The Italian national soccer team, known as Gli Azzurri because of their blue jerseys, has for years ranked among the top teams in the world. They've won the World Cup four times, Italian-born players routinely sign multimillion-dollar contracts for European teams, and the Italian soccer leagues offer some of the most talented competition anywhere. The overriding reason for their success? Practice, practice, practice. And that's the secret to learning Italian or any other foreign language. Exercise your language muscles every day, and soon you too will be competing with the best of them.
The quickest and most effective way to learn Italian is the total-immersion method. This means traveling to Italy for an extended period, studying at any of the thousands of language schools throughout the country, and speaking only Italian. Many programs include a home-stay component that enhances the cultural exchange. You literally eat, breathe, and dream in Italian.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to spend weeks or months in Florence, Rome, or other Italian towns sipping espresso, touring ancient ruins, and taking language classes. There are other ways to learn Italian without leaving your hometown, wherever that may be.
You've already taken the most important step to learning Italian when you visited this Web site, because the most important thing is to start studying! And any method is appropriate, whether it's reading an Italian textbook, taking a language course at a university or local language school, completing workbook exercises, listening to a tape or CD, or conversing with a native Italian speaker. Spend some time every day reading, writing, speaking, and listening to Italian to become accustomed to the target language. Slowly but surely, your confidence will build, your accent will become less pronounced, your vocabulary will expand, and you'll be communicating in Italian. Maybe you'll even start speaking Italian with your hands!