By- Claudia Quesito
Grammar has typically a bad reputation among language students, but there’s a whole world behind it that tells you a lot about the culture and the history of the language you’re learning.
And, if you really struggle to see all that charm, here are a few tips that might help you to better like—if not love—your grammar textbook.
First, grammar is here to help. Take forming plurals, for instance. When doing this—as well as any other grammar tasks—try to focus on the main rule, rather than thinking about the ubiquitous exceptions; you will master those with time, experience, and patience.
As far as plurals go, yes, English is easier from in some ways—you just add your -s—but you basically have just three endings to memorize in Italian: -o turns into -i, -a turns into -e, -e turns into -i. And the other cases are even easier: foreign words? words ending with a graphic accent? No need to change anything! Let’s step up to a verbal tense.
Are you confused by all the future tense endings? Wondering why -are verbs turn their -a into -e when forming the future? Use the present instead! Time expressions will frame the context for you: Instead of saying tra un mese andrò in Italia, you just say tra un mese vado in Italia.
Bonus point: You will sound perfectly natural, since this is what most Italians would rightfully say. It’s important, of course, to know that there is a future tense, but if you just focus on its recognition at first, over time you will learn when to use it. The same applies to passato remoto: Make your best effort to recognize it, but use passato prossimo instead and rest assured that many Italians do the same.
Still not loving grammar? Consider this: Italian does not have cases (German learners among you will nod here), there are no long, compound, hard-to-read words (Russian words anyone?), there are no nasal sounds (French speakers, I’m talking about you), and, other than a couple of tricky sounds, Italian pronunciation is very straightforward.
Finally, Italians are very understanding with foreigners and they’ll go the extra mile to communicate, appreciating what you know instead of noticing what you don’t. After all, we are all learners of some foreign language, aren’t we?