Since the nickname Belfast-ian isn't likely to catch on, why not instead get in touch with your inner Italian and discover why they call it the most musical foreign language on Earth?
Learn about communicative tools like personal pronouns - io, tu, lui, lei, noi, voi, loro (see, we're singing already!) and how to make the 'r' sound roll off your tongue harmoniously. With our help, you'll be reeling off Italian verse in no time at all!
Reasons For Learning Italian
There are many obvious reasons to brush up on Italian as a second language... the charm you'd exude when you start talking fluently like a smooth Italian, the ability to understand the names of your favourite Italian delicacies (did you know that 'tiramisu' means 'pick-me-up'?) with good language proficiency and increasing your chances of sparking up a romance with a gorgeous Italian!
But, did you also know that:
- the official language of Italy is made up of many words you'll already be familiar with as a non native, making it quite an easy language to learn as a Brit. When a language is easily absorbed, it makes you feel like you've learnt more as you are able to start communicating almost instantly and then you, in turn, gain the confidence to keep on learning.
- not only does learning Italian mean that you will learn about the delicious food you are eating, you can also gain a better understanding of Italian beverages. Wouldn't you love to know where the word 'cappucino' derives from, or limoncello?
- learning a new language like Italian enables you to develop your personality. Many people believe that you take on a different personality when you speak in a different language... so who will you become?
Where To Begin As A Beginner?
If you think that your ability to say 'buon giorno' and 'grazie mille' in your best European accent means that you'll get by just fine on a trip to the boot-shaped country then think again! As with any language immersion experience, the problem that we tourists have is that it's not just about hearing a phrase and being able to understand it and pick it apart in our head, it's the speed at which we must truly listen to and interpret the words being spoken. Nobody, without some kind of language course, can be prepared for high speed Italian!
It's not as if Italians speak any faster than people in other countries, but that the lyrical element of their language makes it seem like words are coming out at high speed. What's more, in non-touristic areas, locals may not be as inclined to slow down to help out a foreigner so you'll be expected to perform all your speaking reading and writing like a fellow Italian.
So, if you're ready to take your introductory Italian up a notch by acquiring new Italian phrases and Italian vocabulary, then have a glance at these college, university and online language courses for beginners and up to intermediate level.
Queen's University Belfast
Queen's University Belfast is among the top 180 universities in the world and is fit for royalty, as its name would suggest. Showbiz nobility, that is, but we are talking about none other than the nation's favourite film actor Liam Neeson (who some might say is Irish royalty with his numerous awards and achievements, like an OBE from the Queen's other half, Grand Master Prince Philip aka the Duke of Edinburgh!). Seamus Heaney, the world-renowned poet, also attended the uni.
Aside from its exciting list of student alumni, this establishment is known for being the 9th oldest university in the UK, offering modern facilities whilst still keeping its history and traditions intact in the heart of Belfast city. Language learners can benefit from a range of courses from beginner level to advanced level. Below, we have featured two of the university's courses that are suitable for a new starter in Italia.
"ITALIAN - LEVEL 1
Duration: 10 weeks
Contatti Book 1 (Course Textbook Levels 1-3)
Learning Objectives: Students taking the level 1 course are not expected to have any previous knowledge of the language. The aim of level 1 is to introduce students to the language, the culture and basic grammatical concepts and to equip them with the skills to communicate at an essential level in a target language context.
Potential Topics: Welcome to the course, introduction alphabet, numbers 1-10, basic greetings; Giving personal information (name, age, where you live); Talking about our family, descriptions; Places in town and directions; At the restaurant; Shopping; Transport; Countries.
Learning outcomes: Students will have developed a beginner’s vocabulary in the topic areas outlined above so that they can communicate at a basic level in the language. Students will understand basic words and phrases. Students will be able to formulate simple sentences."
Once you've mastered the absolute basics and are feeling confident enough to take the next step, then you can enrol for a post-beginners course, which will prepare you for any further study in the language.
