Learning a language out of context is extremely complicated. This is because context is the strongest among the motivations that can lie behind learning a foreign language.
A language, though, also cooperates in developing context. So by using it you create more context around you, which pushes you to learn more. So you have to start using it.
Use will be, at first, passive; you’ll spend most of your time and energies analyzing what’s going on around you, trying to understand. Only in a second time you’ll start using the language actively, little by little, more and more. It all depends on you. A language is an instrument you use to communicate. Put yourself in a situation in which you HAVE TO communicate in a foreign language, and you’ll start learning effectively. Do whatever you can to make your environment more culturally and linguistically “contextualized” and you’ll be supporting the process more and more. Listen to music, turn your cell phone interface into your foreign language, do the same with facebook, your e-mail or even your whole computer. Put yourself inside the language. And don’t be afraid, you won’t lose anything of yourself: you can only add, not subtract. At a certain point you might restructure, but you won’t lose a thing. Maybe now, having seen it in context, you’ll remember “torno subito” in Italian.
Are you in Italy right now? Share your learning process: whenever you see something linguistically or culturally relevant to you take a pic of it or take a video, then mail it to me: italybeyondstereotype@gmail.com. I’ll answer to you directly, and if you want I’ll publish it here: the more you send the more context all of you will share. Proviamo? Wanna try?
Dai! C’mon!