Advice Learn Italian as quickly as possible

Hello,

I am posting this asking for any advice, for or against my study plan. If you think that anything here can be improved, please let me know.

I am now in a situation where I need to learn Italian as soon as possible.
I am not talking about fluency and I do not need it for any exams, but my target is between B1 and B2 by the early part of next year. I am starting from zero.

Gulp!

I know it is not a scientific answer, but looking at

Suggests that it might just be possible.

About me;

I am a retired English as a foreign language teacher and I have already taught myself Polish up to B1 level, so I know what is involved.

My method;

I can study for three hours a day. This will not be one solid block of time, but it will be broken into sessions of twenty or thirty minutes. I will get away from the computer during the breaks and do some exercise or other activity in order to stay fresh.

I will use three computer apps;
Clozemaster, LingQ and Linguno.

My method for all three will be controlled by time. I will allow one hour for each.

Clozemaster, multiple choice. One hour. Using the most common words collections. I will always clear ALL the reviews before any new words.This way it will become self regulating, if I have a lot of reviews then I will have fewer new words and vice versa. Using this method I think it is important for the final review to have ever increasing intervals so that reviews stay manageable.

LingQ, no reviews at all, just read, read and read some more. Starting at the lowest level and working my way up.

Linguno, I like this app. I use it for drilling grammar. It is split up into levels, for example, A1, A2, B1 and so on.

I am able to watch some Italian programmes in the evening. I like the Montalbano series. This is counted as relaxation.

So that is my plan and I think it is quite good. The only weakness that I can see is me. Will I be able to stick with it? I hope so.

As I said at the start, any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you,

StephenX

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Hi Stephenx! In my opinion you have a very good plan. You tailored it for yourself. You know what works for you. You , yourself , being a language teacher, are probably the best equipped person to tackle the task. I am an amateur here taking the most “scenic route” possible, going through the collections instead of FFT , planning to take it (FFT) at the very end, when I can truly test my fluency. Try to stick to your plan as much as possible. If something is not progressing the way you like it, modify it as you go. Thank you for the interesting read on study time calculator. (I recognized myself there as a person with “on and off” pattern learner). I do LingQ too, watch Netflix movies in Italian audio ( favorite known movies put in Italian audio are the easiest and more enjoyable). Clearly, I am the wrong person to ask for the speed of the learning. I just wanted to encourage you in your plans.

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Hello Barcarolle,

Thank you for your encouraging reply.
Good luck with your studies!

StephenX

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Ciao Stephen. I can’t improve upon your plan in any way (three cheers for Montalbano), and Barcarolle has summed it up well. However, I would add that should you feel defeated at any time, just come here, let us know, and we’ll make sure you get back on track.

I feel sure you’ll make it. In bocca al lupo.

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The basic plan sounds OK. What is critically missing - that I think you need to get to B1/B2 functionality - are both more passive listening (Montelbano can fill that spot, but also maybe try podcasts) and speaking practice. I have been stalled in the shallows of B2+ reading for years, and have used both these to really turbocharge my learning this year.

For passive listening, the news digest “easyitaliannews.com” is good - I like to listen first a few times before I read the transcript. IRL podcasts with transcripts are also very good (there are many), and RAI’s “Ad Alta Voce” has a number of resources as well. You don’t need to (and won’t) understand all of this, but the sound recognition is critical. For speaking I suggest a language exchange partner or tutor. I have two speaking tutors I interact with weekly, and I have gone from being frozen up and barely being able to say my name to being able to hold reasonably complex conversations for 30-60 minutes over the course of this year.

Other good resources: There are many excellent Italian tutorials on YouTube. I think “Learn Italian With Lucrezia,” and “Vaporetto Italiano” are excellent – and “Learn Amo” and “Easy Italian” (the one with Katie and Matteo) are also quite good.

In bocca al lupo!

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It certainly sounds like you know what you’re doing. The only comment I want to make is that I find text input far, far better than multiple choice for my own learning. Multiple choice is all about eliminating the worst choices, which is not hard, especially because it’s difficult for someone else to present you with the same wrong words that you might use yourself.

In terms of reading, I’ve always been happiest with genuine literature (often in the form of stories written for children) that I enjoy. It’s hard to find, and sometimes native speakers can’t give recommendations that work for you. But when you do find it, it really gets you motivated to continue.

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Hi Floria7

Thanks for the encouragement and support.

StephenX

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Hi Dcar1

Thanks for the link to “easyitaliannews”. I had a look at it and I like it. I have added it to my bookmarks.

I am going to add speaking into my plan, but not from the start. I am going to wait a month or so until I am able to talk sensibly.

Thanks

StephenX

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Hi Alanf

Thanks for your reply, I see your point about text input, but unfortunately typing is something that drives me crazy, all those accents!

I agree with you about reading. I have the Harry Potter books in Italian, I also used them when I was studying Polish. I think I know at least the first chapter by heart.

Thanks,

StephenX

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And thanks also for the Linguno site! I’ve added it - using their conjugation practice and crosswords. I see it’s in beta and may eventually be monetized, so hopefully it will remain relatively accessible in future.

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Hi @StephenX, your plan sounds great to me too, with all the additional comments (and especially @Dcarl1’s youtube tutorial recommendations) all the others have said too! Wishing you all the best for your learning journey, and feel free tro drop in here any time for an extra bit of motivation (or lamentation)!

