Article Written By Laura Scaramella

Age is Not a Barrier to language learning

The power of learning Italian as an adult

We are familiar with the notion that children are quick learners and absorb information like sponges. Yet, drawing on my expertise as a teacher specializing in teaching adults over the past 18 years, at Parla Italiano, I aim to shed light on the advantages of learning later in life.

In a world where growth opportunities are boundless, it’s never too late to explore new horizons and cultivate new skills. Today, we’re cheering on those who might be thinking about learning Italian but hesitated because of their age.

Whether you’re contemplating your first Italian lesson or considering a return to study, this post is designed to inspire and reassure you that the adventure is yours to embrace. Ready for the adventure? Let’s go!

In this blog:

  • Advantages of learning in later years
  • Lessons are not as they used to be!
  • Tips and techniques (learn cognates, tips for memory, and more )
  • The social element of learning

1. Advantages of learning in later years

Language learning enhances brain function

Engaging in language learning has been scientifically proven to enhance brain function. Research consistently demonstrates that acquiring a new language stimulates various cognitive processes, promoting improved memory, problem-solving skills, and overall cognitive flexibility.

Learning a language requires the brain to process and assimilate new information, leading to the development of neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new neural connections. Beyond the linguistic benefits, this cognitive workout positively impacts other areas of mental functioning, contributing to a sharper and more adaptable mind.

So, not only does Italian learning open doors to better communication and enjoyment of the Country, but it also provides a scientifically supported means to bolster and optimize brain function.

Embracing Experience: The Pros of Mature Language Learners

Experience is not just a number; it’s a powerful asset in the world of language learning.

Mature learners, this one’s for you! Your wealth of life experiences is like a treasure trove when it comes to learning Italian. Unlike children, adults bring a depth of understanding and a broad perspective that goes beyond textbooks. Your journey through life has equipped you with problem-solving skills, cultural awareness, and the ability to connect dots in ways that are invaluable in language acquisition.

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Knowledge of Other Languages

If you’re multilingual, consider yourself a language maestro! This linguistic diversity becomes a powerful ally in mastering Italian. The familiarity with different language structures, grammar concepts, and even shared vocabulary accelerates the learning process, making it a smoother ride for those with a polyglot background.

However, even if you have not yet mastered another language the familiarity between English and Italian makes it a relatively easy language to master, more on this later.

 2. Language learning: a new modern approach

Learning Italian isn’t what it used to be! The modern teaching methods have transformed over time, leaning towards more exciting and hands-on approaches.

Evolution of Teaching Methods

Gone are the days of monotony in language classrooms, where a teacher would talk at you and you would passively take notes. Today, teaching Italian involves dynamic and interactive methods that break away from traditional styles. We’re moving from rote memorisation to a more engaging approach that embraces conversation, games, and real-life situations.

Engaging and Interactive Approaches

Imagine learning Italian through lively conversations, interactive activities, and even games! Modern teaching methods have paved the way for a more enjoyable learning experience.

Picture this: an Italian class buzzing with energy, laughter, and enthusiasm. No, it’s not a dream! Modern Italian classes have transformed into lively spaces where the atmosphere is as dynamic as the language itself. The traditional hush-hush of classrooms has given way to an interactive and engaging ambience.

Benefits of Modern Teaching Methods

Why the shift? Because it works! Modern methods make learning Italian not only effective but also enjoyable. With a focus on real-world scenarios and interactive tools, these approaches help learners retain information better.

At Parla Italiano, even beginner students are put in a position to speak from day one, to participate actively in class and to make the lesson theirs.

3. Tips and techniques for learning

There are many tips and techniques to make your learning easier. We have devoted several blogs specifically to these. We’ll mention here two, one related to cognates and one on memorization techniques.


Learn cognates

This technique is quite simple, Italian and English have a huge amount of similar words which have the same meaning, these are called ‘cognates’. So, in order to develop your vocabulary quicker concentrate on cognates. Many of my students have downloaded our free guide (50 words in 5 minutes) which includes explanations, easy to study tables, loan words and much more.

Image by Freepik

Memorization techniques

If you are worried about your memory or lack of it, be reassured that learning a language has many cognitive advantages and one of these has to do with maintaining – if not enhancing – your memory.

Our oldest student, Doreen, was 84 years old when she joined one of our morning classes and she was great. She stayed with us for three years improving each term. She decided to stop only because her hearing aid was not working properly any more.

We have written extensively about memorization techniques including: creating a learning routine, utilising space repetition, practising active recall and many more. If you wish, read the full article HERE.

4. The social element of learning

Community Support and Networking

No one learns a language in isolation, and the strength of community support is particularly crucial for our mature learners diving into the realm of Italian. Let’s explore the significance of building connections within the classroom and beyond.

Importance of Supportive Communities:

Learning Italian becomes a heartwarming journey when surrounded by a supportive community, and Parla Italiano is not only a school but also a community.

Stay Updated with our newsletter: Consider joining our newsletter HERE, where we share all the latest news and activities. Being part of our community ensures you’re in the loop with exciting developments and valuable language-learning resources.

For learners, this sense of community becomes a pillar of strength. It’s a place where experiences are shared, questions are welcomed, and encouragement flows freely. The power of camaraderie within the classroom and the community goes beyond language learning—it’s about forging connections with like-minded individuals who understand the unique joys and challenges of your linguistic adventure.

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Sharing Experiences and Overcoming Challenges

In the vast landscape of language learning, every learner’s journey is a unique story waiting to be told. By actively participating in the community, learners can share their rich experiences and offer guidance to those just starting. Likewise, connecting with others allows you to tap into a pool of collective wisdom, providing solutions to challenges and celebrating victories together. It’s a collaborative effort that turns the solo pursuit of learning Italian into a communal celebration.

So, let’s embrace the strength of community, connect with fellow learners, and make our language-learning journey a shared adventure!

Age Knows No Limits

Remember, whether you’re taking your first steps into the Italian language or rediscovering it, age is not a barrier; it’s a passport to a world of possibilities. Your journey is uniquely yours, and every moment spent immersed in the beauty of Italian is a testament to the timeless nature of learning.

A Welcoming Community Awaits

In this linguistic adventure, you’re not alone. A warm and welcoming community stands ready to support, encourage, and celebrate the strides you take in mastering Italian. Age diversity is our strength, and the collective spirit of learners, both young and seasoned, creates an environment where everyone thrives.

Ready to test the waters?

Now, it’s your turn to take centre stage! We invite you to our free taster class to experience our classroom for yourself.

Explore a Free Taster Class

Complete beginner?

Click HERE to sign up for our complete beginner taster class

Already have some knowledge?

If you already have some knowledge of Italian click HERE. This free session allows you to get a firsthand feel of our teaching approach and class atmosphere.

Your journey into the world of Italian is just a click away! Grazie mille for joining us on this adventure. We eagerly await the opportunity to celebrate the joy of learning Italian together. A presto! 🇮🇹✨

About the Author(Laura Scaramella)

Parla Italiano is a boutique school of Italian that caters to English speakers aiming to live in Italy, travel with confidence, rediscover their heritage, and partake in the Italian culture and language. The small school offers high-quality teaching for small groups on Zoom, led by professional and qualified teachers. The classes are carefully designed to create a relaxed environment, and the syllabus includes original, interactive, and fun lessons. Parla Italiano focuses on achieving students' objectives and guiding them with passion to reach their language learning goals. All classes are delivered online using Zoom, ensuring a teacher-led, interactive approach with a strong emphasis on speaking.

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