"ITALIAN - LEVEL 2
Level: Post Beginners
Duration: 10 weeks
Contatti Book 1 (Course Textbook Levels 1-3)
Learning Objectives: Students taking the level 2 course should either have completed level 1, or have only a basic previous knowledge of the language. The aim of level 2 is to develop basic language skills, the culture and basic grammatical concepts and to equip them with the skills to communicate at a post-beginners level in a target language context.
Potential Topics: Practical Spelling – Numbers (up to 100) Phonetics/letter patterns; Describing the home/ accommodation; Booking a hotel; Directions 2 – prepositions etc; Describing family members; Shopping 2 – (currency, change, preference); Transport; Weather.
Learning outcomes: Students will have developed a post-beginner’s vocabulary in the topic areas outlined above, enabling them to hold a simple conversation in the language. Students will understand frequently used words and phrases. Students will be able to formulate sentences."
The Crescent Learning
Continuing with the "I'm not a beginner but I'm not an intermediate speak yet" theme, give this Italian Beginners Continuation course a thought, offered by The Crescent Learning. Note that the course has already started so you may wish to enquire about the upcoming term.
"Italian: Beginners Continuation
Date: Monday 13 May 2019 until Monday 10 June 2019
Time: 5:15 PM - 6:45 PM
Price: £44 | £41
Tutor: Maura Favretto
This course is for those who have taken The Crescent’s Beginner Italian course or who have a basic understanding of the language and who would like to continue their journey into "la bella lingua".
New exciting topics will be covered this term with fresh, easy to master structures.
About the Tutor
When Maura Favretto arrived in Belfast back in 1991, fresh from her Degree in Modern Languages and Literature she was unsure on which path to pursue.
But after obtaining a PGCE from Queen’s University, she found her true calling: to persuade the good people of Northern Ireland that learning Italian could be fun.
Over the years many students took the plunge into la bella lingua, with glee, as she weaved aspects of Italian culture and literature into her language classes."
Listen and Learn
Listen and Learn offers a branch in Belfast, with qualified Italian teachers able to teach you at home, at your place of work, or at the trainer's office. See more details below:
"Italian Lessons in Belfast
Our native-speaking qualified Italian teachers can guide you and your group at your work or home whenever is most convenient for you. Classes can take place on any day of the week—even weekends—morning, afternoon or evening. If meeting at your office or home is not suitable, you can take your lessons at the trainer's office. Study materials are supplied for you.
Face-to-Face 1-to-1 (Individual) General Italian
Italian lessons of this type are broader and are aimed towards students with a variety of requirements. While all beginner level students will cover survival Italian—needed for short visits to countries where English isn't widely spoken, or if you wish to 'go local'—those studying Italian usually go in different directions at this point, depending on what they need. Those who have benefited from these Italian classes have been those investing in or buying property overseas, those married to overseas nationals, people setting off on a round-the-world trip, enthusiasts for Italian culture and those hoping to pass a specific exam in Italian.
Skype Online 1-to-1 (Individual) General or Business Italian
Our native speaker qualified Italian language teachers can train you and your colleagues at your office or home at a time to suit you. Classes can be any day of the week (even weekends) in the morning, afternoon or evening. In certain circumstances, if your home or office is not available, you can take your classes at the trainer's office. Course books are provided."
Superprof - Find A Private Language Tutor
Last but not least, why not give Superprof a try? If you can't find a class that suits your hectic lifestyle or timetable or you don't fancy being a part of a group then why not consider a private language teacher who can tailor a programme study just for you and your personal requirements?
On the Superprof platform, you can find a range of private tutors offering Italian lessons either in your area (so, face to face lessons) or anywhere else in the world (i.e. via video calls, emails, etc...). Prices normally start from just £5 a session, depending on the level of expertise and some other factors. You can filter your search and find the perfect match for you though, so go on and take a look!