How long does it take to learn Italian?

Learning Italian, as many of you already know, is a wonderful journey and, as such, its duration depends on many factors. It also depends on your goals, of course. A student may be completely happy to master the language to the extent that he or she can go to Italy and be able to ask for information, place an order, have a brief conversation with natives. Another one may want to learn Italian in order to advance their careers and, thus, they want, not only to be fluent (which includes speaking on the phone with natives), but also have a good command of grammar. Between these two types of students there are many others with different requirements which lead them to learn Italian.


As I said in a previous post, it is easy to start learning Italian. In fact, it is very easy to read as we pronounce it as it is written. In a single lesson a student will learn how to pronounce every Italian word!

Moreover, many words are very similar between Italian and English. As you probably already know, Italian is a Latin language and, therefore, all English words coming from Latin have a corresponding Italian  word, easily recognizable. For example, volcano (vulcano), city (citta’), family (famiglia), defenestrare (defenestration, to throw someone out the window) and so on.


For these reasons, it is not too difficult to achieve your goals, as long as you put some effort and time into your learning. This means, for those who already attend a course, revising what has been done during class, preferably sooner rather than later, doing their homework and revising again before each lesson. Taking some Conversation Classes would help a lot and, of course, talking to natives and going to Italy every now and then. Watching movies, listening to audio books or podcasts is also a great way to improve your listening, which is probably the hardest part when a person starts learning as an adult. E-book readers, Kindles, iPads and so on are wonderful learning tools as they allow you to read and listen at the same time.


The more you do of all the above, the faster you will achieve your goals, whichever they are.


For those of you who belong to the second category I mentioned in the first paragraph, and have no time to enjoy the journey, going to Italy and attending a course and working there for a while is definitely the best solution.


For those of you who are Spanish things are much easier, especially if your  goals are more conversational. Things get more complicated if you want to have a mastery of grammar and write academic pieces.


As an English learner, I use to belong to the second category I mentioned in the first paragraph. I needed to learn English, from scratch, in order to advance my career. I had taken private lessons for about a year and came to Ireland, hoping that 4 months would be enough to achieve my goals. This was about 7 years ago… I am still here, I am still learning and I love it!

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