Language Learning, Part 2: The Process

Part 1 here.

Starting point: Absolute beginner. My decision to study Italian started in earnest on January 9, 2022 when I stumbled across a three-part YouTube series by Nathaniel Drew who set out to learn Italian in one week. Granted, one week is not a realistic timeline for me given my goal and starting point, but I was intrigued by how I could adapt his strategy and accelerate the learning process for myself.

Day one was all about gathering information, and generating excitement and motivation to pursue my goal. The real work is about consistency.

I do have some background with French (having grown up in the Canadian school system), and there are similarities between the languages that are helping with my study of vocabulary. There are also many cognates between English and Italian, but as I later discovered, there are also many false cognates between the two languages that I will need to be careful of. Since my goal is to learn to think in Italian I will have to be careful not to be over-reliant on my “English brain” or “French brain” when studying the language.

My daily Italian practice will consist of a mixture of all four stages of this four-part process (thank you Nathaniel Drew), but focus mainly on the first stage at the beginning. 

Stage 1: 1000 Most Common Words

  • Make flashcards, build vocabulary
  • YouTube videos for pronunciation and sample sentences 
  • Use Google translate microphone feature to check my pronunciation of words
  • Keep a set of flashcards with me and practice during my commutes

Stage 2: Glue

  • Learn common verbs and conjugations (focus on present tense to start)
  • Connector words
  • Sentence structure 

Stage 3: Connection

  • Parlare italiano e condividere il mio processo con la mia persona speciale
  • Practice Italian with my polyglot friend Omar
  • Watch Italian shows on Netflix
  • Plan a trip to Italy!

Stage 4: Make mistakes 

  • It’ll happen naturally

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