There is no full-proof solution in terms of learning Italian as some teachers may profess. Currently, students are being taught by habitual repetition, memorization, conjugation tables, and the dreaded grammar. However, some methods tend to be more successful compared to others.
Learning Italian can be a slow process, especially if you haven't been in educational environments for a while. Don't get frustrated as a large number of people encounter a learning block at times.
One of the best tips to learning conversational Italian or any language for that matter is from thought process, not remembering what you saw umpteen million times from flashcards or a mini-language dictionary. Many people who speak multiple languages will agree with this aspect. Think about it, what you remember how to use a word when forced to during a conversation on two or three times occasions or the boring book.
Having said that, one method is not always best for everyone. Some language learners do well with a book.
Italian is a phonetic language; simply put, what you see is what you pronounce or WYSIWYP. Start your adventure of acquiring Italian by learning how to pronounce the alphabet, double consonants, vowels, consonants, and where to stress a word. Once you learn the basic pronunciation rules, you'll be a lot more confident when seeing new words due to the fact that just about all words are pronounced the same way.
QUICK BASIC TIP: Italian vowels are shortened whereas consonants are stressed more and double consonants get stressed higher than single ones. So, begin learning Italian by implementing introductions and greetings, and thoroughly understand the basics.
Join Local Groups
Become a member of local conversational groups --(Meetup.com, study groups with foreign exchange students from Italy or college foreign language study groups ) or get in touch with people who speak Italian in your community and practice your Italian. Generally, most major cities have Italian cultural institutes like the IIC (Istituto Italiano di Cultura) in San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and New York, which feature Italian language and culture programs.
Listen to Radio and TV
Among the essential techniques in language learning is understanding what foreigners are saying. In today's world lots of cable companies show some type of Italian programming a minimum of an hour each day, in most cases a news program from RAI, the state operated TV channel. Aside from that, the internet provides you access to many Italian radio stations like Radio Marte.
Rent and Watch an Italian Movie
Your local library or neighborhood video store may carry them. Netflix and Blockbuster are two websites that have a considerable selection of movies from other countries. You'll benefit by hearing Italian spoken by native Italians from many different regions which makes your ear accustomed to the differences from Italian spoken in the south to the north. Steer clear of movies with subtitles or those that are dubbed, as it will take away from the learning experience.
Read a parallel-text version (Italian and English side-by-side) of such classics as Fontamara. Remember the pronunciation tip you read above as you start reading.
Facebook chat with a cute girl, a guy, or just any chat friend who is from that country and see where it leads to. You both can benefit; you by learning the common anunciation of Italians, some current slang and they in turn can learn more English.
Enroll In Some Classes
Participate in a group lesson or individual teaching. Their course format should help you build a basic foundation to learn the language fast. If you already have a great command of one romantic language like Spanish or Portuguese, Italian should come quickly and roll off the tip of your tongue.
Italian Common Phrases
Pronto! - Hello! (when answering phone) I hear this a lot by Brazilians but then again Brazil has many Italians
Ciao! - Hi! (Bye, bye!) - again this is heard in Brazil frequently and worldwide
Buon giorno! - Good morning!
Buon pomeriggio! - Good afternoon!
Come sta? - How are you?
Grazie - Thanks
Mi chiamo - My name is .... This is similar to Spanish (Me llamo,) Portuguese (Meu Nome) ,
Di dov'è? - where are you from?
Non lo so - I don't know. However, a large majority simply say "Boh". This is Italian slang for I don't know. It is perfect for tourists who are not clear of how to say something.
Allora - slang used to bridge gaps and continuation of a story like the word, "then", "so: "therefore" which you will hear a lot. If you know Spanish it sounds the same as blonde - "loira" or (A Lorda)
By learning and mastering a few things Italian each day, you're that much closer to your trip to Italy.