If learning languages didn't come naturally to you growing up, it's possible the thought of trying to now doesn't sound like a lot of fun. But it can be! Out with stale textbooks and repeating phrases that you'll never use, and instead find ways you enjoy learning. Like music, for example, which can be one of these most effective ways to learn. Don't believe us? Here are some tips for learning Italian with music that we're sure will convince you otherwise.
Tune your ear in
So to start with using music to learn Italian, you'll first need to… find some music! Try iTunes Top 100 Songs in Italy for example. Sure, in this list, you're bound to find some English songs, but there are plenty to choose from that are sung solely in Italian.
If you're new to the language then just listen, get used to the way Italian sounds. You don't have to go in and analyze every single word to begin with! Try In questa nostra casa nuova by Biagio Antonacci & Laura Pausini as an example, or scroll through to find a genre you like first. Think of all the new music you'll discover, whether you understand it yet or not!
So maybe the very idea of listening to Italian pop brings you out in hives. How judgemental of you! But if your learning isn't going to be effective listening to something you really don't like, what's the point? Use your trusty friend Google and type, for example, best Italian rappers. You'll need to sift through because a lot of bands will sing in English as well, but this is the best way to find genre-specific music. Try Ghali's Habibi to give you an idea; you might even recognize the song from Fifa 19! If you choose music that is the style you would normally listen to, you're already putting yourself in a place of comfort as well as broadening your musical horizons.
Learning a new language? Check out our free placement test to see how your level measures up!
Listen with lyrics
Listen along to your newly discovered music with lyrics in Italian. Try Genius for example; here are the lyrics to Priestess by Maria Antoniette. How many words do you already know? What did you infer just from listening? Can you guess what they mean from the other lyrics before looking the words up?
One thing you have to be aware of from the beginning of using music to practice a language is that the songs are sung naturally; you'll hear contractions and colloquialisms that might be unfamiliar to you to start with. Persevere and see how quickly you pick the language up!
If you're used to more conventional ways of language learning, going in head first to new music might sound overwhelming! But don't worry, you can ease your way in with something more familiar. You can use sites like Lyric Translate who give you the lyrics in both English and Italian, like this one for Sfera Ebbasta's Tran Tran. Either compare the Italian and English to begin with so you can then listen to the song with full understanding, or use the Italian lyrics as a translation activity. See how close you get when looking at the English version!
The best way to get the perfect pronunciation and get the sense of how words feel when you say them is to do so out loud. And if you have Italian music you have the perfect excuse to sing along! In the car, the shower, the subway if you want to entertain your fellow commuters. You can mumble if you must but be bold if you want to be. The quicker the words feel natural on your tongue the quicker you'll understand. And think of all those songs or individual lyrics that get stuck in your head on a daily basis; imagine doing that with Italian and how quickly you'll pick up new phrases and words! Listen to Ghali's Cara Italia and tell us you aren't already singing along.
Think of using music to learn a language as a new way of discovering the things you love, instead of something that requires a lot of work. You'll have music on your mp3 no one around you will have been lucky enough to listen to yet. Why not give them a little taste; you might even get yourself an Italian-learning companion!