I would indeed also recommend some sort of speaking exercises (preferably with someone else/a tutor), and even writing your own sentences (a short summary of your plans for the day/week or what you ended up doing that day/week) can really help you into the mindset of constructing your own sentences and applying the language, even if just very basically at first.

Furthermore, I think the “Cloze-Listening” feature here on Clozemaster (where you hear sentences read out by real people) could also be a great asset at some point further along in your journey, as well as trying out the “Speaking” review option at some point (and reading out the full sentence, instead of just saying the cloze word out loud).

Indeed, an interesting read, thanks.

My first thought after having played around with the various options was “Well this would greatly depend on the language(s) you’re coming from”. Then I actually read the text, and saw it’s aimed at native English speakers indeed, and that having knowledge of languages in the same language families would’ve made the calculator too complicated, but all in all, very nice to read the full explanation and the commens on it.

I also had a look at some of the other articles on the blog, and learned that the Korean alphabet is actually quite straightforward, and some other interesting things.

I’m hugely in favour of Text Input too, like @alanf suggested. Depending on your keyboard/operating system, it might not be such a hassle to enter all the accents if you did want to try to give it a go.

Entering accents

Firstly, there’s already the accents in the user interface that you could just click on, instead of typing them out yourself:

Then, depending on your OS/keyboard input settings, you might be able to long-press the vowel-key in question, which might bring up a little pop-up of the various accented forms of that vowel:

Screen Shot 2021-10-01 at 20.28.00

where you could then just press the corresponding number, or navigate through them using the arrow keys.

There’s also often the possibility of getting the ` accent by just typing `+[vowel], and ´ in the same way ´+[vowel], which is the method I tend to use.

Then there is the method highlighted in the shortcut keys (which should be available to all users in the Clozemaster desktop interface, regardless of their OS), when you hover over the given accented vowels: Alt + the vowel in question. The first option it will bring up is the “accent grave” version (e.g. Alt+a = à). If you keep this key combination pressed though, it will change to the “accent aigu” version (e.g. á). And then it will go back to the “accent grave” version, and keep switching between the two until you release the keys.

But I can completely understand it might still be endlessly frustrating, even if using one of these methods, and in the end such frustration is not going to help your overall learning journey, so in that case, best to just stick to Multiple Choice indeed!

I’m loving this one! I’ve only checked out the conjugation practice so far, but I am overall quite impressed (though did report a couple of errors). It’s mostly set up in a way that I had been hoping to do here in a custom collection. I would’ve hidden away the info though, only displaying it after submitting the answer and had indeed wantd to include any potential alternative answers like they do too. Curious to see what will happen to it after the beta phase is completed indeed, but interesting that it mostly uses the Tatoeba corps as well there. And we have a choice of Bianca, Carla and Giorgio!

Thanks again for the useful links @StephenX. It will be great to hear how you’re finding (and potentially adjusting) your study plan as you go along, I hope it will all go well! In bocca al lupo! And most of all, enjoy!

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I’m just curious: Which operating system(s) are you using? Also, which browser, or are you using the app?

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Another vote for text entry. I like to think of the multiple choice option as the “eliminate the three stinkers” option - not ideal for developing an active vocabulary.

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I’ve been using Chrome on Mac OS X (for the “Speaking” review option, which I unfortunately haven’t gotten to work outside of Chrome) until recently.

The app/mobile browser is even easier for me, since I have an Italian keyboard downloaded/installed, though I tend to almost exclusively use the desktop version.

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My Speaking has never worked unfortunately, on chrome, Firefox, whatever. But it’s no big deal. I mix n match Multiple Choice and Text depending on my mood of the moment. Both have their advantages.

Clozemaster is still the best learning tool for me, and just gets better and better regardless of Giorgio n Carla slipping up occasionally. They’re only human :-DD

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Thanks for the response, @sindaco. Sorry I didn’t make it clear – I was asking @Stephenx which OS/browser combination he uses. Based on that information, it ought to be possible to find a solution that makes it easier to type with accent marks.

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That makes more sense :grin:

In addition to the already listed methods, I thought of a further two methods (one of which I’ve unfortunately forgotten again). If you’re using a keyboard with a numpad, there’s also the alt code combinations (e.g. Alt+130 = é), though that’s generally more cumbersome than a lot of the key combinations that can be set up.

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To those who might find it useful. Some disclosures here: 1. time to finish CM is not important. 2. points and ranks are thrown out as distractions. 3. keep the conjugation table window open to see where that verb form belongs and understand why. 4. stubborn words are sent to “favorites” and kept there until are known. 5. for the words studied, either I know them or I don’t ; new words either 100 or 0 percent (no partial 25, 50 ,75 percent business). 6. 100 percent mastered is set to never , the max days to review is 20 days out of 30, this way my review chart is always in my view and in my control (no more dumping thousands on my reviews). I found going the long way through the collections more enjoyable than just doing FFT because it steadily goes from easy to advanced. In FFT you have a mix of everything and I was not ready for it. I just finished 5,000 collection. It took me a month to complete it. Looking forward to 10,000 and feel molto orgoglioso about myself. Number one is to enjoy the process, everything else just follows. In some strange way my long way feels much faster than what I used to do before.

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Russian Translation

Они собираются отменить большинство из этих правил.

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Russian Translation

Они собираются отменить большинство из этих правил.

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