easy Italian readers‘, simplified stories with audio, exercises and glossaries of difficult words.

Onlineitalianclub.com (the one with 1500 pages) has a good selection in their online shop. Click the cover images to find links to free sample chapters.

Above all…

However you choose to learn Italian, the ‘secret sauce’ is consistency and persistence.

If you can ensure that studying Italian is a fun and stimulating part of your normal routine, whether that means building a good relationship with an online teacher or developing your reading and listening skills so you can quickly consolidate the Italian you learn, you’ll be more likely to keep at it for the time it takes to really master the language.

Above all you should strive to include some variety in your study plan, so as to make sure you don’t get bored! The more enjoyment you get out of learning, the less likely you are to give up when you encounter those inevitable moments of self-doubt.

Ready to learn Italian online?

Here are those links again: