Learning French And Italian At The Same Time
Learning French and Italian at the same time is no easy feat. They are incredibly similar as they are both romance languages, making it easy to mix them up. If you start learning them both from scratch at the same time then you’re likely to run into some difficulties. However, if you’re willing to stagger your learning or if you’re just determined you’re going to make it work then there are some things you can do to make it easier for yourself and to make it more likely that you’ll succeed.
Learn One Language To An Intermediate Level First
If you’re able to, try to learn one language to intermediate level first rather than learning French and Italian at the same time from a beginner’s level. Once you have a solid understanding of a language at an intermediate level, you’re less likely to forget that language when you learn a new one, especially one as similar to French as Italian. If you use the European framework for reference then a solid B2 is a good level to get a language up to before learning another.
You might feel impatient and not want to do this but if you can then it will make you less likely to mix the two languages up and it will also make the second language easier to learn as you’ve already learnt one and you’ve had an insight into grammar from another language. You’ve also had a chance to see what techniques work for you and what were a waste of time which should help you progress more quickly with the second language.
If you really can’t wait and want to learn them both at the same time from scratch then keep reading and we’ll look at some tips that might come in useful for you.
Study French And Italian Every Day
If you’re determined to learn French and Italian at the same time then make sure you study each language every day. This is better than doing French one week and Italian the next. Studying them every day will get you used to switching between the two which will come in useful when you’re trying not to mix them up.
Set aside dedicated times of the day to learn French and dedicated times to learn Italian. Even if you can only give fifteen minutes to each language each day. Sit down with your French materials and your French brain and study French, then when you sit down to study Italian later you can get yourself in the zone for Italian. This kind of learning should get you more used to swapping between the two languages.
Try To Speak Each Language Every Day
Output of a language is a great way to start thinking and formulating thoughts in that language. Speaking both French and Italian every day will quickly get you used to using these two languages and will help you switch between your French brain and your Italian brain much more quickly.
In the early days you can this by speaking to yourself, narrate what you’re doing or treat this exercise like a verbal diary. Writing the language could also help. Another great technique is to record yourself speaking the language each day. Not only is this a way to make sure you definitely get the practise in but you’ll also be able to look back and see how you’ve improve a few months down the line which can be great motivation when you reach that inevitable intermediate plateau.
Once you’ve gained a bit of confidence then you can start looking for language partners. You can try websites like conversation exchange or italki to find language partners and do exchanges with them. Maybe you’ll even be able to find some Italian and French friends and then your language skills can really start to flourish.
Find The Materials That Suit You
Not everyone learns in the same way. If you’re someone who finds textbooks boring and slow then you don’t want to buy an Italian textbook and a French textbook that you have to wade your way through. Try different things out and see what helps, do you enjoy Duolingo? Do you like memorizing vocab or working through a textbook? Do you like functional language use where you want to learn vocabulary in preparation for upcoming exchanges. No two people learn a language exactly the same so find out which method is most useful for you.
Make A Note Of Mix Ups And Work On Them
Mix ups will happen as the two languages are very similar but if this happens don’t worry, instead make a note of them and work on them. If they are common mistakes then you could drill them in each language, or actively practise using them. When you’re coming up to something in Italian where you’d normally substitute in some French, slow down, concentrate and really work on using the Italian. As this becomes more natural for you you’ll be able to speed up without using mistakes.
Learning French and Italian at the same time can be difficult but if you’re determined and you like a challenge there’s no reason you shouldn’t go for it. If you choose to this then these are some tips that could make it a little easier for you:
- Learn one language to an intermediate level first
- Study French and Italian every day
- Try to speak each language every day
- Find materials that suit you
- Make a note of mix ups and work on them
Finally, good luck with your language challenge.
Article: Learning French and Italian at the same time
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