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A Producer's Mobile Italian Boot Camp 7
How to learn Italian on the fly
Ciao everybody! Welcome to Wednesday, August 16, 2023.
You may or may not know, but I love Italy (Rome is my second home), and I love to produce films in Italy —- the activity has given me some of my best career, cinematic, and life experiences to date, not to mention many many close friends and a ridiculous amount of pasta and AS Roma soccer.
And I learned to speak Italian on this journey, which was not easy.
But recently, in the wacky world of 2023, my level of Italian proficiency surprised my friends and frankly, myself. I haven't been to Rome in a bit, but my Italian improved dramatically in LA.
I’m basically fluent, and I figured it out by myself, for the most part.
How did this happen?
Well, that’s a long story, with every software program and technique known to man. But I want to share with you the #1 technique I invented, which brought about the most dramatic improvement in my Italian language skills in a short time.
And it’s good for your health, I think. I call it the “Italian Language Mobile Boot Camp.”
MOBILE ITALIAN BOOT CAMP TECHNIQUE 7
1. Your Top 10. Write down the top 10 Italian phrases or sentences you want to work on — whatever you need to know, whatever you keep forgetting. Write it down. The more Italian you know, the longer the sentences and phrases can be. If you are a beginner, keep it simple, write down 10 key vocabulary words for your list.
The Walk. Start every morning with a 45-60 minute walk. Take the Top-10 list.
Repetition A. During your walk, repeat each Italian phrase or sentence on the list fifty times (50x) in a row. Yes, you read that correctly.
Repetition B. Rewind, play. Repeat each Italian phrase or sentence 50x again. Yes, you read that correctly again.
Focus. Spend the last 15 minutes of the walk planning your day, out of Italian mode.
TIP - Repeat each Daily List as many days in a row as is takes to get the vocabulary or phrases down, then make a new Top 10 list. You can come back to any given list as well.
Focus 7. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever miss a day except for a travel day, illness or you are actually in Italy. If you stop, you will fail.
I've done the "Italian mobile boot camp" every day since mid February 2023
= Exercise AND language practice, no? Not a bad idea, I think.
As a result, I'm now able to speak Italian without translating in my head (mostly) and I can hear and understand about 95% -- unless someone goes into a dialect (Napoli etc), then all bets are off and I’m just going to start moving my hands in the air.
I don't know if this learning approach is for everyone, but I came up with it thinking about how I learned music in drum corps, and how execution came down to gettting in enough great reps in practice ... before the "performance."
So, for example, if you want to learn to say "I like pizza" in Italian, you can read "mi piace la pizza" once in a book and then try to remember how to say it when you have pizza in Italy -- OR -- do the reps ... mi piace la pizza, mi piace la pizza, mi piace la pizza x 50 .... repeat ... and you'll never forget how to say I like pizza. And if you do, you add that to a daily list one more time.
Once I drilled down enough content through 50x reps, other Italian vocab and verb tenses begin to come together organically, it's been amazing!
If you read this far, perhaps you love Italy as much as I do. Here is Roma Scene 7, which is a collection of my Italian photography on Substack (free).
Thanks for reading! Grazie!
Lee Rudnicki, Esq.