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What’s the best app to learn Italian?
There are many ways to learn Italian with an app, but what’s the best app to learn Italian?
A few decades ago, it was natural to browse textbooks in a bookstore. Nowadays, there are plenty of software and language learning apps that claim to be more interactive and effective. You only need the best app to learn Italian.
Now, it’s more common to ask: with so many Italian online courses around, what’s the best app to learn Italian?
Apps on our smartphones are fantastic for social media, for playing games, and even for finding the perfect restaurant.
A language app can also be an essential tool for anyone who wants to learn Italian.
If you want to start to learn or to improve your language skills in a fun and easy way, there are a huge number of apps available.
Are you ready to take group classes or 1-on-1 Italian courses? Which learning approach do you prefer? Language immersion? Grammar, anyone? There’s certainly a language app for that!
What are the best apps to learn Italian?
Be advised that there’s no single language app that can answer all your questions and teach you everything you need to be proficient in Italian.
In reality, you’re probably going to end up using a collection of the best apps to learn Italıan to cover all the skills you need for communication in Italian: from learning the grammar, perfecting your pronunciation, to building your vocabulary.
But, do language apps work in the first place?
The problem with language apps
Many language apps are designed to entertain you as a user or, in other words, to retain you as a customer.
Language apps praise you constantly: for responding correctly several times in a row, for completing a chunk of the day’s lesson, for learning from your mistakes.
Language apps keep you apprised of your progress via various point schemes and use email and phone notifications to nudge you to keep your routine going.
You became rich in worthless points and cherish them.
However, you only have a feeling of progress. In fact, even if you’re learning anything, it’s not useful material for conversation in real-world situations.
Instead, the best language app to learn Italian should be designed to learn, not to kill time, and should be focused on giving users the ability to get by in social settings in Italy (meeting people, traveling, ordering food and drinks).
So, the question is, what’s the best way to learn Italian?
Here’s a list of tools you need to successfully get results in your Italian learning!
Besides that, if you’re interested in audio course reviews, I reviewed my 4 favorites separately: Ripeti con me, Glossika, Pimsleur, and ItalianPod101.
What I want from a language app
As language learners, we all need to cover various skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
This involves acquiring vocabulary and grammar patterns.
There are many apps that focus on grammar rules and translation, while others that try to stuff new words into your mind.
There’s also plenty of reading and listening material, although it’s rarely in the ideal form to be digested by beginners.
In any case, there’s one aspect that is often overlooked by apps, courses, and textbooks – speaking.
It’s a common experience to go through one or two grammar books only to find yourself at a loss for words when you try to make a basic sentence.
That’s why I want to practice speaking even when I’m alone.
Personally, I evaluate language apps based on how well they get you to speak Italian.
That’s why at the top of this list you find audio courses like Ripeti Con Me.
14 apps you need to learn Italian fast
“Ripeti con me!”, the best app to learn Italian with a focus on speaking
Surprisingly, the best app to learn Italian is not an app, but an online language audio course.
With “Ripeti con me!”, you learn Italian intuitively by listening and repeating sentences.
The Italian audio course Ripeti Con Me starts at a beginner level and focuses on essential Italian vocabulary. Its slow pace makes it accessible to beginners.
This audio material only uses audio from native speakers and is also excellent to learn Italian in the car.
The concept underlying this course is that you’ll improve your Italian by listening and repeating many sentences.
As you go through the course, small changes are made to the sentences, moving different components in and out.
In this way, you’re learning new words and how sentences are formed. Grammar isn’t explicitly taught but you’ll begin to pick up the various grammar points on your own.
Vocabulary and grammar are acquired naturally.
“Ripeti con me!” continuously prompts you to speak, so you can’t just sleep through it.
Speaking is essential to master a language!
During the course in this language app, you will:
- Improve pronunciation
- Think directly in Italian
- Speak faster, with confidence
- Retain useful vocabulary
- Master grammar patterns
If I were to choose only one tool, it would be this one. This is the best way to learn Italian.
