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It’s fun to learn Italian reading folktales

An excellent way to advance your Italian is to keep on reading in this language. It is great fun to learn Italian reading folktales.

The process of learning a Language

Language learning involves the development of receptive and productive skills. Reading and listening are receptive skills, whereas writing and speaking are productive.

One thing that is necessary for you to do when you’re learning a language is to get involved with reading and listening in the language you are learning. If you manage to include these activities regularly in your daily life, your learning will surely improve significantly. You will even be surprised with your rapid progress.

Starting to learn a language

When you are starting to learn a language obviously not all texts will be suitable for you as a beginner. One kind of text most appropriate at this level is the short narrative. It’s a great source of vocabulary and a magnificent way to begin interaction in the target language. However, it might be quite difficult to find reading materials which are appealing to you and at the same time easy to understand.

Book of fairy tales

A great reading suggestion for beginners

Here’s a suggestion that has to do with the solution of this difficulty. Italian fables and folktales are very often interesting short stories. The themes of most fables are based on common daily life activities. This makes them a rich source of basic vocabulary which has been used to put simple narrative discourse together.

Learn about the cultural aspects of the language

Besides, folktales show important cultural aspects which the language learner must never ignore. You will also find some of the people’s generalized points of view and the influence that geographical distinctive elements have had on them.

Reading Italian folktales give you a unique insight of some important historical and idiosyncratic aspects. Italian, as all other languages, is inner woven with the history and background of the people who speak it, therefore by reading these entertaining fiction tales you will not only learn Italian, you’ll learn about Italy and Italians, as well.

Train over bridge

Italian fables

You could select any Italian fables, however, I have found a book with outstanding features. It is just right to help you learn Italian. It has very interesting folktales, its vocabulary is simple, the syntax is ideal for beginners and the narrative discourse is very easy to understand.

The book I highly recommend for grown-ups and children alike is “Fiabe D’Italia” by Piumini & Gandini. Each fable in this edition is pinned to a geographical region in Italy.

In order to give you the flavor of the book, the English version of its first fable called “The Griffin’s Feather” is available. To read it, click here. So go ahead and have great fun as you learn Italian reading folktales!

To go over to Amazon and take a look at this book, click here.

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  1. Great article! Italian is a beautiful language worth learning. It also opens doors to understanding other romance languages as well as Latin. The first book I read in Italian was I Promessi Sposi and then a lot of Montalbano by Camilleri.

    1. Hey, John! Thank you very much for stopping by! I greatly appreciate your comment. I agree with you, Italian opens doors to other romance languages. And it’s really great that you have already been reading Italian. You’re well acquainted with both Italian classical and popular literature. Reading in a foreign language brings many benefits. Thank you very much for sharing your experience!

  2. Great post with lots of info. I am just beginning to learn Spanish, but a lot of what you mention applies to learning any language.
    Great information and will be applying to my learning of Spanish. Perhaps Italian next!!

    1. Hey, Brad! Thank you for your words about the post. I really wish you all the best learning Spanish. And Italian and Spanish are closely related being both romance languages. You will always be welcome at this site, and I’m looking forward to continue hearing from you in the near future.

  3. Great article, and I entirely agree with your good advices of how to learn a foreign language. I am a German, and I had to learn English, Spanish and Japanese. However, for a beginner it is necessary to pass a language course first, where he/she can actually hear how these people speak to learn the pronunciation. Without it, he will speak the language with such a heavy accent, that nobody will be able to understand him.
    To your success

    1. Yes, you’re right. Thank you very much for sharing your experience learning these 3 languages. You have first hand experience learning languages and I greatly appreciate your comment. Reading in the target language is a complement and taking a course or exposing yourself to native speakers is crucial. So, once you have covered the crucial aspect you can continue improving your language skills reading. All the best.

  4. Hi Henry!

    Thanks for this great article, and thanks for the link to the story, loved it. I’m French, live in an English-speaking world and am trying to learn Afrikaans. To me, the beauty of folks tales is that they get translated, so you can get familiar with the story in your home language to help you read it in Italian, or in any other language for that matter!

    When it comes to adding snippets of your new language in your life, I like to listen to songs and read (and make) local recipes in that language. It also teaches you about the culture…

    Btw, I’m using Mondly at the moment and I find it more user-friendly than Duolingo.

    Grazie mille, a dopo!

    1. Hello Isabel!

      I greatly appreciate your time stopping by to read this post and your comment. Yes, there is a particular beauty in folktales concerning the language and the culture they are presenting. While we’re learning a language, we also learn a bit of the background of that language by listening or reading its fables.

