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Top 10 Myths About Learning Italian

Anyone Can Learn Italian


Student studying with headphones
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Do you want to learn Italian, or do you want to spend your time coming up with excuses for why you can't learn Italian? Like other self-improvement activities (dieting, working out, and sticking to a budget come to mind) you can convince yourself with a multitude of excuses why you can't pronounce Italian words or conjugate Italian verbs - or you can use that time and energy to learn la bella lingua.

Myth: Italian is more difficult than English
Reality: In fact, research shows that it's easier to learn Italian. Beyond the scientific reasons, though, as a child no one knows any better when learning to speak their native tongue. One way around the frustration when learning Italian is to remember that everyone was a beginner at one time. Children laugh and enjoy speaking and singing nonsense words for the sheer joy of hearing themselves. As the Italian proverb says, "Sbagliando s'impara" - by making mistakes one learns.

Myth: I won't be able to roll my r's
Reality: The fact is, some Italians cannot roll their r's either. Called "la erre moscia" (soft r), it's oftentimes a result of a regional accent or dialect and also traditionally associated with upper class speech. Italians from the north of Italy, especially in the northwest region of Piedmont (close to the French border) are famous for this speech variation - which shouldn't be a surprise, given the influence of the French language on the local dialect. In fact, the linguistic phenomenon is also called "la erre alla francese."

For those who do want learn to roll their r's, try placing your tongue against the roof of your mouth (near the front) and trill your tongue. If all else fails, pretend you're revving up a motorcycle or repeat the following English terms a few times: ladder, pot o' tea, or butter. And remember, Rrrrrruffles have rrrrrridges!

Myth: There aren't any schools near my home
Reality: School? Who needs a school in the 21st-century? You can study Italian online, listen to a podcast, subscribe to Italian lessons via e-mail, listen to Italian audio, or find an Italian pen pal to practice writing. In short, the Internet is a multimedia platform where you can utilize all the elements necessary to learn Italian.

Myth: I'll never use Italian
Reality: No matter what your motivation for learning Italian, new opportunities can present themselves in ways you cannot imagine initially. Learn Italian, become the next Pope. Or learn Italian and write a book.

Myth: I'm too old to learn Italian
Reality: Of all the myths about learning Italian, this is the most unenlightened. People of all ages can learn Italian - to a certain extent it's a question of determination and dedication. So stop procrastinating and start practicing!

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