Using Ripeti Con Me is as easy as ABC: take 1 lesson a day, every day.
In this review, you can see how Ripeti con me compares with similar audio courses, namely Glossika, Pimsleur, and ItalianPod101.
There’s also an in-depth review of “Ripeti con me!”
There’s a free version with a few sentences from the first 10 lessons.
With this Italian audio course, you’ll be speaking Italian from Day 1.
Start a free trial now!
Pimsleur is one of the longest and most well-established household names in language learning.
It’s probably the best app to learn Italian for a total beginner who wants to learn at a slow, steady pace.
Paul Pimsleur knew how important participation is in the process of language learning and integrated it into his language app.
Usually, when people learn with Spaced Repetition System they do it for memorization. In other words, just listening or reading at spaced intervals.
However, Pimsleur products pressure you to recall and participate in an actual exchange.
So instead of playing a word to get you to remember it, the audio series asks you how to say something or to respond to a native speaker.
The beautiful thing about this is that it never allows you to become a passive listener but prompts you to speak.
The best apps get you to practice speaking even if you’re alone. That’s the most overlooked aspect of language learning.
You want to learn how to speak Italian, not just a list of grammar rules. Vocabulary and grammar are acquired naturally.
Its slow pace makes it the best app to learn Italian for total beginners who need a lot of repetition and don’t expect exciting material.
You’re actively involved in what you’re listening to and the presenter of the series keeps you on your toes because you need to respond at various intervals.
This active recollection is powerful at getting you to recall and use the language just as you would often have to do in real-life situations.
Pimsleur is extremely easy to use: take 1 lesson a day, every day.
This is arguable the best app to learn Italian from zero if you’re not confident about learning languages.
This language app is available in two versions: premium (app, more expensive) and audio-only (MP3s, cheaper).
Whichever you choose, use the code SAVENOW at checkout to save up to 25%.
I personally made an in-depth review of Pimsleur Italian.
Glossika is an audio course just like Ripeti Con Me. In fact, Ripeti Con Me is an improved version of Glossika for the Italian language.
Glossika builds your speaking confidence at a rapid pace, gets you used to a native voice, and challenges you throughout.
The method of this language app is sentence-based and very heavy on audio. You will hear a sentence and be prompted to repeat it – that’s the 2-second version of it.
This simple task of repeating comprehensible input will solve your problem of having nothing to say.
Glossika isn’t for the very early language beginner – if you’re looking for a starter, try something like Language Hacking books.
This is a method I see as perfect for anyone who’s sick of language learning theory and wants to start getting as much practice as quickly as possible.
This is the old version of Glossika. It was possibly the best app to learn Italian before Ripeti Con Me.
However, now it’s hard to find online, while on their official website you only find the app version.
Glossika used to be an audio course like Ripeti Con me, but now it turned into an app.
Learning Italian with an app is different from listening to an audio course.
While not suitable for absolute beginners, lower intermediates could use the resource to familiarise themselves with sentences in their language of choice using Glossika´s intuitive approach.
Its sophisticated algorithm for spaced repetition makes it the best app to learn Italıan with a focus on repetition of common phrases.
Listening to speakers and repeating what they say can help learners to improve their comprehension skills and spoken fluency.
I personally made an in-depth review of Glossika Italian (the old version).
The biggest risk when you’re learning anything new isn’t that you’ll pick the wrong course, or you’ll learn the wrong things — it’s that you’ll give up.
You’ll give up because it’s hard, or because a language app is boring, or because you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.
This risk is biggest when you’re just starting out. Once you’ve had a few successes, you’re much less likely to give up.
So, if you’re brand new to learning Italian, look for a course or solution that will teach you a lot of usable languages, fast.
Don’t dive head-first into a detailed grammar course. It will kill your enthusiasm before you even get out the gate.
