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Conjugate an Italian Verb at Verbix!

The Italian Electronic Classroom!

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Many have asked me for suggestions on study methods for language learning:

A student must have motivation (interest and desire). Age does not matter if you have the wish to learn and the willingness to apply yourself to a few mnemonic exercises. Study only for short intervals. Concentration is essential in study. Focus - close book as soon as other thoughts surface. Time yourself. A wild horse needs a tight rein. Every time you succeed in concentrating, it makes it easier to concentrate longer the next time. Practice, practice, practice. I recommend each day or at least every other day for a minimum of 10 minutes at a time. You will learn more with frequent short sessions than by studying for hours one day then waiting weeks for your next session. If you have tapes, listen to them while driving, exercising, or doing other activities. The more you hear the language, the more you accustom yourself to the foreign sounds and rhythms and the easier it will be to recognize and speak the language later. Repeat out loud every Italian word you hear (see sidebar). Make labels of the words you are learning, placing them around your home or office table, key, etc. Draw picture flash cards using vocabulary and adjectives. A picture is worth 1000 words. The mind DOES think in pictures.

Basic Word Association is another good memory aid in learning new vocabulary. Linking something you already know (stored in long-term memory) and something you dont know (the new word). Say to yourself: I will think dieci (ten) and decimal because not only is there a similarity in the words spelling but a decimal is also in the tens place. You can also use vivid picture associations like linking Italian dove [doh-veh] where and the bird, a dove, and in your mind watching it fly away, asking yourself  where did it go? [dove: dove]. You must know why the words go together. You must remember the association. You create it. What you create you wont forget so readily. It takes a little imagination and a little time but it is worth the effort. Have fun with it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to come up with associations in your mind. Quiz yourself on word recall. Use the words you know with friends and family or put them together in sentence form. WRITE! This is the way to create fluency in speaking. Email me using the Italian words you know!!!

Kinetic learning Walk around room. Run. Watch TV. Eat something. As you think and perform the action, speak the Italian verb aloud. As you pick up something in your hand say the Italian name for it. Speaking makes a stronger memory impact than reading.


General Language Learning Hints

*            Translating the menu in a foreign restaurant can be a delicious way to learn.

*          Try to think in the language you're learning.  Challenge yourself to name all the objects you see as you drive, or to translate your favorite song.

*          When learning a foreign language, don't be afraid to make mistakes!  People won't focus on your small imperfections.  In no time, you'll get it right.

*            Language learning requires regular exposure to the foreign language. Study for at least 15 minutes a day to increase your exposure.

*          If you are working with a language teacher, keep a list of all your questions as they come to mind.

*          Make a vocabulary list of related words, such as parts of the body, modes of transportation, greetings, etc Covering the English translation, pronounce each word aloud and translate. Youll quickly master the category. 

*          For conjugation practice, take one verb and list all its different forms. Then make simple sentences, using each form.

*          Make a checkword list of vocabulary words that are difficult to spell.

*          Learn the culture behind the language you're learning and you'll be better able to appreciate why people say and do things a certain way.

*          You'll have a better feel for the language itself, and for the history behind idiomatic expressions, if you study the history of the people who speak it.

*            Language learning is more fun when you learn with a friend!  Find someone to practice with regularly.

*          Get a foreign pen-pal with whom to practice your new language.

*          For a veritable feast of authentic language, become a patron of foreign films.  The best ones give you insight into the culture as well.

*          Read a foreign language publication to absorb a lot of day-to-day language at your own pace.  You'll be multi-lingual and well-informed!

*          Listen to music in your foreign language. You'll catch the rhythm of the language as well as learn a few choice words from each song!

*          Spend time on language learning sites.

General Study Tips

Listen to Italian language tapes and read and re-read your books but know that listening is not enough. You must repeat the words and phrases often. A word spoken 10-20 times will impress itself on the conscious mind more readily than words seen 50-100 times. The more you repeat the words from the tapes and in class, the better you will remember them.

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