• Your different skills and senses reinforce one another, so be sure to SAY, READ, WRITE, and LISTEN to new expressions as you are learning them.
  • Learn gender and articles along with the new vocabulary words, as sometimes they are outside of the normal rules (il cinema, la radio).
  • Pay special attention to accents and to the pronunciation of consonants that are exceptions to the rules and special combinations (the g in gonna, the c in pace, the ch in barche, the gn in sogno).
  • When encountering a new word, don’t immediately turn to the dictionary. Does it sound like some other English or Italian word? Can you guess its meaning from the rest of the words in the sentence?
  • Be aware of false cognates that look like a similar word in English but actually have a different meaning (an example of a false cognate is libreria, which means “bookstore”, not “library”).


  • Be sure to learn a complete conjugation (pronoun followed by stem + ending) for any new group of verbs and for all irregular verbs.
  • Don’t worry yourself too much about the difficult irregular verb forms. These are the ones most commonly used (which can be initially discouraging) and you will get lots of practice with them by default.
  • Similarly, don’t be overwhelmed by all the verb tenses. After all, the original goal is to be understood. You can initially get by with phrases like “Today | Tomorrow | Yesterday I go to the store.” and worry later about the myriad of tenses as you progress.


  • COMMUNICATE with native speakers, either through messaging or video (or BOTH). There are several mediums out there for this (Skype, Speaky, WhatsApp, etc.)
  • LISTEN to Italian radio broadcasts (i.e. Radio24 in Milan) or to Italian podcasts (News In Slow Italian, ItalianPod101, etc.)
  • WATCH Italian films (with subtitles) on YouTube or some other Internet resource. You may find them difficult at first, but you will be surprised at how quickly your understanding grows.
  • READ parallel-text books with Italian on one page and the English translation on the facing page. This saves you the time of looking up unknown words and shows you the differences in Italian sentence structures to that of English.
  • PRACTICE with flash cards is extremely helpful to some and readily available through our Quizlet links (both desktop and mobile) at the bottom of each lesson.


  • HAVE A GOAL! Think about your personal goals going into this. Some people simply want to get by on a trip to Italy and to be able to say “hello”, good-bye”, and know how to order at a restaurant. Others may want to be able to communicate with Italian relatives, but have no real interest in reading or writing. And some people want to become fluent.
  • BE FLEXIBLE! Try all sorts of different approaches when learning a new language. Various practices above will work for some people and not for others. Find methods that work best for you, but be flexible enough to experiment. You may discover methods that work even better.
  • DON’T GET FRUSTRATED! Learning a new language requires patience and persistence. Know going into this that some things will come easy to you and some things will be more difficult to understand.