Michel Thomas Total Italian is an audio course. You follow along as Michel Thomas instructs a couple of Italian learners.
You start with some simple phrases and quickly build on top of these until you’ve got a good working “toolbox” of language.
Along the way, Michel Thomas explains a few interesting grammar points, but it’s not a huge focus of the course.
You’ll feel like you’re learning Italian a lot, quickly. By the end of this course, you might even be able to hold very basic conversations with Italian speakers and understand some of what those speakers are saying.
Don’t go into this expecting to be totally fluent by the end. You won’t be. But you’ll feel like it’s totally doable. And that’s the key: It gives you the confidence to keep going.
As much as I like Michel Thomas, he’s not everybody’s cup of tea. He is not a native Italian speaker, so his pronunciation is sometimes a bit hard to understand.
The latest version of the course is also only available on CD, which seems a little old-fashioned.
Indeed, the best app to learn Italıan should be made by a native speaker.
You might complain about textbooks and software and all that boring grammar stuff, but you do need it if you want to speak Italian well.
I just don’t recommend overloading yourself with it right at the beginning, when you’re just getting started. This stuff requires memorization and repetition.
An Italian teacher can help give you the big picture or with things you don’t understand, but I recommend using another tool to drill it into your memory when you have a spare ten minutes here and there.
Rocket has good explanations of the grammar points, lots of nice audio examples, and a range of tools to test yourself over and over again.
It can keep track of your progress in learning Italian, remember the things you have trouble with, and it’s a bit more fun to use than a textbook (and you can even use it to create your own flashcards).
Rocket is another audio course that does roughly the same thing as Michel Thomas. It has a bit more fluff and corny jokes, but it’s more structured.
There’s a native Italian-speaking presenter, and no annoying “students” getting everything wrong all the time.
Rocket Italian is also available for digital download, so you don’t have to wait for shipping, and you can listen to it on any device.
If you end up buying Rocket Italian, there’s not really any need to buy Michel Thomas too. The Rocket audio course will do just fine, and you’ll save a bit of money.
Many language bloggers claim that Rocket Italian is the best app to learn Italıan. While it’s certainly a good product, it’s also supported by high affiliate commissions.
To be honest, I don’t normally recommend Rosetta Stone.
It’s expensive and gimmicky, and the whole concept of “learning like a child” by matching pictures with words and phrases (with no explanation at all) is not applied in the best way.
However, it does make you feel like you’re doing well, and it will probably get you excited about learning more Italian. It will give you some very, very basic Italian vocabulary.
So long as you don’t expect much, you’ll probably be quite pleased. It’s easy to use, anyway.
Many might think that Rosetta Stone is the best app to learn Italian because of its massive marketing campaign over time.
However, there are many apps for learning Italian that do more or less the same thing and are more affordable.
If you have a copy of this already, go ahead and use it at this stage. But if you’re looking to spend money on something, you’re better off with any of the other options I’ve mentioned above.
Many language bloggers claim that’s the best app to learn Italian only because they get a generous commission on sales.
Skype lessons with a tutor on Italki
The best app to learn Italian is a native speaker. I mean, a human!
After all, you want to learn Italian to speak with people, right?
Once you’ve got that enthusiasm and confidence built up, and you’re less likely to just give up, the next step is to start learning from an actual Italian speaker through one-on-one video Italian lessons.
If it sounds too expensive for you… most professional tutors charge between $20 – $30/hour, and I recommend you get one hour of tutoring a week. Yes, it will add up over time. But it’s worth it for a few reasons…
It gets you speaking and using your Italian. By far the biggest problem with learning online or at home is that you don’t tend to speak out loud as much as you need to.
Using a tutor means there’s no escape from speaking out loud — so you’ll end up with much better pronunciation.
It keeps you on track. The second biggest problem with learning online or at home is that it’s too easy to skip Italian lessons — nobody is going to notice.
But when you’ve got a tutor booked in once a week, you have someone to answer to.
