When you take a class to learn Italian, you will review definite articles, direct object pronouns, and preposition. Your instructor will probably show you how to pronounce Italian words and there will probably be an Italian audio lab. You will come to a point where you will want to learn some shortcuts and quick pointers, which will give your lessons more power. Here are some things they don’t teach in language lessons that will improve your Italian.
In Italian basically it is “What you see is what you hear”. When you see an Italian speaking native open his mouth wide, it isn’t always to shout as much as it is to proper pronounce the big, round vowels. As an example, if you want to pronounce the letter “a”, you open your mouth wide and say “ahhhhh”.
By remembering the phrase what you see is what you hear you will have no trouble spelling and pronouncing the Italian words. Because Italian is a phonetic language most words are pronounced just as they are written.
Many of the Italian words look like English words and have similar meanings. This makes learning Italian a little easier. There are only minor differences in the spelling between the English and the Italian words called cognates. They are called cognates because of their similarities. In Italian they are called parole simili. Some of the cognates are stazione or station, museo or museum, professore or professor, and intelligente or intelligent.
There are other words in Italian, which are similar to English words, but have a different meaning. These words are known as false cognates or falsi amici. For example parente means relative, not parent, and libreria means bookstore, not library.
Because the endings of conjugated verb forms indicate person and number, Italian subject pronouns can be left out unless they are needed to clarify, when they have been modified by the word “also” or “anche”, or when there is an emphasis or a contrast needed. If you are starting a first-person comment with “io”, such as “I study”, or “I walk”, it sounds as though you are constantly calling attention to yourself, so in most cases the “io” is left off the comment.
Remember to slow down. Being fast only counts in a car race; fast does not make you fluent in the language and easily understood. When many of us speak in English, we are notorious for slurring our words together. When speaking in Italian it is better to allow the Italian vowels and consonants to maintain their particular, unchanging sound. Just relax and take a deep breathe so that you can enjoy the language at a leisurely pace.
When it comes to adjectives, you can only say molto bene so many times before you start becoming bored with yourself. There are times when Italian adjectives, which are the most expressive words, get short-changed because of the usual emphasis on the nouns and the verbs. You can learn alternative ways to express yourself by including the use of prefixes, such as stra and suffixes, such as ino, etto, ello, and accio. You will quickly increase your vocabulary by doing so.
When it comes to formalities, you will see how shopkeepers, neighbors, and guests perceive you when you ingratiate yourself with them. It is good to remember your manners and you’re more likely to be greeted with a smile. Learn the essential survival words and phrases in Italian and chances are they will help you with your language skills.
About the courteous form of address in Italian, there are four ways of saying you in Italian tu, voi, Lei, and Loro. Tu, for one person, voi, for two or more people are the forms only used with family members, children and close friends. When speaking to an Italian they may ask “Possiamo darci del tu?” which means “May we switch to the tu form?” after a relationship has progressed. This is the sign that you are now able to use the more common form tu.
Err, umm, ah, like you know are conversation fillers, which make you sound like a teenager or worse. The fact is you know what you want to say, but at that moment you are temporarily incoherent. One remedy for this is to practice interjections, sentence starters, and additional useful phrases, which will help get your tongue started and back on track. You can commit your favorite snappy answers to memory to help you avoid those blank moments when you are at a loss for words.
Talking loudly does not make you understood, it just makes you loud. Many people have a bad habit of almost screaming when asked to repeat themselves. You may just need to polish up your Italian skills. Those you are speaking to are probably not hard of hearing. You may have mispronounced the word or maybe you just used the wrong choice of words. So don’t shout at them, they may be able to hear just fine.
There is one thing you will notice when you spend time in Italy, and that is Italians dress to impress. They may just be taking their ritual evening walk or stepping out to the opera. Italians want to look good. So when you go to Italy and are visiting the churches and the museums, you may want to leave the shorts and sandals at the hotel. It will improve your confidence among all those well-dressed Italians, which can help you improve your Italian.
There will be times that no matter how well you say something in Italian, sometimes it will be difficult for even a linguist to interpret. It could be what you are say and not how you are saying it that is the problem. The cultural differences become increasingly apparent when speaking a foreign language. If you are sure that what you are saying is grammatical correct and you are still receiving blank stares, you might try a different approach.