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The fall semester of various universities in Italy started recently, and it got me thinking about my studies and yours.
While your reasons for learning Italian may be less academic and more based on a crazy-lovely, hard-to-explain passion for Italy, there’s still some good to take away from the back-to-school buzz.
Each of us has our weaknesses in Italian – whether that’s knowing enough vocabulary for talking about politics or truly understanding how Italian pronouns work.
When it comes to learning a language, knowing your weaknesses is a gold mine.
It’s an area where you have the potential to make quick & satisfying progress.
Here’s what I suggest.
1.) Identify a few areas where you have a weakness to address over the next three months.
To make it easy, choose three areas – one to tackle each month until the end of the year.
Yep, this is a great way to end the year strong knowing that you made meaningful progress with your Italian studies.
While I bet you know what yours are, here are some suggestions, just in case:
By choosing focus areas, instead of trying to fix everything at once, you stop the deluge of things you “could” be doing and ensure that your studies will be based on quality and not quantity.
2.) Choose a few key resources to help you tackle this weakness.
If you have an area of weakness, you aren’t the only one to blame.
Often the big, complex topics are glossed over by well-intentioned teachers or weren’t explained in a way that made sense to you.
For a lot of people guessing at rules without knowing why they exist isn’t enough.
So choose resources that not only explain things to you, but also give you the chance to practice.
For example, I have love for Duolingo, but it never tells you why something is the way it is and randomly assigns practice for those concepts, so it’s harder for you to make the connection between the rule and its usage.
Find resources that help you make connections instead of leaving you in the dark.
Sometimes these will be two resources you found on the web that happen to work well together, or it could be something like the 10-Day Italian Pronouns Challenge that gives the why and helps you put in the time.
Above all, choose resources that help you feel excited about what you’re learning. If you can’t find some joy in it, it’s better to let it go.
3.) PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Being comfortably and confidently conversational in Italian doesn’t just happen.
First, understanding what you don’t currently know is critical, and then practicing it again and again and again is how you make Italian automatic, how you impress native speakers with how quickly you can answer a question, or how you spend more time thinking about WHAT you want to say rather than HOW to say it.
Have questions about how you can tackle a specific weakness? Leave a comment below!