Expanding the vocabulary is fundamental for early-stage language learners, therefore identifying new words becomes a priority. This is particularly true if you are in an immersion environment like the one you are in now, but keep in mind that this constant exposition to real-life language may be overwhelming if not controlled.
Here’s some advice on how to set up your self-study programme.
- the alphabet
- greetings and pleasantries
- names of countries, cities, faculties and professions
- cardinal numbers
- telling the time
- verbs for daily and free time activities
- parts of the day
- days of the week
- months, seasons
- adverbs of frequency
- public places (restaurants, etc.)
- Tourist facilities (hotel, youth hostel, etc.)
- types of food and diet; adjectives for talking about food and drink
- simple expressions for describing
- feelings or needs (I’m tired / I’m hungry)
- time reference words: la settimana scorsa, un anno fa …
- weather vocabulary: è/fa bello/brutto,c’è il sole, piove/nevica/ è nuvoloso etc.
- means of transport
- locations around the city
- verbs of movement (attraversare, girare, etc.)
- basic lexis relating to the life of a university student
Which tools can I use?
Here’s a list of some useful materials to train yourself with vocabulary at the Language Centre:
- Italian - Assimil - with ease series
- Routledge Colloquial Italian
- Teach yourself – Complete Italian Course
- Studio Italiano
- Le parole italiane
- Parole: 10 percorsi nel lessico italiano
- Progetto italiano für deutschsprachige Lerner 1 (A1)
- Großer Lernwortschatz Italienisch aktuell
- L'italien - Assimil - collection sans peine
- Vocabulaire Italien
- El Italiano - Assimil - collección sin esfuerzo
Here's a list of some audible graded readers available at the Language Centre:Level A1 - 500 key words
- Amore e cappuccino
- Dov'è Yukio?
- Radio Lina
- Pasta per due
Level A1/A2 - 1000 key words
- La commissaria
- La rossa
- Le città impossibili
- Amore in paradiso
- Maschere a Venezia
What's the best method then?
Unfortunately there's no universal solution to the question. Since we all learn in different ways, some methods might be more suitable to some people than others.
Moreover, no textbook is perfect, and no textbook is complete. It is but one resource at your disposal. Use it as a guidebook, or an outline.
The Language Centre advisors will help you choose the best solution for your needs.
Once you have chosen your textbooks, dictionaries and supplementary materials you can easily throw yourself into the challenge of real-life language, possibly trying to put into practice what you have been studying.
News in slow Italian
Current news delivered at slow speed and with additional transcripts. Listening to news in a foreign language is great for increasing your vocabulary on current topics.30 minute Italian
It covers expressions and culture through personal travel stories and detailed examples.
Most TED Talks are translated into different languages. This means that although the talk itself is in Italian, you can watch it with subtitles in a foreign language, and you can also look at the script in the TED subtitles. Choose a topic of your interest: by actually being emotionally involved with the topic you’ll be listening to, and by acquiring vocabulary through meaningful context and not from lists of words, it’ll make it much easier for your brain to remember new information, and this will in turn make it much easier to remember new vocabulary and expressions.
If you are interested in a particular subject you can start with that. For example, if you like reading about sports or cooking, go for it! The most effective learners are motivated to study because they memorize words based on their interests and needs. If you do this you are more likely to use the new words in context
- Speak aloud as you practise: you learn words better when you speak rather than simply read them.
- Review your cards with spaced repetition: it’s better to review them in shorter intervals each day and to review them again every few days, increasing the amount of time between each repetition.