Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 4 Giugno 2012
What can you do to improve your Italian? Cosa puoi fare per migliorare il tuo italiano?
What do you think? If you just take your time to ponder the above question, what would you answer?
If I ask this to some of my students, they would answer that they should come to Italy and spend their whole time here in Italy, so that they could be immersed in the language. Others think that they should do something fun in Italian. Others think that they should start and think in Italian. And you what do you think you need to do in order to improve your Italian?
What’s my take on this?
Every time we learn something we have some frustration in the learning process and that’s part of it. When we feel frustrated about a thing we want to learn we have at least two choices. Do you know what they are? As in general with every occurrence in our life, we have the opportunity to fight or…flight. That’s a natural response that we usually have. We could get discouraged at the first difficulty or we could fight to “overcome the moment” (superare il momento). Sometimes when we get frustrated in doing or learning something, that’s the moment when we need to persevere, because if we do it, we’ll realize that the learning will occur. If we just give up, we could end up installing in ourselves the belief that we may not be able to do it. And it’s all about beliefs, if we don’t believe we can do a thing, we wouldn’t even try to make it possible. So, in my opinion, when we get frustrated we have the opportunity to go for a third choice: increase the frustration! Mmmmhhhhh….You may think: what do you mean, Antonio?
One of my favorite authors, Ed Strachar, says that if we add some overwhelming activity in our learning, then when we go and do the task in the real situation, we’ll end up by finding it very easy! But, what about immersion, what has frustration to do with immersion? If you are in a foreign Country, if you are in Italy and in a city where no one speaks your mother tongue, you are in that situation where you NEED to speak Italian, and you can choose to “fight” (to make every effort to understand what Italians with their gestures are telling you;-), or to flight (to fly back home).
Mmmmmmhhhh…Do you need to come over here to be immersed in the Italian language? Not really, thanks to mp3 readers and internet! You can create your Italian environment at your home, wherever you are and you can have FUN (which is the second most common answers I get to the question I asked at the beginning of this post) in doing this!
How could you increase the useful frustration in order to learn Italian faster? Well, you know that Italians speak Italian fast…What if they spoke even faster? Would you understand them? Well, that’s a fun challenge, isn’t it? It could bring the kind of positive frustration you need in order to be able to easily understand real time spoken Italian. Because if you start and work with faster spoken Italian, you’ll get to a point where you’ll start to understand that faster Italian and when you’ll be exposed to real time Italian, you’ll find it so easy, that you will think: “What on earth has happened? I totally understand it and I don’t even have to translate it in my mother tongue…I think in Italian!” (which is the third most common answer I get to the question at the beginning of this post)
At this point you may be asking yourself, that’s a good idea, but how can I manage to listen to faster-than-normal Italian? If you are reading this blog, you have a PC, or a tablet, haven’t you?
If you have a PC, there’s a free resource used by musicians who want to improve their skills. It’s Best Practice (Google for it). If you have an android device, there’s a free app that works wonder on your audio files, its name is Audio Speed Changer (you can find it on the Play store). And if you have an Ipad or an Iphone, I do think that there’s a free app too. Just check on the App store;-)
Mmmmhhh…so may ideas flowing when I put myself in front of the Word Processor;-)…That’s all for today, let me know what you think about it and enjoy learning Italian, maybe adding a bit of mental training to it;-)