Sunday, February 08, 2015

My Foreign Language Learning "Formula"

I have done a few posts about how or what I use to learn Italian, but for this one, I'd like to revisit my methodology and try to really understand what had worked right in the beginning. This is what I did when I first learned Italian without going to classes.


LISTENING TO THE SOUND. Like a child learning to speak, hearing and mimicking the sound is important.
  1. YouTube: Children's stories are a great place to begin.
  2. Netflix: I queued a few Italian movies for viewing. 
  3. Phrase Book CD: Lonely Planet and Berlitz are my default.

BOOKS. I have a tonne of these ranging from basic to advanced and those I bought while I was in Italy, but what had really worked for me in forming a strong foundation were the following:
  1. Phrase Book: Berlitz (and Lonely Planet)*
  2. Easy Italian Step-By-Step
  3. Practice Makes Perfect: Basic Italian
  4. Correct Your Italian Blunders
  5. Teach Yourself: 50 Ways to Improve Your Italian
  6. Oxford Beginner's Dictionary: Italian
The italicized titles were the smaller volumes I carried with me when I commuted to work. I didn't take them all to work, but one each time until I finished the book of the moment, and then another one. While waiting for the bus to and after work, I just whip it out for a quick revision. The key is DAILY exposure. The heavy-duty studying were for the weekendsI'd dedicate at least 4 hours for this from lunch time to coffee break.
    A snapshot of my Italian self-study materials

    APPS AND WEBSITES. There are many free and cost-effective websites, but the following are my favs (I paid a subscription fee for the italicized sites):
    1. News sites or online newspapers (La Repubblica | La Stampa).  
    2. About.com
    3. Duolingo
    4. Babbel
    5. Zinio. For clutter-free foreign magazines without bursting the piggy bank.

    There you go: My foreign language study formula! Oh yes, I changed my iPhone and iPad settings to Italian too.

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