LearnItalianwith Us!Start Learning!
No, this isn’t another one of those silly blogs promising you that you’ll be speaking Italian fluently in two weeks. It’s simply a few tips, based on personal experience, that may help you to communicate more effectively when you’re in Italy.
Let’s look at three important aspects of confidence building:
Have you ever been in a foreign country where you speak little or none of the native language? Perhaps you go into a little café for a snack and the waitress, realizing that you speak English, begins to speak to you in your mother tongue. Perhaps her English is very basic, let’s say at the level of a four year old.
A. laugh at her?
B. think to yourself: “Wow, that’s awful”?
C. feel surprised and pleased that someone is making an effort to communicate with you in your mother tongue?
My guess, based on personal experience, is that the answer is C.
Now switch roles. This time it’s you who hesitatingly makes an effort to communicate with a foreigner in their mother tongue. What is their reaction? Once again, based on experience, I’d say that the answer is C.
The moral of this tale? No one but yourself is judging you. Take a deep breath, relax, and go for it. Use the magic key of language to open new doors, and make new friends.
2. Body Language
Yes, Italians are famous for it. It’s an essential part of communication here in Italy. One of the things that a lot of Italians tell me they find confusing when talking to foreigners, especially Northern Europeans and North Americans, is their lack of body language. So, once again, take a deep breath, relax, overcome your culture inhibitions, and use your body and face to express what you want to say. Of course, it’s probably not a good idea to try and copy Italian gestures until you understand what they mean … that could cause you some embarrassment! Check our blogs about Italian gestures to find out more: Gesture of the Day Part 1 – Gesture of the Day Part 2 – Gesture of the Day Part 3
3. Make the most of the Internet
If you don’t have the opportunity to spend much time in Italy then use the Net. YouTube is my favourite online resource. I watch videos in both English and Italian, and I suggest that you begin to watch as many Italian videos as you can. Choose a topic that interests you, something that makes you want to find out more, and to really understand what people are saying. Study Italians as they speak, look out for those gestures, listen for strange expressions, unexpected grammatical variations, and replay the video as often as you need.
And remember: Serena and myself are here for you. Drop us a line, feel free to ask us about what is being said, a word that you can’t identify, or perhaps a phrase, for example: “what is Georgia (the famous Italian singer) saying at 01:20 (1 minutes and 20 seconds)in THIS video?” Answer “abbiamo deciso che non potevamo lasciarvi in pace quest’anno …. (we decided that we couldn’t leave you in peace this year…).
… and finally, let me leave you with a funny video: Inglesi Vanno in Italia, with Italian subtitles. Divertitevi!