Site MapHelpFeedbackStudy Hints
Study Hints
(See related pages)

Learning New Vocabulary
Learning Grammar
Learning New Verbs
Practicing Italian Outside of Class

Learning New Vocabulary

  • Your different skills and senses reinforce one another, so be sure to say, write, read, and listen to new expressions as you are learning them. Working in a group is always helpful.
  • Practice using new words in context. Write down and say out loud short, original sentences using each new word.
  • Try brainstorming, too: make lists of all the different expressions you associate with new vocabulary terms.
  • Learn gender and articles along with the new vocabulary words: il cinema, la radio.
  • Pay special attention to accents and to the pronunciation of consonants in exceptions to the rule and special combinations: the g in gonna, the c in pace, the ch in barche, the gn in sogno.
  • Flash cards are extremely helpful, since they allow you to review vocabulary even when on the go.
  • Carefully study the words in the vocabulary lists and drawings. If a word is a cognate or shares a root with an English word, be especially aware of differences in spelling and pronunciation. For example, note that classe has an e, and that stazione is spelled with a z. Also be aware of false cognates that look like a similar word in English but actually have a different meaning. An example of a false cognate is libreria, which means bookstore not library.
  • At least twice a week, use your flash cards to review vocabulary from previous chapters. Small amounts of steady effort will bring lasting success!

back to top

Learning Grammar

Learning grammar is important, but this alone will not make it possible for you to communicate in Italian. To acquire a meaningful command of Italian using Prego!, be sure to follow all of these steps:

  • Start by reading the grammar explanations, paying close attention to the examples.
  • The brief dialogues and paragraphs that introduce each point are very important since they illustrate how the grammar is used in everyday communication. Read through them silently several times, then repeat them aloud with a partner.
  • Do the exercises in your text, Workbook, and Laboratory Manual. When you are certain your answers are correct, practice out loud with a partner. Keep repeating them until the answers "feel" natural to you.
  • Working with a partner, use the new material to talk about yourselves. Use the exercises and brief dialogues as starting points, then create your own variations and chat freely. Always remember that learning grammar is only a means to a much more important end: communication.
  • Learning a language is cumulative, so you will want to create flash cards and review material from previous chapters frequently. Just five to ten minutes a day of reviewing (rather than one long cram session each week) will bring you a lasting confidence and success in communicating in Italian.

back to top

Learning New Verbs

  • Be sure to learn a complete conjugation (pronoun followed by stem + ending) for any new group of verbs and for all irregular verbs.
  • Your different senses reinforce each other, so practice saying, writing, reading, and hearing all new verb forms. (Working with a partner helps!)
  • Once you feel confident of the forms, ask and answer simple questions with a partner. Touch on each new verb form at least once.
  • Always learn the meaning of a new verb in context. Write out a brief, original sentence of your own illustrating its meaning: Io studio i verbi irregolari.
  • Whenever possible, break up your study sessions into several short periods rather than one major cram session. You will feel fresher, learn more quickly, and retain more of what you learn.

back to top

Practicing Italian Outside of Class

By itself, the time you spend in class each week will not allow you to gain a deep or lasting knowledge of Italian. Once you have completed the activities in your Workbook and Laboratory Manual, how else can you practice Italian?

  • Most importantly, take advantage of and create opportunities to speak Italian with others. Language is a social tool: it withers and fades in isolation.
  • Hold a regular conversation hour, perhaps at a café, with other students in your class.
  • Practice your Italian with native speakers. Is there an International House on your campus? An Italian table at lunch or dinner? Are there Italian-speaking professors or students? Try out a few places every chance you get.
  • Explore the myriad of Italian resources on the Internet, including chat rooms, Web pages, and virtual museums. Your instructor can provide you with a list of these from the Instructor Edition of the Online Learning Center to accompany Prego!
  • Make a habit of viewing Italian-language films: at the movies, on a VCR at the library or at home. Organize serate al cinema with classmates!
  • Check local bookstores, newsstands, libraries, and record stores for Italian-language publications and music.
  • Listen to Italian-language radio broadcasts and watch Italian-language television programs. You may find them difficult at first, but if you persevere you will be surprised at how quickly your understanding grows. Contact your local cable company or Italian consulate for a list of Italian-language programs in your area.

back to top

Prego! 7/eOnline Learning Center

Home > Study Hints