In our blog, we’ve already covered how difficult a foreigner might find starting to learn Italian. Luckily for all of the Italian-enthusiasts out here, the language is rated as being one of the easiest for a native English speaker to grasp. And, let’s face it, at least in menu items, we’re all pretty fluent.
If you’re looking to advance your Italian knowledge even further than delicious food, we’ve compiled a list to help you get started. All of the resources listed below are available online for free to make the first steps towards fluency in as convenient as possible.
Starting with the Basics of Italian
First starting to learn a new language can be a daunting task, so it’s important to start the process off as lightly as possible. Luckily, it has never been as easy to learn a language as it is in the 21st century. Free language learning apps make the basics of Italian look playful and easy. Give a try to Duolingo, 50languages, or Babbel and see how easy it is pick up the basic skills in Italian.
With their gamification of language learning, these apps can give you a good and solid foundation to build your Italian skills on. Although they make improving your Italian easy and fun, there are still some drawbacks. Their focus on practical language skills is commendable but doesn’t really help you understand how certain grammar rules work and when to use them.
Additionally, you can start by checking out these pages that can really be used at any level and offer a great introduction:
Parliamo Italiano – A great resource for Italian learners at any level. This site is entirely in Italian and has a great range of guides, exercise sheets and cultural study cards to help you improve your writing, reading and listening/speaking skills in Italian.
Alma TV – This website has a wide range of video lessons about everyday Italian language and culture, colloquial expressions as well as lessons about grammar.
Writing, Grammar, and Spelling
After you feel like you’ve overgrown the possibilities those resources offer, you might need to start looking a bit deeper into how Italian works. Although private teachers are the one resource you simply cannot replace in that aspect, try these websites that look deeper into Italian:
Online Italian Club – This site ranks its exercises according to your language level, offering practice from A1 all the way to C2 levels of proficiency. If you don’t know your level, you can also get it evaluated for free.
Italy Heritage – Offers a wide selection of samples and exercises for English speakers. Before you rush to practice, though, you can also read some explanations on the basics of Italian.
Reading, Understanding, and Vocabulary
The best way to organically learn new vocabulary is to simply pick up an Italian newspaper and find out how the language is used on a day to day basis. If that option doesn’t interest you, you can also learn a lot from these sites that will help you with understanding Italian and building vocabulary:
LiberLiber – This is a fantastic resource that will help you with both reading and understanding Italian. It contains short excerpts from the works of different authors – the fun part is that you can listen to the audio version of the texts to help you get accustomed to spoken Italian as well.
The Italian Experiment – If you find the previous site a bit too advanced, you might want to take a step back and try something easier. This site offers well-known children’s stories in Italian with an English translation. There is also the option of listening to the audio versions.
Practice and Quizzes
After you have been through all the resources above, you see how much you have improved by taking an online Italian proficiency test. You can try the Transparent test which will ask you 50 questions to assess your level in grammar, vocabulary, and understanding. You can also go for the ILUSS tests, which also offer listening proficiency tests but their site requires you to sign up.
One World Italiano – This is a great site for improving your Italian overall. They offer free online courses in Italian and the chance to put your skills to the test with their free exercises.
To Learn Free – Combines a long list of different lessons and exercises from beginner to advanced levels. Your favourite tests might be difficult to find but at least you will have a lot to choose from!
Other Useful Resources
If you’re looking for a good dictionary, Reverso will be able to help you out with a comprehensive selection of words and examples to go with them. For an advanced text translator, turn to Google Translate or IM Translator.