      Concerning recipes, I think it’s a great idea. You’re literally tasting the flavor of the culture that brings the language to life.
      Songs have also been great while we’re learning a language, because they can stick with us. It’s easier to remember a song than a grammar rule.
      Thank you for recommending Mondly. Yes, it has some great features!

      Please continue to visit us. You’re always welcome here! 🙂

  5. I’ve learned a foreign language and it’s tough. Great advice on learning through reading folktales. That does two things: 1 helps you learn the culture around the language, and 2 helps you stay interested. A big trouble I had with the language I was learning was that I just couldn’t fall in love with it. I watched tv, movies, and read the news. But the culture wasn’t interesting to me. Finding a way to study that keeps you interested is worth gold. That’ll keep you coming back because it’s fun, not a chore.

    1. Hi Nicole! I can’t agree more with you: Finding a way to study that keeps you interested is worth gold. Not all of us click with the same things. So that is my intention on this site. To provide a platform where there are enough resources and recommendations that suit all personalities and styles.

  6. I’ve been an avid student of languages ever since going to Europe in my early 20s. I only learned “un po” Italian while in Italy, but I’ve continued to study German, French and Norwegian because they have such a cool sound and I enjoy the look into their cultures that knowing their language gives.

    One of my favorite study methods for any language is similar to what you suggest in this post – I go out and buy 3 or 4 hard-cover CARTOON books to read. My favorite series is the “Asterix” books, which are all over Europe, but I never see them here in America. They are so delightful and funny to read, and the artwork is superb.

    Whatever language you’re studying, picking up easy folk tales, cartoon books or children’s fiction really helps get a handle on basic vocabulary!

    1. Hi Schlenker! Thank you for this great suggestion of buying cartoon books in the language we want to learn. I’ll try it myself and maybe even write a post. Thank you very much!

  7. Learning more than one language can be of great benefit in the world we living in. It can open and create more opportunities.

    I would really like to learn Italian language but like you said one of the best ways to learn a language is reading and listening to the language on a regular basis. This might be difficult because although I want to learn, I don’t live in Italy. Can you give me some recommendations on how I can go about this? Any advise would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Jay! Thank you very much for your comment. You have a valid concern but there are good news. With the Internet, there are so many resources online to learn a language that going to the country where they speak that language to learn it is no more necessary. You may find this post interesting, click here.

  8. Hi Henry,

    Great article! I’m a native English speaker and have learnt Mandarin Chinese. I think your advice regarding finding interesting material to read is really good advice. People often treat reading as secondary to speaking and listening, however, to get the full benefit of learning not just a language, but also the people and culture who use that language, reading is also so important!

    Thanks for sharing the Griffin’s Feather as well – I love reading old folklore such as this story!


    1. Hi Darryl! Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts about this! And I agree with you. Reading is a key element while learning a language. And it not only opens our mind to the language, but also to a better understanding of it’s people and culture.

      I hope you enjoy the Griffin’s Feather!

  9. Hi Henry

    I like this article. I recently made plans to visit Italy for end of July to the 2nd week of August for 2019. I had been thinking of learning Italian, simply so I can say a few words since a tour type of vacation with my other 2 sisters. You know to sound friendly and at the same time acknowledge where I am. I can already speak Spanish and a little Japanese. Your post has served as a reminder for me that I should start now. I will go take a look at this fable you have suggested. I have also started watching La Mappa Misteriosa, based on your suggestion on another post.

    Thank you,

    Lady Esther 

    1. Hi Lady Esther! I’m glad you’re planing these vacations in Italy with your sisters. I wish you a great time there. I really hope you have been improving your Italian while your waiting for the time of your trip. La Mappa Misteriosa is a fun way to get started. And you’ll also enjoy this fable.

      All the best! 🙂

  10. Hi, I have read your article very carefully. I am excited reading it and I have learned important tips about learning Italian in easy and fun ways. I like reading and I enjoy folktales, specially around a fire. They remind me of my grandparents. Thank you very much for sharing these guidelines.

    1. Hi! I’m glad to hear you like folktales. And they can help you as you get started with Italian too! You’re most welcome!

  11. I agree with you that while reading books that involve the culture and fables of other countries, you can really learn about the psyche of a culture. The example you provide, “Fiabe D’Italia” by Piumini & Gandini is perfect to do this with. Having spent a considerable amount of time in Italy, I know I would enjoy this book.

    As a side point on the subject, I built a house about 15 km from where the Grimm Brothers wrote their masterpieces in Hanau, Germany. We have been to the area and I can say I am not sure where they got the inspiration from other than the culture, the physical location was nothing special.

