Once upon a time there was a guy visiting London for the first time.
He returned home upset.
Not because of the city, which was by the way amazing.
Because of the language.
He had never heard such a great diversity of sounds, accents and pronunciations.
Why did it all sound so different from the English he had been learning so far?
But it was the key event that put everything upside down, though.
Now he knew he had to change something in his learning.
And he lived happily ever after… watching movies in his target language forever and ever.
That’s the brief tale of how a trip has changed my language learning method completely.
As an Italian language coach I want to share my findings with you now.
Ladies and Gentlemen, here are 4 benefits of learning Italian through movies.
1.Rich context and emotional connection
If there was just one advice I could give you, it would be: Never study individual words.
Studies have proved that we remember things better when there is a surrounding context we can refer to.
The richer the context, the easier memorizing and remembering of words, sentences and structures will be.
Wait, but, what does context mean?
The Cambridge dictionary tells us that context is:
“The words that come just before and after a word, phrase or statement and help you understand its meaning.”
We can also safely conclude that context is something that has a beginning, a middle section and an end. Elementary, Watson!
Italian movies hold by nature a very rich context. Because they always tell a story. A big picture story and many shorter stories in between.
If you happen to find the story engaging, you are bound to establish an emotional connection and relationship with it.
And guess what?
This connection helps you to remember words and phrases much more effectively.
I bet you have better memories of anything in Italian you had a blast with, than to anything else you were not excited about. That’s the same principle.
There is another kind of context movies provide you with: Visual context.
If you are unsure about what’s going on in the movie, it’s a great aid for guessing.
As the saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words.
So, we can undoubtedly claim that context is our king when improving our Italian listening comprehension.
2.Authentic spoken language
“If only I could go to Italy to learn the real life language… Staying at home I will never be able to learn it. “
If you have ever had a similar thought, I have good news for you.
Italian films are the resources with the most authentic language you can find outside of Italy.
If you live in Italy, you will listen to Italian conversations between people who speak naturally every day.
Yes, actors are acting.
However, Italian movies are what comes closest to natural conversations of native speakers if you live abroad.
So, there are no excuses whatsoever for not setting up your personal authentic Italian listening immersion at the ease of your home.
Oh, did I mention that movies also provide you with a massive amount of funky colloquial expressions your app, text or grammar book will never unveil to you?
I bet if you watch movies in Italian before your next trip to Italy, you will be able to catch some expressions you hear on the streets right away.
3. Insights to culture and customs
We talked about visuals before. There is another aspect
Watching a movie in Italian will not just improve your Italian listening skills.
A film that takes place in Italy can bring you home any cultural situation.
You could virtually go for a walk at Piazza di Spagna, you could see what an Italian bar looks like.
In older movies, there is even a chance to see the characters driving a FIAT 500.
You can also have a look at the body language, hand gestures, facial expression and other nonverbal language that Italians use frequently.
A thorough visual cultural immersion you don’t want to miss.
4. Exposure to various accents and pronunciations
In most Italian content designed for learners, you will hear a “correct” standard pronunciation.
There is nothing bad with this.
You have to consider one thing, though.
In real life, Italians don’t necessarily sound like that. You may be exposed to a plethora of different accents.
Some of the words might sound very different compared to what you have learned.
An Italian from Milan will always sound different from an Italian from Naples.
Even if both tell you the very same phrase, you can unmistakably hear a different melody and intonation in their speech. Hearing those differences for the first time can be quite puzzling.
You may or may not already know that the first step to learn to speak Italian is being able to understand what people are telling you.
Luckily, Italian movies always star actors from many different places in Italy.
For example, try to watch any Italian film starring Vittorio de Sica and Massimo Boldi (two comedians) to hear how someone from Rome and Milan speaks. Even though it’s basically the same language, they will sound different and possibly use slightly different (regional) expressions.
Watching Italian movies will make you above all a terrific listener. I never said it’s the easy way, but it is the fun and engaging way for long-term results with your Italian.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite movie in Italian and start learning the language doing what you love.
Hi, I am Moreno. Since 2018, my mission and passion is to teach you how to (really) learn Italian independently, doing what you love. I firmly believe a good teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
You can listen to my podcast and find me at https://italiancoach.net