Glossika Italian ultimate review: effective, but the audio course was better

Key Takeaways

Discover the ins and outs of learning Italian with Glossika! This in-depth review covers everything from the effectiveness of spaced repetition to the app’s transition from audio to digital, and whether it’s worth your time and money.

  • Spaced Repetition: Glossika uses a spaced repetition system to help you internalize grammar and pronunciation. It’s like a gym for your language muscles, requiring daily “workouts” for your brain.
  • Real-Life Conversations: Expect to dive into real-life conversations with Glossika. It’s not about rote vocabulary; it’s about learning phrases and sentences in context to boost your speaking confidence.
  • Audio Focus: The original Glossika shone with its audio-focused approach. Although it’s now an app, you can still maximize learning by focusing on the audio and mimicking native speakers.
  • Not for Total Beginners: If you’re just starting, Glossika might be overwhelming. It’s best suited for those with a basic understanding of Italian who are ready to level up their skills.
  • Supplemental Learning: While Glossika can turbocharge your Italian, it’s not a standalone course. Pair it with traditional learning for a well-rounded approach.
  • Subscription Model: Glossika has moved to a subscription model. While this means ongoing costs, it also offers access to all languages and keeps track of your progress.
  • Price Consideration: Glossika isn’t cheap, but you can test the waters with a free trial. If you’re serious about learning, the investment might just be worth it.
  • Alternatives: Missing the old Glossika? Check out Ripeti con Me! for a similar style with improvements tailored to Italian learners.

Quick facts

What makes Glossika's original method effective for serious learners?

Glossika's original audio course was highly effective due to its syntax-focused method and spaced repetition format, which helped learners internalize grammar patterns and native-speed pronunciation without relying on traditional grammar rules.

Why might Glossika's current app version be less effective for speaking practice?

The transition to an app diluted its focus on audio and speaking, incorporating additional features that can distract from the core training, which was previously centered on repetition of native audio.

What is a unique benefit of Glossika's spaced repetition system?

Glossika's spaced repetition system, known as the Mass Sentence Method, efficiently reinforces sentence structures by gradually increasing intervals between repetitions, aiding long-term memorization without the need for conscious memorization.

How does Glossika handle different language structures and cultural contexts?

Glossika standardizes its core material across all languages, which can overlook cultural nuances and specific language structures, such as gender-specific conjugations in Italian, reducing the local flavor in its lessons.

What are the pros of Glossika's language variety and subscription model?

Glossika offers over 60 languages and allows subscribers to access all of them, providing a versatile learning tool, especially for polyglots or those interested in minority languages not commonly covered elsewhere.

What is a significant drawback of Glossika's pricing?

Glossika's subscription model is relatively expensive at $29.95 per month, which can be prohibitive for users interested in learning only one language, especially compared to its original one-time purchase model.

Why might total beginners struggle with Glossika Italian?

Glossika is not ideal for absolute beginners due to the lack of foundational grammar and vocabulary explanations, making it better suited for lower intermediate learners who have basic knowledge of the target language.

How does Glossika's user interface cater to non-tech-savvy users?

Glossika's straightforward design and user-friendly interface ensure that even those who are not tech-savvy can navigate the platform easily and start learning quickly after familiarization.

What aspect of Glossika's training method ensures practical language use?

Glossika emphasizes learning through context and sentence-level practice, enabling learners to use vocabulary and grammar in real-life conversations, enhancing practical speaking and listening skills over rote memorization.

What alternative to Glossika Italian retains the original focus on speaking?

"Ripeti Con Me!" is a recommended alternative that maintains a strong focus on speaking and listening, correcting many of Glossika's weaknesses with accurate, expressive audio and specifically designed Italian lessons.

My Thoughts

Do you want to learn a new language?

Here’s my review of Glossika Italian.

Does it work?

glossika italian app

Italian language learning app based on spaced repetition




The core training is effective, but it lost focus on speaking

When it was an audio course and not an app, it was easy to use and helped me a lot with internalizing grammar patterns and native speed pronunciation.

Their syntax focused method and their spaced repetition format made it a powerful tool in the hands of serious and motivated learners.

However, now that it turned into an app, just like many others, it lost its focus on speaking, which is what made it special.




  • 60+ languages available
  • Spaced repetition works


  • The non-core training distracts from the audio, which is the part that really works
  • It might be overwhelming and confusing to total beginners
  • Occasional poor speaker’s reading and translation
  • The sentences are the same as for all the other languages, which ignores cultural context

Glossika Italian overview

Glossika Italian is a platform that helps you learn a language naturally, much like how children acquire it from an early age.

The method doesn’t include textbook grammar but delivers fluency by using sound patterns in a structured way that’s easy to follow, understand, and memorize.

As you keep practicing, you gradually build up your understanding of grammar without actively studying the rules.

Developed by an American linguist and phonologist, Michael Campbell, it is an audio method based on the so-called “spaced repetition method”.

Glossika Italian is heavily focused on the repetition of real-life conversations, mostly with useful and accurate phrasing.

The system is very clever in that it tracks your progress and can adjust the speed to keep pace with your ability.

It teaches how to use a foreign language versus simply just spitting out vocabulary and grammar.

On this site, you will be given whole phrases and entire sentences so that you can learn in context instead of picking up words or grammar rules in isolation.

If you’re looking for a practical way to improve your ability to create correct sentences on the fly and naturally speak your Italian, then this is a learning tool worth considering.

It functions a lot like a gym. It’s built around successive training sessions which will require you to “work out” speaking and listening skills, as well as your reading and writing skills.

This system builds your speaking confidence at a rapid pace, gets you used to a native voice, and challenges you throughout.

