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Learning Italian fast – 10 goals to track your progress

In our fast-paced world, we’re always on the lookout for ways to be more productive and efficient, am I right? But have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to learn Italian ASAP? Maybe you’ve got a job interview coming up, or you’re planning a trip to Italy, and you don’t want to be caught sounding like a fool.

Well, I’ve got some tips for you! If you’re in a hurry to learn Italian, keep on reading. And if you’re not, well, you can still stick around, maybe you’ll pick up a thing or two.

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Keep track of your progress in learning Italian

It’s a good practice to constantly monitor our progress. All our goals should be framed with timelines. And that’s even more valid in this age we live in, where all is required to be done as fast as lightning. But even though the above things are true, they may lead us astray, tempting us to rush over our lessons and expect good results.

This is a case where more, means less. What do I mean by this? That trying to cover more in your learning of Italian (going faster than you should) may eventually result in less progress.

Neither too fast nor too slow

There is a need for balance. And you have to discover the exact point by yourself.

A sportsman must go through his training every day to be in good shape for his competition. He knows how important his training is. There is a set of exercises for each session. It’s negative for his performance to train more than what the set plan establishes. He wants to avoid fatigue (and so do you in your journey learning Italian). And it’s also negative for him if he trains less.

Concerning the intensity of his training there is also a proper balance. Slow and lazy training is not good, but going speedily over the exercises is equally bad.

So, returning to our learning language goal, if you are on the right track, you will surely get there. But how to know if you are going too fast or too slow? You must measure your progress. Keep an eye on what you have learned and the time it took you to do so.

Here is a referential timetable

As there are growth tables with percentile curves that illustrate the distribution of selected body measurements in children, this post attempts to give an idea of the time required to perform some basic activities in Italian. This timetable is derived from my own experience learning Italian and from watching other family members and friends do so too.

It’s also intended to serve to calm you down if you’re stressed thinking you haven’t progressed enough. Or push you to get over to your books if too much time has gone by.

If you are starting to learn Italian, here is a checklist of some goals to keep an eye on:

1.) Read and understand stories for children: between 3 – 6 months.


2.) Listen and understand radio programs for children: between 3 – 6 months. Click here to go to some sites where you can listen to radio programs for children.

3.) Listen and understand the news broadcast. Between 6 months – 1 year. Click here to listen to a news broadcast in Italian 

4.) Read and understand the newspapers: between 6 months – 1 year. Click here to read newspapers in Italian.

5.) Read and understand a book: between 1 year – 1.5 years. Click here to read some recommendations concerning book selections for learning Italian.

6.) Watch and understand a movie without subtitles: between 1 year – 1.5 years.

7.) Find a native Italian and try to hold a 10-minute conversation: between 1 year – 1.5 years.

8.) Participate in discussions on social media reading and writing in Italian: between 1.5 years – 2 years.

9.) Find an Italian friend and call and message only in Italian: between 1.5 years – 2 years.

10.) Take a trip to Italy and interact smoothly with locals only in Italian: between 1.5 years – 2 years.


Factors that could influence the time it takes you to learn Italian

It’s always nice to compare your progress with others. But it’s also true that each one of us has a different learning pace. The time spent to archive these goals is only referential and it depends on an enormous amount of factors. By no means this table is set in stone. Some of these factors are:

1.) The distance between your first language and Italian. If your first language is English, it will be easier for you to learn Italian compared to a person whose first language is Arabic, for example. This list has been built considering English as your first language.

2.) The type of book, news, movie, or topics you want to discuss or use to measure your progress. The requirements of your language skills are completely different based on the content you’re targeting.

3.) The amount of time you have at hand to expose yourself to Italian every day. Learning a language requires exposure.

Wrapping up!

We encourage you to keep track of your progress. If you’re effectively learning faster than what has been presented in this table, congrats! If you’re going slower, it’s a warning that probably some adjustments could be made. We suggest you write down the approximate time it took you to conquer each one of these 10 goals listed in this post.

If you have already accomplished some of these, we would like to hear about your experience. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  1. Hello Henry,

    I just read your article on Learning Italian fast – 10 goals to track your progress. It’s an awesome post. Really very effective and helpful.

    I’m going to follow your instructions. I have just started a course to learn Italian and I’m excited. And I can’t wait to see how long it takes me to archive each one of the points you have mentioned here. I know it will be a good reference to keep me motivated. 

    I’ll also share your post with friends that are with me in the Italian course that has just begun. It’ll be fun to compare our progress using your table.

    1. Hi! Thank you very much for your comment. And it’s great to hear you’ll track your progress with this table. Thank you for also sharing this post with friends.

      I also recommend you do additional activities in Italian besides going to the course. Reading in Italian in your free time, or listening to Italian radio stations can help you progress faster. You can follow the links I have placed on the list (points 3, 4 and 5).

