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Learn Italian - FIRST THINGS FIRST ...


Before we get down to the content, there a few tools and gadgets you'll find helpful.  Take a little time to explore these and register if necessary.  (Remember, they are all free and are only mentioned here because they are useful, tried and tested).



Take a test


First of all, unless you know yourself to be a total beginner, it would be a good idea to begin with a diagnositc assessment - to find out what your level is and what you most need to improve. 


You can find one here - on BBC languages


If you think you have at least an Intermediate level, try this test instead.


Getting set up - Desktop Tools


Now get yourself set up for regular study of this language - but 'little and often' is really the only way to get there.

First, download your free audio flashcards from BYKI (Before You Know It).

These are cards are fantastic for mastering basic vocabulary and the audio is excellent, providing all the repetition that you need to help words 'stick'.  The only fiddly part is realising how to change the word list that you are practising.  The link is small and right at the top of the page.  Click on it and select 'change list' when you are ready to move on.

 Adding Accents

 If you are going to be studying on your computer, writing online or wordprocessing, you're going to come across the problem of adding the right accents to your writing.  There are various ways you can add accents when typing - keyboard shortcuts etc etc.  But these are fiddly and I always forget them.  But this tool makes it all very easy.  Just got to Typeit.com, type in what you want to say and then cut and paste the finished text into your document or programme.  Simples.



Type Italian characters - online keyboard

But how do you pronounce it?

When studying by yourself, pronunciation can sometimes be a bit of a problem.

Here's a great tool that can help you out: Audiopal.com

You also get a choice whether to hear the word/phrase spoken by a man or a woman. If there are accents in the languag you want to be pronounced, don't forget to use 'Typeit.com' (see above) to help.

 A language-focused desktop

Another way you can set yourself to make the most of your learning opportunities is to customise the layout of your computer desktop.  One way you can do this is to got to iGoogle and, if you don't have a Google account already, sign up for one (it's free and very useful). 

You should find a link that says 'Add Stuff'  If you search using the term 'Italian' you'll find various bits and pieces - but I would recommend setting up a  'Word of the Day' gadget or two - like the one shown here.  The best ones will give you a recording of the word and embed it into a context.



Get yourself an online dictionary


I use 'Word Reference' and  'Garzantilinguistica'.  I think you need to register with the latter when you first use it - but it's free.



Verbs, verbs, verbs


Don't we love them!  You're certainly going to need a verb conjugator to use as reference.  There's a really useful one here.  Use it a couple of times and you'll wonder how you managed without it.


Now for some content ...


I think this calls for a new page.

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