It might surprise you but the most common phrase I use in Italian isn’t the same as in English which is probably the quite obvious;
How are you? Com’e stai?
Instead in Italian the main phrase I use is;
How do you say X in Italian? Come si dice X in italiano?
When we are little and learning a language for the first time everything is new and amazing but when you are learning a second language you slowly realise that everything around you has a new name in your target language. This, depending on your mood and outlook, is either terribly exciting or horrifying as you contemplate how much you need to learn. For me, this changes day to day (and sometimes hour to hour). Also, you need to learn and repeat these new words multiple times in order to remember them, or at least I do. I don’t know if this happens elsewhere but I had nightmarishly long vocabulary lists given as homework that you were supposed to memorise while learning a language (badly) at school. This doesn’t work for me. I learn things in relation to a context and then revise multiple times in order for it to stick.
There are a couple of things I try to do when I learn a new word;
- Use it immediately and repeatedly in a sentence
- Write it down (in your phone or I keep a little notebook in my bag or pocket for this)
- Come back and revise the words you learnt at the end of the day
You can learn in any situation, not just while at your desk and I have found in relation to my language learning that I learn better when trying to speak and name things.