Reply: how to improve speaking and listening skills
Posted by Monica Corrias on October 25, 2008
Cheryl wrote me: “I am recently taking a class of italian. Yes, I do recognise some words. but the point is that my speaking and listening skill are still bad. Could you kindly advise me how to improve my speaking and listening. Thanks & regards!”
This is my reply:
To learn a language, you have to live in the everyday situations so you will be able to communicate in a few time.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to spend an amount of time abroad.
If you are studying Italian in your country and you are not be able to improve your ability, try a different approach: speak Italian with a native speaker in a natural way (Italian people are almost everywhere).
The purpose is to communicate, not just to do some academic exercises and you need to have conversation in Italian, listen to spoken Italian and Italian songs. I suggest downloading mp3 files that you can listen to on your mp3 every day.
Yes, I suggest that you spend some time every day listening to Italian songs to improve your listening skills and your confidence in Italian language. I am sure: slowly but definitely, your confidence will grow up.
If you really need to improve your listening skills, you should be quiet and do not be distracted by only one part of the meaning (and therefore miss the important part): you have to try to understand the general meaning (and guess the other section).
When you find a piece you have difficulty with, ask to your teacher to repeat it and then listen to and try it again until it becomes clear.
But remember: the main focus is “to practise“!
You can also improve your vocabulary and comprehension reading magazines or simple books, but remember that many Italian words look like English words and have the same or similar meanings.
E.g. idea/idea (but with a different pronunciation) penna/pen, stazione/station, museo/museum, professore/professor, difficile/difficult, intelligente/intelligent, stupido/stupid, but avoid the temptation to make absolute comparisons between Italian and English: it is impossible!