Taking lessons with Italian native speakers and using the best apps for learning Italian at the same time can boost your progress. Studying Italian alone can be frustrating.
A tutor can tailor lessons to your skills and learning style, or tweak lessons to focus on the things you need the most.
Sometimes you need something explained in a few different ways before you can “get” it. You don’t get that kind of help from a textbook or software!
It’s insurance against giving up. Remember I said that the biggest risk is that you’ll just give up?
An Italian teacher is your insurance against that. They’ll keep you motivated, hold you accountable, and help you get unstuck when you just don’t get something.
Italki is the largest one-on-one tutoring service out there, and you can find tutors of varying quality for practically any language under the sun.
Italki gives you the chance to connect with Italian speakers and you can schedule Italian lessons in the shape of skype conversations to practice your spoken Italian.
There are a huge number of registered teachers, tutors, or language partners to choose who you can send a message to or book a lesson with.
This app is perfect for language learners who just want the opportunity to practice. It is very easy to use and very easy to find what you are looking for.
There is also an excellent notebook feature where you can submit something you have written and a native speaker will review and correct it.
There are similar platforms to find language tutors, but Italki is the best.
Available free for IOS on the App Store, for Android on Google Play, and online.
Here’s my review of Italki.
Duolingo: best app to learn Italian for free
If you’re strapped for cash, you could try the Duolingo app. It’s probably the best free language learning app around.
Duolingo is a very famous app that is very fun and easy to use and quickly improves your language level using effective and well-designed activities.
The user can choose a daily goal for the number of minutes that they want to use the app every day (5-20 minutes) which helps to minimize the risk of students becoming overwhelmed and giving up on studying Italian.
For intermediate and more advanced students there is a test at the start to establish their level of Italian.
In the app, there is a large selection of Italian vocabulary and grammar about subjects like clothing, work, places to go, and education.
There are also sections that help to teach Italian grammar, including the tenses of verbs and the subjunctive, something which you can’t find in other applications.
Another attraction of Duolingo is that it offers you the opportunity to improve your pronunciation with specific exercises where you have to repeat phrases that can be corrected, but you can also skip this section if you are somewhere where you cannot talk loudly.
However, you learn better if you speak.
Duolingo is available on IOS, for Android on Google Play, and also online.
Duolingo is the best free app to learn Italian.
Lingodeer is a valid alternative to Duolingo.
It teaches the target language through lots of exercises. It’s excellent for beginners.
The interface is pleasant but not distracting. It seems to improve on the weaknesses of other apps.
They also include plenty of grammar explanations and opportunities to review what you’ve studied.
While Duolingo is available for free, Lingodeer is available at a reasonable price.
As with Duolingo, you still need another resource to develop oral communication skills.
Babbel is a free app where you can choose your level of Italian to suit your needs based on whether you are a beginner or at a more advanced level.
Babbel is a very widely used app thanks to its simple and easy-to-use layout, which includes a lot of images to help you remember words as well as realistic dialogues to complete on a variety of different subjects like Italian culture and the world of work.
One drawback of Babbel is that the free version only includes the first lesson of each course, after which there is a subscription fee: 1-month costs €9.95, three months cost €19.95, six months €33.90 and a year €59.40.
Even though there are other apps that are just as fun and effective, this Babbel app has managed to attract the interest of hundreds of thousands of users, and this should not be overlooked.
It might not be the best app to learn Italian, but if you like Duolingo, you can do extra practice with Babbel.
Babbel is available for IOS and Android.
This is the best app to learn Italian with flashcards.
However, I don’t recommend memorizing common Italian words with flashcards.
Another one of the best apps for learning Italian is Memrise. Even though it has a slightly strange concept it can be fun for younger students and is a very useful resource for Italian students of every age and level.
Memrise is designed like a game where students have to fight off an alien invasion by learning Italian.
Apart from the concept, the layout of the app is very clear and easy to understand, with vocabulary lessons followed by multiple-choice exercises, pictures, and texts as well as conversations between native speakers.
