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Teaching English in Italy: Some Challenges That Italian Language Learners Face When Learning English

I spent Decades studying the Italian language and leading an Italian social club in Atlanta, Georgia.

All along, I had been a teacher of English as a second language (ESOL) in different American schools for 21 years. While, in my time, I wrote fiction stories, poetry, and articles I was employed as a teacher of English for students in Italy. This article’s objective is to offer some tips about the challenges to ESOL and TEFL teachers when learning the language that speakers experience. Each and every group of people who have a special language background faces its own challenges, however there are particular mistakes that tend to be made by the majority of Italian learners of English in the beginning and intermediate levels. These mistakes will be tricky to unlearn, if not corrected in the early stages.

Until a student reaches an intermediate level of proficiency, it’s hard to explore the literary analysis of English. This is the first six months focus on talking with some attention, writing, listening, and reading. Some grammar before placing those rules to describe rules is frequently utilized by me. So as to speak clearly and fluently most students are concerned although it’s apparent that one can’t rely on grammar. After having had many encounters with both the English and Italian languages, I’ve divided the principal challenges that Italians face into four groups: (1) issues with the use of gerunds, -ing verbs, and infinitives; (2) issues with the use of phrasal verbs; (3) challenges with the pronunciation of “-ed” and”th”; (3) problems differentiating between when to use the present versus the present continuous tense; and (4) Italian pupils’ inherent concern about learning the conditional tenses.

First of all, it isn’t easy for Italian speakers to choose which verbs must be followed by an -ing verb and which verbs must be followed by an infinitive verb. If the world wide web is explored by teachers, they can find lists of these verbs that each need being followed by the -ing forms or the forms that are infinitive. They’ll perform better, if pupils will devote some time to practice these gerunds and infinitives that follow verbs. Since students usually don’t know where to get these lists of verbs followed by gerunds vs. infinitives, it is going to be well worth your time to locate them to your students and to keep them in your files for when they’re helpful. By practicing them, students can learn how to use these verbs. By way of instance, the verbs “agree” and “consent” need to be followed by infinitives. Therefore, one says, “I agree to sign the paper, and that I agree to purchase the books.” On the other hand, the verbs “acknowledge” and “practice” must be followed by gerunds. Therefore, one says, “I acknowledge hiding the gift, and I practice dance.”

One of the reasons Italians report difficulty in using prepositions is a result of the numerous English phrasal verbs including prepositions as part of the verb. Some examples include: to put on, to putoff, to put up with, and also to take off. Students must understand that verbs are as a set to make 1 unit with a meaning similar to words which work. All one must do is to modify the preposition after the verb and the meaning of the verb will change. It’s helpful to provide a list of phrasal verbs to students and also to encourage them to start analyzing those pairs rather than to present a few. Lists are available online and in publications so the students become verbs the better off they’ll be in the long term. English has.

The “th” sound is usually extremely tough for Italians because this noise doesn’t exist in their own language. Happily, most Italians do learn the”th” sound when they have a native speaker that gives them one-on-one pronunciation lessons. It doesn’t appear to be much of an obstacle, but when somebody does not point out the proper sound to Italian speakers in the start, it is likely that they’ll continue to create the “t” or “d” sounds at the place where you would normally pronounce “th” and this results in pronouncing the incorrect words such as “tree” rather than “three”. Once students have handled the “th” and the -ed sounds, they’ll have the ability to express themselves much more confidently.

It is vital to point out to Italian students that the -ed at the end of gerunds and adjectives is generally a “t” or “d” sound unless -ed follows “t” or “d”. To put it differently, a term such as “jumped” is pronounced”jumpt” as the letter “e” remains silent. The term “played” seems like”playd” without the letter “e”. Pupils benefit from learning the proper pronunciation on because mistakes become more difficult to correct in the future. It can be tough for speakers of a language to grasp the concept that there are patterns although that English isn’t merely a language. Patterns include digraphs such as th and mb or trigraphs such as tch dge, and chr.

Problems that confront Italians learning English often differ from those issues faced by Spanish speakers studying English. Fortunately, Italians don’t voice the “es” sound before vowels, a common Spanish mistake, as in “eSpanish” or “especial”. Rather, Italians tend to include the “h” sound to some words, between two vowels, when the “h” isn’t needed as in “go h-away” and they leave out the “h” sound at the start of several words like “home”. Many times, the words “angry” and “hungry” are mispronounced to communicate messages that are confused.

One of the primary elements of verb tenses that I describe in course is how English speakers always use the present continuous tense and the way its use differs from that of the simple present tense. Knows that the simple to explain every action is used by Italians. Whereas English speakers use the present tense to describe objects in the room, to explain habitual events, and also to explain a story that they’ve already read, English speakers use the present continuous tense to describe a continuous action that they’re taking in the moment. By way of instance, English speakers say, “I’m sitting at the table where I’m drinking a coffee and speaking to my buddy.” Rather, Italians say, “Mi siedo al tavolo dove bevo un café e parlo con mio amico” which literally means: I sit at the table at which I drink coffee and speak with my friend. If teachers don’t point out that English speakers use the present continuous (to be + ing) to explain actions which are occurring, there’s the risk that German speakers will continue to talk and write erroneously in the present simple tense for many years to come. Needless to say, English speakers who understand Italian risk with the present continuous too when they talk Italian if they aren’t informed of the gaps in use.

For those men and women that are only starting to learn English or to teach English, I suggest beginning with the following verb tenses: the present simple,the current constant, the present perfect, the simple past, the future, and the future continuous. I really do believe these tenses is going to be those that will be practical for a start, although students will be happy to learn the tenses all instantly. As soon as I discovered what I know of Italian 34 years ago, I started with the simple present tense and the infinitive form. I was lively with the speech, when using verb tenses and I would suggest starting out with a attitude. One needs to dive in and take risks to be able to produce progress. Language is if we’ll only be patient a communicative tool that transforms us.

There are four conditionals that play an significant part in the English program, so if you’re a new English teacher who plans to teach English in Italy, I’d recommend being prepared to educate those four conditionals (0, 1, 2, 3) before you start to officially teach in the classroom. Of most significance are the distinctions between the 0 and 1st conditionals. The 0 conditional describes something habitual that’s repeated whenever the condition happens. For example: When it rains, I don’t water the plants. Rather, something that happens such as is described by the 1st conditional. Students often grasp the two conditionals well since they correspond with conditionals. The conditional tense is used to demonstrate something that’s very unlikely without meeting with a condition: I’d write books, When I won the lottery. Since a condition hasn’t been met the conditional is impossible: I wouldn’t have failed the math test When I had remembered to examine. I would recommend creating your own chart before the first day of class with examples of those four conditionals on it, and keep it handy. Teachers can customize their charts to meet with with the needs of their pupils according to various cultures, their ages, and levels.

Personalizing your instruction will make lessons far more pleasant for pupils. Because everyone is a unique individual with his or her own learning style, you will need to do some research. Teachers shouldn’t neglect to consider that different approaches work for different students and that a broad range of sound visual, and experiences will be appreciated.

Hopefully this overview of the important issues that confront English language students in Italy is going to be very helpful to anyone who decides to teach English in Italy. The challenges which one group faces differ from those of other groups so if you’re teaching in Thailand, for example, the challenges will differ from those. Much of the understanding is based upon my analysis of the English and Italian languages. I discovered that using the knowledge of the student’s first language was a tool which didn’t hinder me from using the language as the way of communicating in my classes. You may understand the challenges once you’ll be teaching English in Italy and it ought to be easy to hone in on the most important lessons that you want to teach.

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