Studying Italian when not in Italy
For those who cannot afford to travel to Italy to learn the Italian language there are several options available to start your study. Whether you want to brush up on conversational Italian before a trip, or desire to become completely fluent there are tools ranging from language classes, Italian movies, software, streaming television and radio to websites and online networks dedicated to Italian. Besides the tools listed below there are countless Italian phrasebooks and dictionaries - both great resources for last minute translations while in Italy.
Meetup.com Do you want to meet Italian Speakers ?
Meetup provides an excellent opportunity to meet / network with people interested in Italy and the Italian language. Check it out. There is probably a group meeting near your area where you can go and practice Italian for free.
See : Meetup: Italian Language Meetings * Note an expanded section about Learning Italian in the US is coming soon
Casa Italiana a Washington DC
Adult courses : Casa Italiana Language School offers a broad variety of language courses for students with no previous exposure to Italian, to people with some experience, but who might wish to refresh their knowledge or to people who already know a good deal but wish to further grasp the beauty of Italian culture and language.
Children's Program : Every Sunday morning there is a class specifically aimed at children 3 to 13 years old. Classes are formed according to age and linguistic ability. All instructors have extensive experience in teaching Italian as a second language (L2). The primary objective of all courses is to encourage and develop speaking and comprehension skills.
Public Schools, Colleges and Language Schools Some public schools across the country have offered classes in Italian depending upon the ethnic makeup of its community and its budget. Most Liberal Arts Colleges, State Schools and Universities offer Italian language courses as well as larger Italian programs. Community Colleges may offer Italian if their language department is large enough to accommodate a fourth language besides Spanish, French and German. Most large cities have language schools that offer more than just Italian and with varying degrees of class size, difficulty and cost. For a more personable experience, local social organizations in Italian American neighborhoods often offer Italian lessons or know of individuals who would offer one-to-one lessons in their home.
Italian Language Software Italian language software is more popular than ever, with dozens if not hundreds of companies creating new titles. These software titles, some of them offered by well-established language schools range in price and approach. The most comprehensive titles are usually the most expensive, but cover all aspects of the Italian language including written Italian. Some of these more expensive titles include multimedia exercises, short films and voice features to practice pronunciation or virtual conversations. Other software packages that are more affordable offer stripped-down versions, without the added features or will focus on vocabulary and conversational phrases instead of the total immersion approach.
Watching Italian Movies A very common way that people start learning a foreign language is through watching movies and learning Italian this way can be a very enjoyable experience. Italy's rich history of cinema can be used in conjunction with any of the other language tools listed to master pronunciation and the art form known as the Italian conversation. Italian films are popular internationally and the most famous titles should not be hard to find in a local video rental store or online. There are also language tools on DVD that incorporate Italian movies into an interactive exercise on conversation Italian.
Italian Streaming TV and Radio on the Internet RAI, the Italian national broadcaster streams both news and public interest videos as well as its three radio station broadcasts on its websites. Several private Italian radio stations stream their broadcasts on the Internet, most of them music stations ranging from techno to classic hits. Not only will online radio and TV help in learning Italian but listening and watching streaming broadcasts will also give you a window into Italian pop culture and current events at the same time.
Learning Italian Online A quick search of the Internet reveals just how many websites are dedicated to learning Italian. Some online courses charge a fee, however there are many others that offer free services of varying levels. Many of the online language services include text and voice chat, online videos and downloadable lessons in mp3.
See also our learn Italian online
The Language department of the BBC has many useful tools on its website for learning Italian including mp3 downloads of important phrases. The website allows you to test your skill level and then suggests which online tool to use. BBC Italian is a good way to brush up on Italian before your vacation or business trip. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/
CyberItalian offers Italian lessons online that are designed for business, traveling or conversational Italian. CyberItalian offers tools such as real time online chat to help with pronunciation and also offers the ability to ask a language professor questions. www.cyberitalian.com
Professor Gio is a free website that helps with Italian pronunciation. The website has common words and phrases in audio format so the user can practice without an Italian speaker present. Professor Gio is easy to navigate and is especially useful for beginners. www.professorgio.com
Meetup.com is a social networking website that can be very useful to meet people who would like to talk about Italian language and culture. This online service helps people that share common interests get together and one of the most popular subjects on their website is Italian language groups. By entering a Zip code, users can find individuals or groups close to home that will help with learning Italian. www.meetup.com
By Justin Demetri