Have you ever found yourself in a super boring Italian class, listening to the teacher explain which auxiliary verb you need to use to form the past tense?
If the answer is yes I feel so sorry for you and I’m glad that you didn’t lose your motivation to learn Italian!
Grammar is important but it’s not how we acquire languages.
HOW KIDS LEARN AND WHY WE SHOULD DO THE SAME.
Take kids for example: they don’t start speaking because they have been taught grammar.
Ask them what the “plural” of the word “cat” is.
They’ll probably stare at you wide-eyed, not having the faintest idea of what you’re talking about.
Now, say this.
“Pretend I have one cat”. “If I get another one, I have two…”
The moment they catch on, they’ll smile and shout “CATS!”
Kids start speaking because they’ve heard they parents repeating the same words, over and over again, until they make a connection between that word and the object it refers to. They understand the language spoken around them.
The way we should learn languages is not different from how kids learn, nevertheless when we start learning a language we spend so much time studying grammar, reading difficult articles or watching movies that we probably end up finding it overwhelming, and perhaps a bit discouraging.
It would be better to read a kid’s book in our target language or watch some videos for Italian learners.
LIVING IN THE COUNTRY OF OUR TARGET LANGUAGE.
Also, living in the country where our target language is spoken is not always a guarantee of success.
If our mother tongue is not too distant from our target language we might end up learning it (for example I lived in Spain for 8 months and I managed to learn Spanish without taking any lessons).
But let’s say that your target language is really distant from your mother tongue: even if you live in the country you won’t learn anything: the input you’ll get will be too complex and you won’t understand or learn.
LEARN ITALIAN WITH THE RIGHT METHOD.
As Stephen Krashen ( an American linguist and educational researcher) wrote in his book Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition: “The effective language teacher is someone who can provide input and help make it comprehensible in a low anxiety situation”.
I’ve been studying for several years how to apply these techniques to my lessons. In my experience I’ve found it to be the most effective method.
I’ve seen how this method has allowed even super beginners to speak in Italian from the very first day!
I hope I can help you too to learn Italian in the most effective way.