Yes, I get it - learning anything from scratch is a daunting task that discourages potential learners from even starting.
Much more so in learning a language that you have no previous knowledge speaking.
I know the feeling, because I've been there.
I developed an itch for the Italian language after having toured Italy 5 years ago. There is something about how expressive the Italian language is and how it sounds that draws people to it - myself included.
See, learning Italian was never on my language goals...until I saw, heard, tasted, and experienced the Italian culture first-hand. You can never really get the whole picture of Italian history nor experience the beauty that is Italian culture without learning the language itself.
Upon my arrival, I booked lessons at a language school and studied over 2 years, but I thought my progress stalled, so I began searching for ways to learn on my own. And I've never looked back since - I am now studying for my B2 certification under the Common European Framework for Languages, all based on these things I will share with you, which will definitely get you a headstart.
WHO CAN LEARN ITALIAN?
The short answer to this is that everybody can. The beauty of Italian is that it is a language that you speak as you read, and pronunciation is straightforward. That being said, it's a great language to learn for language learners of all levels and of all ages. What will matter is not your age nor your level, but your desire to learn and to actually improve.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN ITALIAN?
The best way to do so is to speak the language - forget the textbooks and the classes, and find yourself a native speaker you can practice with. Otherwise, find yourself a native speaking teacher you can do one on one lessons with, because no amount of learning rote grammar and textbooks is a substitute for actually speaking, listening, and communicating with another person in that language. Yes, classes can help you get started....but all that grammar only works when you speak it.
BEST APPS AND SOFTWARE TO LEARN ITALIAN
One of the best apps and software to learn Italian on for my money is undoubtedly iTalki (available on the internet, iOS, and Android), which is a language exchange site that will help you find language partners for conversation, community tutors for reinforcement, and professional teachers for structured and specialized learning. Duolingo is also a nice way to get started if you're looking for an introduction to the language and getting a feel for how the language sounds. There are plenty more out there that we will be discussing on another article.
BEST ONLINE COURSE TO LEARN ITALIAN
This is where iTalki comes in - mainly due to the fact that professional teachers can tailor their classes to your needs using a variety of methods (Skype, Hangouts, WhatsApp, etc) and materials for learning....and at a good price, too. Another good option would be Udemy, which has some excellent introductory and intermediate classes which you can play and repeat at your convenience anytime, anywhere.
BEST CDS TO LEARN ITALIAN
You'd be hard-pressed to find better CDs than the Michel Thomas Italian Courses (from Foundation to Vocabulary) and the Pimsleur Method Italian Courses. We will discuss the pros and cons of both and how they could help you right away, and more importantly - how to use them.
We've barely scratched the surface of what is to be YOUR very own language journey on your way to becoming a bonafide Italian speaker - are you ready?