How to learn Italian fast & easily in 3-minute chunks!

Learning a language can be difficult, but here are some tips that will get you speaking Italian in no time at all

Kieran Ball
May 17, 2019 · 7 min read

The wonderful thing about living on Earth in 2019 is that we have the entire world at our fingertips. In the past, if we wanted to learn to speak Italian, we had to sign up to an evening class and attend for two hours every week, or we had to try and teach it to ourselves using a textbook.

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Nowadays, however, the resources that we can access at the click of a button are mind-blowing. Sometimes, though, too many resources can be just as unuseful as too few. So, in this article, I’m going to show you how to have fun learning Italian in a completely stress-free way, from the comfort of your own home.

Can I really learn Italian in 3 minutes?

The answer is, yes!

Another problem with living in 2019 is that everybody is busier than ever. People have such full lives trying to juggle work, family time, housework, preparing dinner, homework and everything else that comes along that we don’t have time to fit new things in.

It’s important, though, to make some time for yourself. A little bit of time dedicated just to doing things that you want to do will make your life feel more fulfilled. If the thing you want to do is learn Italian, then all you need is three minutes a day.

There are two main benefits to giving yourself three minutes each day in which to learn Italian. Firstly, it’s easy to do; I’m guessing that anybody in the world can find a spare three minutes in their day, no matter how busy you are. Secondly, limiting yourself to just three minutes every day will actually accelerate your language learning more than spending hours at a time.

It becomes a routine
Forcing yourself to sit and learn for three minutes is easy. It’s so easy that it will become a routine without any hassle at all. If something becomes routine, you’ll start to do it without thinking.

You stay more motivated
If you spend hours studying, you will get bored and it will feel like a chore. If you have to stop after three minutes, it will make Italian more excited and you will find it much easier to stay motivated.

You will remember things better
If you sit down to learn something, usually, you will learn a lot at the start of the lesson and then hardly anything at the end. The first three minutes is the most advantageous part of the lesson, so you might as well stop after that. By limiting yourself, your brain actually finds it easier to remember the new words and phrases you learn.

1. Learn the most useful words first

This might sound obvious, but you should learn the things that will be most useful first. If you learn things that you’re not going to use, it will cause you to lose motivation.

Think about when you last travelled to Italy and think about the sorts of things you wish you could say. These should be what you learn first. By learning what you will use straight away, you’ll be able to practise as soon as you get to Italy.

2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

Every single person who has ever learnt a language has made a thousand mistakes. It’s inevitable.

The only way you will get good at speaking Italian is by using it, getting it wrong and then trying again and again and again until you get it right. As awful as it feels when you think you’ve made a fool out of yourself by saying something wrong, the feeling of joy when you say something and you’re understood is unparalleled.

3. Prepare a list of things you can say without thinking

The best public speakers are those that have rehearsed what they’re saying over and over until they can say it without thinking. They speak naturally and without notes. This isn’t only true with public speakers.

Think about somebody you know who is good at talking. Somebody who can keep a crowd in awe as they speak is usually somebody who has plenty of stories or anecdotes to tell. Generally, they have told the same stories lots of times, so they are well rehearsed, and know exactly how to tell their stories, where to pause for laughs and where to expect a shocked face.

Well, this is what you need to do in Italian. You need to write a list of things to say that you can rehearse over and over until they come out of your mouth without thinking.

1. Hello, I’d like a table for three people, please.

2. Could I see the wine list?

3. That was absolutely delicious, please tell the chef everything was perfect.

The three sentences above are examples of things you could say in a restaurant. The first one is indespensable and you can easily change the number. The third one is less vital, but it is good for making yourself sound like an advanced Italian speaker. If you learn that one off by heart, you can whip it out at the end of any meal and impress the waiter and everybody around the table!

Any sentences you prepare, you must practise over and over and over until you can say them fluently. The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to use them. You don’t need too many sentences, just a good handful for a few common situations. They’re good for getting into a conversation and for breaking the ice. Once you get the ball rolling, it will make you feel more relaxed and you’ll be more likely to carry on speaking Italian. A good place to put the things you want to say is on a set of cue cards that you can easily carry around with you.

4. Tune your ear into the language

Finally, the thing that everybody dreads is not understanding what is being said back to you. And of course, the first few times you speak Italian to somebody, the odds are you won’t understand even one word of what they say to you. But that’s normal and you shouldn’t panic.

The more you practise, the more you’ll understand. At first, it will sound like whomever you’re speaking to is talking very fast, but the more words you know, the slower it will sound.

There are plenty of ways that you can get used to the Italian language and tune your ear into the intonation. One amazing resource is YouTube. Just by passively listening to Italian TV shows or radio shows, you will be amazed at how much you pick up. Just a few minutes each day of listening to something in Italian will do wonders.

As well as YouTube, you can use Italian TV websites like http://www.rai.it/rai1/, which are great places to visit. Or, you can listen to Italian audiobooks on Audible.

5. Is there anything else?

So, those were just a few things that you can do to start learning Spanfast. But, if you can’t be bothered to do all of this, then I have some wonderfully good news. I have created a course called “3 Minute Italian” which does it all for you. All you have to do is listen.

I’ve broken down the lessons into 3-minute videos and I’ve organised all the information so that you learn the most useful things first. Just lisen to one lesson each day.

You can get 3 Minute Italian on your computer, tablet or mobile phone

The method behind 3 Minute Italian is also very simple. I have broken down the Italian language into little building blocks and I show you how to put them back together to form your own sentences.

For example, the Italian word for “good” is “buono”. The Italian word for “it is” is “è”. So, how would you say, “It is good”?

It is good
È buono

Or, the word for “very” is “molto”, so how would you say, “It is very good”.

It is very good
È molto buono

That’s basically as hard as it gets. I add a few words at a time that you can simply plonk together, and then I show you all the things you can say with those words. You’ll be speaking Italian within the first three minutes!

The 3 Minute Italian courses take you from complete beginner and I assume you know no Italian whatsoever. You can currently get courses 1, 2, 3 and 4 on SkillShare.

You can get two months’ free access to all of my courses on SkillShare. Just use any of these links:

3 Minute Italian — Course 1
3 Minute Italian — Course 2
3 Minute Italian — Course 3
3 Minute Italian — Course 4

Happy learning :-)

The Happy Linguist

Hints and tips to make foreign language learning easier

Kieran Ball

Written by

Teacher and creator of 3 Minute Languages — a series of books and online courses that help you to learn a foreign language quickly and easily www.3minute.club

The Happy Linguist

Hints and tips to make foreign language learning easier

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