Ciao! Italian is my mother tongue!

Ciao! Italian is my mother tongue!

More and more children all over the world are growing up speaking two or more languages. Being bilingual has incredible advantages for children, and speaking a language like Italian gives you a head start when learning other similar languages like Spanish or Portuguese.

Photo courtesy: Enzo Francesco Testa

Italian is a language spoken by almost 90 million people in the world, both as a native language and as a second language, and it is spoken by millions of people outside of Italy too!

In this podcast we produced with RTE’ Junior you can hear Bianca and Samuel, two bilingual children growing up in Ireland, talk about their favourite hobbies and some of their favourite Italian food… they also play a game in Italian that you might like to try too! 

If you are an Italian speaker living outside of Italy and want your child to learn Italian, here are some tips:

start as early as possible: speak Italian to your baby from birth, or as early as possible

make it part of your routines: use Italian regularly in your routines, from preparing breakfast, to walking to the park, to bed-time routines

make a plan: plan games and activities to do together in Italian, and check out our post for ideas and resources  (

identify resources: find books, games and other resources that can help you along the way. Check out this list for some online resources (

find someone to help you: it is important for children to see that there are other families who speak Italian in their environment. Find an Italian parent and toddler group in your area or arrange meetings with other families who speak Italian. For older children, try to find a language class so your child can experience the language and the culture also outside the home!

– Praise your child’s success: when your child says a new word, when they talk to you in Italian, or when they learn to read, don’t focus on the errors but praise their efforts and show them how much you enjoy speaking Italian to them.

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