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Ten Ways to Speak Italian Quickly
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We live in an era of E-ZPass highway lanes, instant messaging, and even microwave pizza. Language instructors promise that you can learn Italian in just one weekend! In the spirit of these hyperactive times, then, here are ten great ways to speak Italian quickly and effectively while divertendoti.

1. Go to Italian-Speaking Places
You've always wanted to visit your grandmother's hometown in Sicily. And that travel guide description of the Pompeii ruins left you breathless. The fastest way to speak Italian is to travel to Italy and submerge yourself in the language. If you visit Italy not only will you get to see Roman ruins, Renaissance masterpieces, and Raffaello's paintings, but you'll also learn how to roll your rrr's!

2. Investigate Your Neighborhood
Find Italian-speaking people in your own neighborhood and practice your Italian. In many large cities there are Italian cultural institutes such as the IIC - Los Angeles, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura - New York, and the Italian Cultural Society - Washington, DC, which have language exchange programs. Or join an Italian conversation group, often sponsored by bookstores or Italian American societies.

3. Listen to Radio and TV
One of the key skills in language acquisition is comprehending the spoken language. Nowadays many cable companies broadcast at least an hour a day of Italian programming, typically a news feed from RAI, the state television channel. In addition, there are many Italian radio stations that can be accessed via the Internet such as Radio Marte.

4. Rent a Movie
Whether it's Roberto Benigni's poignant La Vita È Bella, a neo-realismo film by Roberto Rossellini, or a Federico Fellini fantasy, an Italian language movie is another great way to learn Italian. You'll hear Italian spoken by many different attori and train your ear at the same time. Avoid subtitles or dubbing, which will only detract from the experience.

5. Check Out Your Library
Italian novels, travel guides, and books that describe Italy are excellent ways to enrich your learning experience. Read a parallel-text version (Italian and English side-by-side) of such classics as La Divina Commedia or Machiavelli's Il Principe, or try a contemporary of Italian literature such as Enzo Biagi, Umberto Eco, or Oriana Fallaci.

6. Read the Liner Notes
You've hummed to La donna è mobile and stamped your feet to Funiculi' funicula'. Now it's time to sing out loud in Italian. Check out the liner notes found in CDs and cassette tapes, which often have the song lyrics printed on them. Try singing a traditional canzone napoletana or a classic Italian opera libretto.

7. Play Games, Amuse Yourself
Studying a foreign language doesn't have to be dull. Learn a joke, pun, or riddle in Italian and impress your friends. Solve a cruciverba (Italian crossword puzzle) or try your hand at La Routa della Fortuna. If you're feeling really ambitious, improve your Italian Scrabble skills with il Motore Anagrammatico (an anagram generator).

8. Use Stickers
Learning a language requires creativity—so why not try something that will amuse your family and friends! Grab a pad of self-stick notes and write the Italian word for everything in your house—plaster your kitchen, living room, garage—even the gatto! Whenever you see the sticker, say the name aloud until it becomes automatic. It's a terrific way to increase your vocabulary.

9. Say It Again, Samuele
Have a favorite Italian expression? Are you inclined to respond mille grazie when someone does you a favor? Every time you learn another essential Italian phrase you are expanding your word power. Listen to the Italian Word of the Day, use it in a phrase, and soon you'll be speaking like a native.

10. Take an Italian Class
Attend a group class or take one-on-one instruction. The structure and routine will help you develop a foundation for advancing quickly in the language. La Bella Lingua, for instance, offers a fabulous program designed to make learning Italian fun and easy! Try their special hands-on classes.


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