Carnival may be over, but you can still have fun learning Italian!
Carnival is the merriest period of the year. You can wear a costume, do pranks, eat delicious fried treats. And the good news is that we can tap into this joyful mood to improve our language skills. Scientific studies show that being in a relaxed state has a positive effect on our ability to learn and recall. Relaxation puts our minds at ease and helps us record and access the information we need whenever we need it. On the contrary, when we are anxious, we can’t even remember where our keys are. If the learning experience is fun, it will be even easier to remember the material and our motivation levels will skyrocket! It’s science: pleasant activities increase levels of dopamine, endorphins, and oxygen, stimulating the memory centers, improving focused attention and reducing anxiety. Moreover, if you enjoy it, you’ll be always eager to learn something new.
Choose your favourite tips from our list and let us know what you do to trick your brain. Try combining your hobbies with learning Italian, you won’t regret it!
1) Cook like an Italian (or just watch)
If you are a reader of ScuolaBlog, you may be already familiar with some Italian recipes, but online you will find a lot of step-by-step cooking videos that will help you improve both your listening and culinary skills. Since these videos are created for you to follow carefully, the cook will speak clearly and slowly, and will do their best to show you what to do. However, in case you need it, here you can find our glossary.
Extra tip #1: read nutrition facts and ingredients on imported products; it will be beneficial to both your health and your Italian!
Extra tip #2: Join us for an occasion to have fun cooking with Cucinato’s chef at one of our Parla Come Mangi event. The next one is coming up March 5th, 2020.
2) Get moving
The internet offers a wide variety of fitness videos and advice in any language. Watching a workout video in Italian is a good way to stay in shape and learn the language. Don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word: you can follow along by watching. If you need to relax, you may want to try a guided meditation podcast.
3) Use technology
There are plenty of fun apps to help you learn a language just using a smartphone, but have you ever considered changing the language setting of your mobile? You can do the same with your computer and social networks – which, by the way, are perfect to get in touch with Italian speakers.
4) Learn like a child
Why do young children usually enjoy going to school? Because it’s fun. Use materials expressly designed for children (books, videos, songs, etc.), learn nursery rhymes and tongue twisters, which are wonderful to focus on specific sounds. Try this one if you are struggling with the <gl> cluster: “Guglielmo coglie ghiaia dagli scogli scagliandola oltre gli scogli tra mille gorgogli.” And what about watching a Disney film on a cold, rainy night?
Play is an important part of our life. So, why not use it to boost your Italian skills? For those fond of MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), there are several Italian communities waiting for you to join them. Check them out! You don’t need a computer to play; you may have a game console or some addictive app on your smartphone: change their language settings and you’ll get surprised. You can even play with words: make puns, learn jokes, solve crosswords and word search puzzles, organise a scrabble or trivia night. After all, language is a wonderful tool to play with, isn’t it?
6) Talk to yourself
It may seem a strange tip, but, if you are too shy or self-conscious to practice with somebody else, talking to yourself (or your pet) will definitely improve your speaking skills. In this way, you’ll be able to practice useful sentences and pronunciation, which will help you gain confidence and sound more natural during real conversations. Of course, you can also sing, keep a diary, think in Italian. Get creative and don’t take yourself too seriously. Learning Italian is fun!