If you can look beyond its slightly strange concept, Memrise could be a perfect addition to your Italian learning journey.
A drawback of this app is perhaps that it only teaches 3 words a lesson.
This could become a bit boring for students who already have slightly more advanced knowledge of the Italian language.
This is the best app to learn Italian only if you’re into flashcards.
Memrise is available on IOS and Android with Google Play.
Mondly is an app particularly useful for learning Italian verbs in a very easy way thanks to its simple and clear explanation of each different aspect.
It also has a very useful system for learning vocabulary, using a combination of new words and longer texts to maximize the amount a student can remember.
The app can also be adapted for students of every level of Italian, beginners, intermediate, and more advanced by using vocabulary chosen by the student themselves (family, cultures of different countries, food, and drink) and more simple or complex grammar points.
Another useful aspect of this app is that you can save your progress every day and so you can see your progress as you use the app, helping to keep you motivated.
A truly unique aspect of Mondly is the idea that users can learn Italian online together, you can compete with friends, and even strangers who use the app, in the different games and activities!
One drawback of Mondly is that it is only free for a trial period (free version), after which you have to pay, although considering the importance of the content $20 a year doesn’t seem too much.
Mondly is available for IOS on the App Store or for Android on Google Play.
Mosalingua is an excellent app for students who want to improve their Italian (especially their vocabulary), which has developed its own unique and effective way of teaching Italian words and phrases.
Students begin by choosing the amount of time they want to spend learning Italian every day and then can take a test to establish their Italian level or choose it themselves.
The app consists of learning 5 words or phrases at a time from flashcards before using different methods to try and memorize them, students can learn some of the basics of the language together with words and phrases that are essential to be able to live in Italy.
One very useful feature of this app is that you can choose the words or phrases that you want to learn, giving a more student-directed learning experience.
A potential drawback is that the free version only teaches a limited number of Italian words, premium membership costs $4.99, but it has 3000 flashcards to learn, all accompanied by an audio track from a native speaker and so perhaps it is worth it.
Available for IOS on the App Store and for Android on Google Play.
FluentU is a popular platform for language learning that uses real-world videos from Youtube and adds interactive captions.
I like the design of the platform, but there’s a major lack of interesting content.
Most videos last under one-minute long with a huge number being commercials. For me, FluentU falls far short of its potential.
FluentU’s lesson library and video player have a great design. Unfortunately, sample sentences use text-to-speech instead of native recordings.
That’s not ideal for learning Italian pronunciation. You should listen to native Italian speakers.
It’s great to be able to more easily use real-world videos to study a language. A subscription gives you access to all of the languages on FluentU.
The picture dictionary is pretty cool and something I haven’t seen elsewhere.
It might be the best app to learn Italian with real-world material.
Recap: the top 14 apps to learn Italian
The best way to learn Italian is a combination of these tools:
- “Ripeti con me!”, absolutely the best app to learn Italian
- Pimsleur audio lessons, the best app to learn Italian for total beginners
- Duolingo, the best app to learn Italian for free
- Skype lessons with a personal tutor on Italki
- Rocket Italian
- Michel Thomas total Italian audio lessons
- Rosetta Stone
Let me repeat that, in my opinion, the best Italian language app is Ripeti Con Me because it covers the most overlooked skill – speaking.
More broadly, the best apps for learning Italian are those that prompt you to speak.
Learn Italian app equals speak Italian with an app.
This is the best app to learn Italian
Did you find the best app to learn Italian that works for you?
Did you know that with some language learning apps you can learn Italian while doing other things?
Think of the activities you do on a daily basis at home: having breakfast, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry…
These might keep you busy physically, but your mind is free to study!
How? With audio lessons that don’t need a visual aid like Ripeti con me!
Not only does it make your time more meaningful, but it also makes house chores less tedious.
Take the first lesson today!
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!