  2. Hi! Italy is one of the greatest destinations for tourism in the World. Every year thousands of tourists visit this wonderful country. But very few of them speak Italian. You can still enjoy Italy without speaking Italian, but there is so much richness in the culture, history, food and people in general, that it would be a pity to pass by them without absorbing all these interesting flavors because one’s unable to connect with locals.

    I’m planning to visit Italy, and it has been very appropriate to come across your site. I’m eager to embrace the language before I go. I’ll track my progress following this table. And I’ll take advantage of the links to Italian radios and newspaper you have placed on this post. Thank you very much!

    1. Hi! You have presented a very interesting and valid viewpoint. I agree with you. Most people that visit Italy don’t talk Italian. But as you have also stated, they get only part of the marvelous experience there is to visit this country.

      I commend your determination. And you’re more than welcome at my site. I really wish you the best in your trip to Italy. And an even greater experience learning this romance language.

  3. I have a very busy agenda, having two online jobs and also developing my own online business. But I still want to learn Italian and have already started.

    As somebody has also stated here in your comment section, I want to travel to Italy and make the most out of that experience. And I know that will not be possible if I don’t learn Italian. I’ll be tracking my progress and visiting your site for more useful tips and resources.

    1. Hi Leo! That’s really nice to hear. We can always make time for the things that matter us most.

      I wish you success with your online endeavor. And I’m also happy to have you frequently here on my site. Please feel free to contact me at any time. I’ll be more than happy to help.

  4. All language learning must be approached with enthusiasm, certainly following our pace, but also demanding from ourselves results.

    I know each one of us has his own pace. And we do well to understand it. But there are circumstances where we are forced to learn a language faster than what we would have wanted. Circumstances that pull us away from our comfort zone. Accepting them and working with them can also be positive.

    Before intending to learn Italian, I have had to learn a few languages. I’ll mention them here as an example to what I have been saying above.

    At school our Afrikaans teacher would not allow us to speak or ask questions in any other language during our Afrikaans class. It added pressure to our language learning.

    Our African servant in the kitchen, could only speak his dialect. So to give him instructions, we had to learn his language very quickly. We certainly had the need to learn at least the basics.

    While we were living in Greece, we learned to speak Greek interacting with locals on the street, while buying food at the supermarket or shopping. There was a lot, believe me, a lot of pressure to learn the language.

    Now, learning Italian will be more relaxed, at my own pace. But I know that when there is pressure it certainly makes us focus. This is the first time I’ll learn a language without having pressure to learn it. So I’m eager to see how long it takes me, and compare my progress with those occasions when I had a lot of pressure to learn.

    1. Hi Robert! I really appreciate you have written about your experience learning languages. It has been very pleasant to hear you’re now encouraged to learn Italian. And for a person like you that has already learned other languages, learning a fourth or fifth language is much easier than for a person that is just learning his second one.

      And reading the examples you have mentioned of the other languages you have had to learn, the pressure to learn them seemed to be building up. At school there was pressure, with your servant there was more pressure, but learning Greek must have had the most pressure of all. I understand when you say you really needed to learn Greek because your daily activities depended on it.

      And I also agree with you that pressure can help us to learn a language. It can help us become more efficient and really focus on our goal.

      I’m eager to hear about your progress learning Italian, relaxed at home, without pressure. I’m also eager to hear your experience concerning which type of learning renders the best results: when there is pressure to learn or when one is relaxed?

  5. I really like this because it’s realistic. I met someone overseas who spoke multiple languages and they said it took them a while to learn English, but for every other language it only took them a little over 6 months. They told me, once you learn a second language, it becomes easier to learn a third.

    I like that you mentioned actually going to Italy,  the only way to truly learn and understand a language is to interact with those that speak it.

    1. Hi! Yeah, I totally agree with you. Learning our third language is easier than the second. And immersion has tremendous benefits if it’s correctly embraced.

  6. Learning Italian would be fantastic. I know some people who are interested in learning Italian. Good point too. Some people might be under pressure to learn a new language to be able to take a job. I imagine balance plays a big role in learning a language. Going too fast might cause someone to get overwhelmed, while going too slow might cause someone to lose interest or might not be feasible under a strict deadline. You’ve compiled a nice list of goals here. I’ll save your post and share with friends for when it’s time to learn, well done!

    1. Hi! Yeah, balance and enjoying the process of learning are key when it comes to languages. Thank you very much for your comment.

  7. Hello, I read this article and I found it very helpful.

    My cousin is planning to travel to Italy for 2 years to study at a culinary school where she can learn the cuisines that makes the Italian kitchen one of the best worldwide and for her to do that, she will need to be fluent in Italian. These 10 goals listed above would come in handy in easing her to a seamless transition to the Italian language. I will share this post with her. Thanks

    1. Hi Mattias! Yeah, I agree with you that the Italian kitchen is one of the best worldwide. I wish all the best to your cousin. And thanks for sharing this post with her!

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