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Conversational Language Learning Tips?

Hi all,

I started learning Italian about 3 months ago using an online course on edX which has been a great way to start. The course is great for learning the key concepts of Italian but I find myself at a complete loss when it comes to conversation Italian . I obviously have signed up for Italki and have met many language exchange partners which has been a great starting point to get me there. Can anyone recommend tips or resources for getting to a conversational level. I am not after a quick fix, I'd rather take extra time and learn properly than a "language hack" and keep in mind I live in a small town so I don't have the option of speaking to other people directly.



Sep 25, 2016 9:52 AM
Comments · 4

Hi Emma,

thanks for posting your posting your considerations here. You know, your problems are very common among language learners, especially for beginners.

I'm not a professional language teacher, but I could share my point of view, gained from learning english, a bit of french and talking with other language learners / hackers.

First of all, I recommend you to get exposed to you target language, you should listen lots and lots of audios, conversations, watch videos, movies: in the case of videos, you can take advantage of subtitles. It doesn't matter if you don't understand all words, you should get used to that language sound, rhythm and comprehend the general context. It should be important to choose supporting material that of your interest.

Besides, from where I stand, it could be very useful in your particular situation, because in italian language is characterized by a high grapheme-phoneme correspondence (more than English or French :) ), which means a biunivocal matching between how words/letters appear and how they are pronounced.

I also suggest you to have a look at these two videos (15 mins long each ones).

One of the tips suggested in the videos is to practice "shower conversations", i.e. trying to speak yourself in the target language: it could be useful in order to think (not only speak) in that language.

Another tip: try to learn or memorize words, expressions and so on linking them to images, sensations, experiences you lived, thoughts that you already hold in your mind. For example: if you listen to a particular expression in a particular context (funny, dramatic...), well probably you have more chances to remember it later because you have fixed that expression in your memory together with the remarkable emotion, experience or memory

October 15, 2016

Hi Emma !

Congrats on wanting to focus on conversational Italian ! Such an important goal !

As Thuy Nguyen said, you want to find a language exchange partner or an informal tutor and ask to work spefically on that .

You could work start working on this list of useful Italian phrases from the Omniglot website and ask to work on them and then develop a conversation routine and take it from there.

Online, you can find some nice videos to find out more vocab. There is Learn Italian with Lucrezia channel on Youtube, which I really recommend.

On Instagram, I have an account where you can learn colloquial expressions with videos as well. Check it out, it's really helpful   and everything is translated in English word by word!  It's @allaboutitalian

Another website full of resources is

It has recordings specific for spoken Italian and colloquial expressions.

But , of course, you have to speak and practice using these expressions !

Well, this should be enough to get you started. Let us know how it goes and best of luck ! :-)

September 26, 2016

Hi Emma,

I'm also learning Italian through websites, download materials and starting with Italian grammar.I see a Italian guy who want to make language exchange with English native speaker. I think he might help you for communication in Italian. Below is link of his discussion in Italki.

September 25, 2016
Thankyou so much for all the useful advice! I will give it all a go and let you know how it goes :).
October 22, 2016
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language