Sean joined Verbalplanet in December 2016 learning Italian. Inspired by Italian music and the spectacular scenery of Sicily, Sean challenged himself to learn the language of Dante. Whilst making great progress through self study and using language resources on the web, Sean felt his studies lacked the realism of live one to one conversation with a native Italian speaker.
By choosing Verbalplanet, Sean has been able to connect online with a native speaking Italian tutor and bring his studies to life. After 88 classes and counting, Sean has now reached level C1 in listening comprehension and conversation on the European Framework of Reference for Languages.
I am a retired 69-year-old Englishman living in Malta. I was persuaded to learn Italian three years ago while watching the BBC TV series Commissario Montalbano, originally produced by Italian TV and broadcast in the UK with English subtitles. The music of the language and the beautiful scenery of southern Sicily where the programmes are set, inspired me to learn Italian so as to understand the programs in their original language. Malta is close to the island of Sicily and as a family, we visit that island on a regular basis. I find the landscape of south eastern Sicily, both town and countryside, very beautiful. Recognising places in Sicily that have featured in the TV programmes gives our visits to the island additional interest.
With no regular job to distract me, I have been able to dedicate lots of time to studying Italian, usually two to three hours a day. I have been motivated to continue at this pretty intense level by what has become a love for the sound of the language and for the culture, the food, and history it represents.
Language learning is not new to me as I spent most of my working life abroad. I have learnt Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Greek, all to B2/C1 standard on the European language scale. I had the huge advantage of being paid to learn all of these languages and would typically spend weeks or months in the country where the language was spoken before starting work. Initially I would spend one or two months at a London language school followed by 2 to 4 months living with a family in the destination country whilst continuing to take daily lessons from local teachers as well as practising the language with the families who were my hosts.
I no longer have a generous employer to pay for my language lessons and all of my Italian language learning has been self-study. Today there are a huge number of resources available online. As part of my studies I used a number of magazine style Italian language resources produced for students of Italian such as Incontro Italiano, Italian made Easy, and Italiano Automatico. Despite many hours of self study, what I missed most was the opportunity to practise speaking the language in a realistic setting. Family responsibilities in Malta make it impractical for me to spend weeks at a language school, attend a university or stay with a family in Italy. I therefore looked for an internet based system of conversation classes.
Hello, my name is Andrea Padovani and I'm an online Italian teacher with Verbalplanet. I am a native Italian speaker and I have been an online language tutor since November 2013.
Sean Holt has been one of my students on Verbalplanet, and to date I have taught 5403 classes and have 1808 reviews from other students who have also been learning Italian online with me. If you would like to improve your ability to speak Italian I am sure I can help you progress and achive your language goals. My classes have an emphasis on conversation and oral skills so really help to boost your confidence. I'm also currently offering a free initial trial lesson for new students.
If you would like to find out more, please click on my profile link to get in touch and we can discuss how I can help you learn to speak Italian with greater confidence and fluency.
I found Verbalplanet in early 2017 and decided to give it a try. I was attracted by the wide range of teachers offered, the simple and straightforward payment model and that Skype based classes would be an efficient and convenient way to learn a language without the need to travel to attend a school.
I know from my previous language learning experience that after twenty or thirty hours of conversation with one teacher it is often helpful to make a change to hear a different accent, experience a different teaching method, and explore different topics to discuss. Verbalplanet makes it very easy to change teachers when you think it is time for a fresh approach.
What have I achieved? I know from feed-back from my teacher and from online sample test papers produced by the Dante Alighieri language organisation that I have reached the level C1 in listening comprehension and conversation and perhaps B1/B2 in writing. I can understand the Italian programmes on the radio (except perhaps when they are discussing Italian football which has a language all its own!) and I can watch and enjoy episodes of Commissario Montalbano in the original Italian without the sub titles.
I am quite confident in my language skills and get enormous benefit and satisfaction from being able to interact with people in their own language. I have been very happy with the progress I have made and would certainly recommend Verbalplanet to any language student wanting conversation classes as a supplement to their online self-study.
The Italian language is a Romance language spoken by about 70 million people, primarily in Italy and San Marino. It is also one of the official languages of Switzerland and is the second official language in Vatican City. Italian forms part of the Indo-European family of languages.
The history of the Italian language is quite complex but the modern standard of the language was largely shaped by relatively recent events. Italian was first formalized in the first years of the 14th century through the works of Dante Alighieri, who mixed southern Italian languages, especially Sicilian, with his native Tuscan in his epic poems known collectively as the Commedia.