Is conversation what you need to improve your Italian? Maybe not…

We remember  

10% of what we read

20% of what we hear

30% of what we see

50% of what we see and hear 

70% of what we discuss with others 

80% of what we personally experience 

95% or what we teach others

Edgar Dale

In other words, we remember and learn when we teach others or when we create information to share it with others. 

Speaking is an essential method to integrate into your Italian language routine. The more you speak, the better. Conversation in Italian at any level is great to boost your confidence when learning a foreign language…but…

Is speaking the best way to achieve a high level of fluency in Italian? 

Nope, and I will explain to you why. 

When you speak, you are driven to use the words and verbs that come to your mind more easily, the ones you are comfortable with.  

And you are also most likely to fall into the trap of sticking to the very set of Italian words and sentences that you are already comfortable using, failing to expand your Italian vocabulary and knowledge.

When you speak Italian, you are often immersed in the flow of the conversation and don’t have time to look up the right words or the correct way of saying something or throwing in that Italian idiom you learned a few weeks ago in your flashcards. There is not just enough time.


This is why a lot of students linger on the intermediate learning plateau for months or years.

Once, an excellent French teacher that tutored me at my university years told me: at this point ( I was a B2 level in French), the best thing you can to make the most out of your learning time and become an advanced speaker is writing.

How writing in Italian can help you to strengthen your Italian skills and improve your overall Italian fluency? 

Writing in Italian is a great idea because: 

  • Italian writing is like speaking, in slow motion
  • Writing is an output activity, just like speaking
  • Will expand your Italian vocab like never before
  • Will polish your Italian from the automatized mistakes 
  • Will transforming passive Italan knowledge into active one

 

Writing is like speaking Italian in slow motion

When you write, you can take the time to look up those words or idioms that you really want to throw in, and that will enrich your speech. You can do that without interrupting the flow of the conversation. You can think through what you are about to say. And by doing so, you lay excellent foundations to your future Italian conversation. Because you know the vocabulary, and you have already attempted to string sentences together in a natural way.

By writing in Italian, you will build a solid foundation for your Italian conversational skills and boost your overall confidence in your Italian language learning experience. As a result, your Italian speech will come off naturally. 

 

Why writing is a fantastic tool when it comes to improving your Italian speaking skills? 

Writing is an excellent tool to gain confidence and thus improve your Italian speaking. 

Writing is incredibly related to speaking, in fact, both writing and speaking are output activities.   

Output activities are all those learning practises that help you to put your Italian knowledge out into the world. Generally they involve speaking and writing. 

When you write in Italian you are creating content in Italian for yourself. You are put out in the world sentences in Italian. 

You are shaping your thoughts in a different language.

Listening, reading, or even doing flashcards are input (or passive) activities and are all about about receiving pre-created information. 

Creating content (output activities) in your target language is what you need to become a fluent speaker of Italian and feel at home when you travel to Italy. 

How can you put out your Italian into the world, in written shape? 

  • Blog in Italian
  • Start a Studygram in the Italian 
  • Journal in Italian
  • Writing short essays and have it corrected by your language partner or teacher 
  • Translate into Italian your favorite blog, Ted Talks, articles, etc…

Expand your vocabulary through Italian writing

Italian writing will indeed give you the chance to expand your Italian like never before. Most learners are taught to learn new words passively, e.g., by receiving inputs through the reading, listening, or by doing flashcards for learning word lists.

When you create information in Italian in written form, you will look up in a dictionary, the words that best suit what you want to say.

The whole process of looking up in your dictionary, select the words you really want, putting pen to paper, shaping a sentence, putting the words into context, is everything you need to learn vocabulary effectively, effortlessly and naturally.

By creating your content in Italian, you naturally select all those Italian words, verbs, and idioms that are relevant to what you want to say. That’s the most brilliant way to internalize the language.

Polish up your language and find structure through Italian writing

Writing is a brilliant practice to polish up your Italian for recurring errors or “fossils.”

As the Romans said, Verba volant, Scripta manent (Latin) – Spoken words fly away, written words remain.

As you write, you are put in the situation of visualizing your grammar sore points, fossilized, and recurring errors.

The best-case scenario is when you have your context edited by a native Italian speaker or Italian Coach.

Those imperfections, wrong prepositions, or articles are i m p o s s i b l e to eliminate during a conversation.

You need to see them, black on white, to reduce the automatic mistakes.

Transform passive knowledge into an active one

Italian writing will help you to put your language out into the world. Learning effectively in a foreign language is all about creating content or information in Italian on your own. When writing, you internalize the Italian grammar, new words in a natural way.

Knowing an arsenal of vocabulary is of no use if you can not use it proactively in well-shaped sentences.

Assuming you have learned many new sentences through reading or by doing your flashcards: that knowledge won’t be real (active) till the moment you give it life: in sentences, in text, or a conversation.

Have you yet practiced the writing method in your Italian language routine? If not, why?

Like all things in life, getting a little bit out of your way is the key to improvement.

If you have any insights on this topic, feel free to reach me out.