    The process of learning a foreign language is best accomplished by immersing yourself in that culture. That is how I learned German, and rudimentary Italian, etc. during my travels over the years. The thing is, some people will not have that chance, so reading such books is a good alternative.

    Great read, and good advice…Thanks for this post. It was engaging, interesting, and quite useful!  

    1. Hi Dave! Immersing our-self in the culture can really change the way we learn a language. Be it traveling or reading books, it’s important to bear this in mind.I greatly appreciate your experience and you have enriched this post with your comment. Thank you very much!

  12. What a great way to learn a new language – so simple yet I’d never really thought of it before, short tales and fables. My son is currently learning Welsh in school (yes we’re from Wales) and he is struggling with it somewhat as it’s a hard language. This route of short interesting stories is definitely something I’ll try out with him! 

    How many stories would you recommend covering with a child per day?

    1. Hi Chris! All the best to your son learning Welsh. One story per day would be fine. You would not want to overload him with more if he doesn’t want to by his own will.

  13. Thanks for your interesting article about Italian. I can speak French fairly well, but my son is a bit of a linguist speaking Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and a little Arabic. He would agree with your article about learning a language by listening to it and trying to read it. He listens to foreign language channels on the computer; it is possible to listen to French news broadcasts (or other languages). Of course, at the beginning, that would be a hard way to start learning because you could not understand anything.  

    I think that is where some of the language programs advertised on your site would be helpful to get a head start in learning – my favorite would be Rosetta Stone. They can get your vocabulary up and in the more advanced stages, you are listening and pronouncing actual conversations in the language of your choice.

    The best way to learn a language is with immersion which is how my son learned Chinese. He was a Peace Corps volunteer and had to pick up the language quickly. Of course, that is not practical for most people. I wonder if you have a favorite program for starting to learn a language before you can hope to learn how to read something?

    1. Hi Dave. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and your son’s experience learning languages. You’re bilingual and paved the way for your son to learn more languages. That’s nice!I would start with Duolingo. It’s a nice platform and it’s completely free. You can read more about it clicking here.

  14. This is how I learned to speak French – well similar.

    I would read children’s books and this made my learning process so much easier.

    I am just starting out with Italian and I will go choose some easy reading folktales as you suggest and learn 2 things at once – Great idea, thank you!

    1. Hi Vicki!I am thankful for your comment and your experience is very helpful. I have personally also used children’s books when starting to learn a language and it’s a great way. I may even write a post about my experience too. 

  15. I love learning new languages. My favorite is German, and I know it quite well. I’ve also been interested in learning Italian. I love the sound of it. I have used Babble and have had a good experience with it. They kind of have stories too, but also music. I think music helps a lot. Besides reading folktales, have you also seen progress in your language skills when listening to music?

    1. Hi! I’m always interested in hearing what works and what doesn’t for my readers. Many courses for learning a language include a section where were exposed to songs. It’s nice you have brought the topic up and I’ll start to prepare a post about it. Thanks!

  16. I have always enjoyed fables and finding a good one from the Italian people is a nice way to take a deeper look into their culture.

    Many fable change names and places and find their way into different cultures. But yet, there are those unique folktales that give us a glimpse into the mindset of the people of a region… people from a long time ago but also from nowadays too.

    1. I’m glad you were looking for a good Italian folktale book. You’re right. Fables sometimes describe people from long ago, but they also describe people around us.

  17. This was perfect. I think this is a great way to learn a new language and how much fun it could be to learn a new language while reading these fabulous stories. It’s not even going to feel like I’m learning a new language. I love reading and this is going to make what I learned stick and be memorable. 

  18. I’ve always liked the idea of learning a new language. Although I didn’t find it fun at school once I started learning Spanish on my own terms using Duolingo, it became fun for me. I feel like when I had to learn the language for grades etc, it felt more like work and didn’t give me the opportunity to have fun with the language and learn more and be fascinated about the  culture. 

    Am I the only one who feels that way?

    1. Hey, you’re right! When we enjoy the content we’re using to learn the language, we’ll spend more time with it and ultimately learn. When we don’t enjoy it, it will be very difficult to learn. Quite simple, isn’t it?

  19. Thank you for this report. I love learning languages and besides my mother tongue Dutch, I speak English and German fluently. However, after ten years, I still have my difficulties in Hungarian. But I would like to learn Italian too. I speak some Spanish so I think it would be easy to catch up with Italian pretty easy.
    Thanks for the tips, Monique.

    1. Hi! You have several things that work in your favor. First, you have already become fluent in several languages. And additionally, you have a basic understanding of Spanish, which is pretty close to Italian. And finally, you’re motivated to learn Italian. With all these points, you should get your foot in the door with Italian fairly quick. All the best.

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