7 Encouraging Practical Tips to Find Your Italian Voice
From the beautiful moment of our conception growing in our mother’s womb, to our time adventuring out into the world - we are constantly surrounded by noise - words, music, and all of the sounds of life. Listening to our family have robust conversations around a bustling table full of food, laughter, compliments, and stories is the greatest motivation for us to utter our own words so we can join the community. We blab, yell, hum, grunt, mumble, and before you know it, we are composing full sentences expressing how we feel and think.
Every human is created by God with the ability to express their soul through language. Words, Sign Language, and Braille are the proof. Communication is essential to the human life because Jesus is the Word of God and we have Scripture to know Him personally.
Interestingly enough, the very effort it takes to learn our own heart language, we may dismiss in the learning of a second, third, fourth…language. Embarrassment, fear of failure, and worrying about sounding funny hold us back and the natural instinct to use any means possible to communicate becomes silenced.
So how do we find our Italian voice?
1. Be Bold - Italians are vibrant people and there is no shortage of boldness. They say what is on their mind in the moment. They fight to be right. They take pride in their food, fashion, and family. When learning the Italian language, it is important to have boldness that propels you into the language. You might say a few words “wrong”, but be encouraged that at least you are stepping out and going for it. The more practice you have speaking the language, the closer you will be to becoming a fluent speaker.
2. Immerse Yourself - We learn our heart language because we were surrounded by it and could not escape from learning it. Listen to Italian language lessons and music, watch Italian movies and media, and even consider sticky notes placed around your house with the Italian words for everyday items.
3. Understanding Humanity - People are people. Regardless of what Continent you were born on, we all go through similar life events. When learning a language, remember that you are entering into someone else’s world by connecting with them. If you do not understand what someone is saying or asking you, try to use context clues given the situation. Usually they are asking you where you are from, what brings you to Italy, or could be complimenting you. Smile, breathe, and be patient through the process.
4. Daily Discipline - You can learn anything in life, but the time it takes will depend on the time you invest. Set aside at least 30-60 minutes each day to study and speak the language. If you have a busy schedule, consider using your commute time in your car to listen to audio CDs, playing music while you brush your teeth, and using your cooking and cleaning time to learn too. God has created every language for His glory. Pray for God to grow your gifting of language learning each day.
5. Nuova Riveduta - Read the Bible in Italian. Pray through the “Salmi” and memorize Scripture. The Italian Bible is easily accessible online for free or can be purchased as a printed version. As a missionary, the more Italian verses you know, the greater ability you will have to articulate the Word of God and express your faith in Jesus Christ in a practical way.
6. Put Your Own Spin On It - My favorite word in English is “wonderful” - it’s my signature phrase for most scenarios. In Italian “wonderful” is “meraviglioso/a”. In my opinion, for just one word, it sounds super elegant and is much more unique than replying with the traditional “bene” when asked “come stai?".
7. Learning is Lifelong - Do you know every word you could possibly find in an English Dictionary by heart? Probably not. So live in the freedom of understanding you most likely will not master the Italian Dictionary as well, but that’s ok, “va bene”. Look up the top 25, 50, or 100 most commonly used Italian words and start with those first. Be encouraged that language is something that we can always build upon throughout our lifetime. If we stay motivated to learn enough to cultivate healthy friendships by sharing the gospel through discipleship, we will reach the place that truly matters - the heart.
Christine Marta is a Content Creator and Media Manager for PMc.
Christine grew up with a vibrant passion for her Italian heritage and sensed a calling at a young age to pursue the mission field through global ministry events at her local church. In 2010, she went on her first mission trip to Europe which encompassed 10 countries where her team performed redemptive story-based dance and drama skits to draw in a crowd to share the gospel. She went on another mission trip to Italy in 2011, and months later was engaged to Daniel. They were married in May 2012 in an Italian Villa and were sent on their first mission trip together that summer as Team Leaders. Going on multiple mission trips to Italy, they continued to feel a strong calling to pursue life-long ministry in Italy to reach their Italian roots with the gospel in Northern Italy. Christine is grateful to serve with the PMc Media Ministry through creative content as an encouragement to God’s transformative ministry in Italy. Christine and Daniel have been blessed to journey with PMc as they prepare for a life of missions. Lord willing, they plan to move to Italy as a family and join a PMc church-plant cohort and serve the local community through evangelism, discipleship, and the numerous aspects of church planting in Italy for the glory of God.