Fancy becoming a better Italian speaker? Are you planning a year abroad studying? Perhaps you feel you missed out on a great opportunity when you picked German over Italian at GCSE level? Or maybe you have discovered that you have Italian roots and want to travel around the country trying to make sense of your family tree?
Regardless of your reasons for learning Italian, your best bet is to begin with a class. But that’s easier said than done… where do you even start?
Firstly, what’s your Italian like?
Would you class yourself as an intermediate speaker (able to hold basic conversations in the language) or would you say you are a complete beginner (with just a handful of words or expressions in your vocabulary)? You’ll be sure to find a class that caters for your specific needs either way, but even if you find that that isn’t the case then there’s always the option to hire a private language teacher.
Italy is beautiful, and the language its residents speak is too! Photo on Visualhunt
We’ll come back to this later!
Whether you already know these useful terms for travellers and tourists or not, these are things that you are advised to brush up on before you attend a course, because most courses leaders will expect some kind of knowledge of the language, even if it is just introductory greetings!
Now, your language program will go over most of these, we are sure, but wouldn’t it be nice to be one step ahead right from the very start? Plus, if you are passionate about learning this language’s grammar and vocabulary then you will be eager to get learning right now and not wait until tomorrow!
Ciao is a colloquial way to say both ‘hi’ and ‘bye’, much like ‘salut’ in French (though many of the French have pinched ‘ciao’ from the Italian vocabulary and use it in their own everyday speech!). You would use this greeting when seeing or leaving behind a friend, but not a work colleague or teacher.
This greeting translates as ‘Good day’ and is used (once again like France’s ‘Bonjour’ greeting) to say ‘hello’ in a more formal way. You’d more than likely use this expression when going into a shop or restaurant for lunch.
Salve is yet another formal way of saying ‘hello’. It’s often used when you meet someone for the first time, as it comes across respectful.
Once day turns to afternoon/evening, you’ll no longer be greeting people with ‘buongiorno’. Instead, you’ll say the equivalent of ‘good evening’, which is ‘buonasera’.
If you need a formal way to say ‘goodbye’ to somebody, this is it.
This is one you may hear when paying for your goods at an Italian checkout, or when leaving a restaurant. Literally meaning ‘a good day’, this is how you wish someone a nice day ahead.
Much like the above, this expression is to be used when you want to wish someone ‘a good evening’.
Meaning ‘see you soon’, many will add this to their ‘goodbye’ to indicate that they’ll be seeing them again.
This final term is used when you plan on seeing your friend or acquaintance later in the day.
Greetings are usually the first thing you’ll learn in an Italian class. Photo on Visual Hunt
Chris Polatch offers private Italian lessons in the city of Cardiff whereby the tutor goes to your home or office. With this language programme, you can:
“learn Italian one-to-one or in a small group of your colleagues, friends or family.
Our highly effective private Italian courses are ideal if you need Italian for business, own property overseas, are relocating abroad, travel regularly, or are working towards GCSE and A levels. Our experienced teachers will get you speaking Italian in no time.
How does it all work?
You tell us how many hours you wish to book initially and which times suit you best.
We will discuss your Italian training needs with you to make sure that we understand exactly what you hope to achieve from your private Italian tuition.
Within a few days we will assign you your Italian teacher and they will be in touch with you.
We will tell you which Italian training materials you should buy for your lessons.
We offer 4 types of Italian language course. Your course will be tailored to your particular needs:
- General – for Juniors and Adults:
Ideal if you are travelling – or planning to live in a Italian-speaking country or for general interest.
- Italian for Business – for Adults:
Ideal if you do business with Italian speakers. Material is adapted to business situations at all levels.
- Italian for Exams – for Juniors and Adults
If you are working towards Italian GCSE, Italian A level, Common Entrance or a University examination, we will help you get the best grade possible!
- Italian for Children
For children aged 5-12 we offer fun, lively Italian teaching which is highly effective for this age group.
As soon as you start your course, you have “pit-stop” access any time you need it. Just call or email us with any query and we will answer it immediately or get back to you within 24 hours. We are always delighted to help and we are committed to helping you learn your chosen language as quickly as possible.
There is no better way to learn Italian in Cardiff!”
Language Academy Wales consists of an Italian born and bred tutor, Gianfranco, who teaches his mother tongue language using Italian songs and movies on a regular basis, as well as other educational activities to advance your fluency. The tutor attended English ESOL Language Courses himself and is passionate about teaching the language he is fluent in to non native speakers. Below are some details about the tutor in his own words.
“Born in Piazza Armerina, in the very heart of the Sicilian heights and hills, Gianfranco decided at a very early age to start studying foreign languages and literature in order to compare them to the Italian one. He attended a High School which, at that time, was quite a novelty within the Italian schools: a Liceo Linguistico – that is a Foreign Languages High School.
It was there that Native English teachers & a very open didactic attitude lit up in him a genuine passion, especially for both English and Italian literature. […]
At that time, there was no difference yet between pre-graduate and post-graduate at the Italian Universities and Lettere Moderne (Italian Language & Literature and General Humanities) was quite a hard degree to earn: twenty-one oral exams and a final Enquiry Work (the so-called ‘tesi’). Despite this, Catania city, shadowed by the restless giant Etna, helped him, as he spent several years at the board house hosting both local and Erasmus students and the inspiring company of some clever and passionate mates.”
Finally, the government offers its own recommendation for adult language learning and lists a language programme running for 11 weeks at the Radyr Comprehensive School and taught by Chiara Tassini.
The existing course started in early May so there are only a few weeks remaining, yet it might be worth checking back on the government website before next September for new term dates. The cost of this course was £114.00 and there is also an Italian Cookery class on offer!
Learning to cook Italian food can be useful as it teaches you about the country’s culture! Photo on Visual Hunt
If you think about it, learning how to cook Italian food is probably a great approach to support your language learning. Your culinary teacher is bound to be Italian or to have spent many years getting to know the country and its gastronomy and culture, so they will be able to teach you a thing or two about the way Italians like to live.
Understanding a bit more about a country’s culture can go a long way to helping you feel comfortable in the foreign setting because without this knowledge you risk not grasping the local etiquette or offending someone by coming across as rude. If you choose to visit Italy for one reason or another, then you should make the effort to fit in and live as they do rather than trying to imposing your own cultural habits and beliefs onto their society!
Last but not least, if you just can’t find a course you like or one that fits in with your free time, then do not despair!
Just hop onto the Internet and scroll through Superprof’s Italian tutors. You can filter your search to only show you languages tutors working in your area or you can perform a wider search if you are happy to move forward with remote sessions (this is far easier than some other subjects which could require a more ‘hands-on’ approach, such as learning an instrument).
Tutoring prices start from as low as £5 and rise depending on the instructor’s level of expertise. What’s more, the first session is free, as in it is a trial, so you have nothing to lose by setting up some meetings!