IS CONVERSATION ALL YOU NEED TO BECOME FLUENT IN ITALIAN?
I don’t think so. Being an experienced language coach and a polyglot, I have concluded over the years that speaking is not necessarily what you lead you to fluency in Italian or any foreign languages.
Writing, instead, it is. Let’s see why.
How writing in Italian can help you to strengthen your Italian skills and improve your overall Italian fluency?
Writing in Italian is a brilliant idea because:
- Writing in Italian is like speaking Italian in slow motion
- Writing in Italian is an output activity, just like speaking
- Writing in Italian will expand your Italian vocabulary like never before
- Writing in Italian will polish your Italian from the automatized mistakes (I call the “fossils”) and imperfections in sentence building
- Writing in Italian will transform your passive Italian knowledge into an active one
Speaking Italian in slow motion
When writing, you will take the time to look up the words or idioms that you really want to throw in and which will enrich your speech. You will do that without interrupting the flow of the conversation and you will have the time to think through what you are about to say too. And by doing so, you will lay excellent foundations for your future Italian conversations. Because you know the vocabulary, and you have already attempted to put words in sentences 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. Speaking Italian will become easier and easier.
BOOSTING YOUR CONFIDENCE UP
Writing is an excellent tool to gain confidence and so improve your Italian speaking.
Writing is incredibly related to speaking: both writing and speaking are output activities.
Output activities are all those learning practices that help you to put your Italian knowledge out into the world. Generally, they involve speaking and writing.
When writing in Italian, you are creating content in Italian for yourself. You are putting out in the world sentences and meanings in Italian.
You are shaping your thoughts in a different language.
Listening, reading, or even doing flashcards are input (or passive) learning tasks and are all about receiving pre-created information.
Creating content (output activities) in your target language is what you need to become a fluent Italian speaker and feel at home when you travel to Italy.
How can you put out your Italian into the world, in written shape?
- You can blog in Italian
- You can start a Studygram in Italian
- You can journal in Italian
- You can write down short essays and have them corrected by your language partner or teacher
- You can translate into Italian your favorite blog, Ted Talks, articles, poetry, etc…
Expanding your Italian vocabulary
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 reading, listening, or by doing flashcards for learning word lists.
When you create Italian content in written form, you will look up in a dictionary the words and verbs that best suits what you want to say.
The whole process of looking up in your dictionary, select the words you mean, 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 own Italian content, you naturally select all those Italian words, verbs, and idioms relevant to what you want to say. That’s the most brilliant way to internalize the language.
Polish up your language from the imperfections
Writing is a brilliant practice to polish up your Italian for high frequency errors or “fossils.”
As the Romans said, Verba volant, Scripta manent (Latin) – Spoken words fly away, written words remain.
When writing in Italian , you are put in the situation of visualizing your grammar sore points, fossilized, and recurring errors.
Of course, the best is when you can have your Italian written texts edited or corrected by a native Italian teacher or your language partner.
Writing in Italian will help you visualize and understand all those imperfections (wrong prepositions, wrong conjugations, weird sentence structures) near i m p o s s i b l e to eliminate during a conversation.
The mere fact of seeing your mistakes black on white, you will automatically reduced the amount of recurring mistakes you tend to make when speaking Italian.
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 and conscious way.
Knowing an arsenal of vocabulary is of no use if you cannot 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) until 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.
So, why conversation isn’t everything you need to take your Italian to the next level?
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 experience
95% of what we teach others
In other words, we remember and learn when teaching others or when creating information and share 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 excellent 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 speaking Italian, you are often immersed in the conversation flow 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.
That’s is why a lot of students linger on the intermediate learning plateau for months or years.
Once, an excellent French teacher that tutored me during my university years told me: at this point ( I was a B2 level in French), the best you can to make the most out of your learning time and become an advanced speaker is writing.
Interested leveling up your Italian through conscious writing? Contact me here.