I would recommend Glossika Italian to all of you who have spent many hours reading, listening, and maybe even writing in Italian.

If you find yourself hesitating in mid-sentence and you want to feel confident and fluent, this is great.

It uses a highly effective research-grounded method called spaced repetition. By listening to native speakers and repeating what they say, you are supposed to pick up the grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, and sentence structure naturally.

As such, the resource is unsuitable for beginners, and it is much more geared towards lower intermediate learners as you need the basics before starting with this product.

There is a heavy emphasis on repetition, and while there was a lot of audio from the native speaker, it felt that the accompanying material was a bit haphazardly put together.

An intermediate speaker would pick up some new vocabulary, improve their speaking rhythm and confidence, learn different sentences and generally improve their knowledge.

Perhaps more than other learning resources, you’ll need to supplement Glossika Italian with other resources to fill in the gaps.

The audio is a good resource to learn Italian in your car.

glossika spaced interval repetition

Parliamo italiano quasi ogni giorno.

Spaced interval repetition

Glossika Italian is built on a spaced repetition system called Mass Sentence Method. This means that old sentences will be shown to you again based on how well you remembered them the last time you saw them.

This is when you see sentences repeatedly with gradually increasing intervals so that you can memorize them for longer.

It tapers off quickly. You might find it scary because you won’t really memorize all the content.

But you don’t need to memorize it. Today you’ll learn “She doesn’t have a car”. The word “car” might be hard for you. But next week you’ll hear “Is the car broken?” and later you’ll hear again “I can’t find my car keys”. Like in real life, you’ll hear words again and again.

This entire process is automated. All you have to do is rate how easy or heard a sentence or training session was. The system will take care of the rest.

This method of review is extremely efficient. You don’t have to waste your time reviewing things you already know. This lets you put your effort where it counts the most.

The native speaker’s audio sentences are the main focus. Here, an English speaker says a sentence, and after a short pause, an Italian native speaker says it in Italian.

With the heavy amount of repetition, you are meant to intuitively pick up the language, memorizing the various sentences as you go.

These aren’t just random sentences, of course: its spaced repetition algorithm ensures that you will hear the sentences in such a way that you naturally internalize their grammatical structures without having to make a big effort.

The system likens mastering a language to working out. Each repetition of a sentence counts as a rep, just as if you were lifting weights.

It is designed to hear common phrases spoken naturally by native speakers and master them in a structured way. The program is designed around doing one training session per day.

The caveat is that it needs to be explained. Most people have gone through what I believe to be a defective education when it comes to foreign languages.

To truly benefit from this method, you need to be open to having your entire educational experience and preconceived ideas about how languages are learned and shattered.

Taking some time to familiarize yourself with its unique approach is vital if you want to get value out of it.

Frustration with a unique method often boils down to impatience and wanting immediate results.

When we acquire our first language as babies, we don’t study grammar. We can’t read. The only thing we have is our ears, along with constant, daily exposure to natural language all around us.

Eventually, we begin to repeat what we hear – mostly in chunks or patterns (words and phrases).

In the very beginning, we don’t repeat very accurately either. It mostly sounds like gibberish, and then over time, through repeated exposure and practice, it gets clearer and more defined. This is basically what Glossika Italian is doing.

Now, compare that to many other language learning products, and you realize that what they’re doing is offering distractions while labeling them as features.

Since sitting for hours and trying to cram huge amounts of content is detrimental, this program has its own precision focus each day on a limited amount of material.

Its frequent repetition of limited content makes you remember things. That small, focused study session becomes ingrained in your permanent long-term memory.

In an age where we want all the answers now, this is a hard aspect to grasp for many people!

According to its official website, by doing thousands of reps, you can reach various milestones in your journey:

  • 25,000 Reps: Speak sentences with natural flow and accent
  • 50,000 Reps: Engage in casual conversations at the speed of native speakers
  • 75,000 Reps: Hone your skills in specialized topics
  • 100,000 Reps: Mastery level where you can say just about anything

The average user would become bored after 50 reps, so even with daily practice, it would take 3.5 years to reach the first stage. That’s not encouraging!

Impara l'italiano ascoltando e ripetendo frasi.

How Glossika covers different language skills

Memorizing rules has never let anyone achieve fluency. Only mass amounts of practice with comprehensible input have.

By focusing on language at the sentence level, this program makes it easier to learn several things that are not easy by themselves: pronunciation, syntax, vocabulary, and grammar.


In languages like English, our words undergo a lot of pronunciation and intonation changes when words fit into sentences.

These things may be easier for European students, but for Asian students, it can be really difficult.

This is also true about Chinese for English speakers, for example.

The pronunciations and tones of individual words change once they go into a sentence. By following the intonation of a sentence, it’s much easier to sound native rather than trying to say every word with its own tone.


The syntax is not an easy subject, and there are so many rules to memorize.

I find it easiest when I can recognize the parts of speech in a sentence, such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and just pay attention to what order native speakers put them in.

Some languages like German and Chinese have ‘Subject – Verb – Object’ word order but are pretty strict about moving that order around in certain circumstances.

If you don’t pay attention or try to create your own sentences with what you think is intuitive, it’ll create bad habits.

Knowing which words go where in a given sentence is called syntax and is the primary thing Glossika strives to teach.

Glossika has determined which syntactical patterns are the most relevant to the level you’re at and applicable in many other contexts beyond the lesson.

By getting the syntax down, you’ve made it possible to use that syntax with different words in a multitude of different contexts.

In contrast, most courses focus on teaching a mixture of grammar and vocabulary. These are important, but above all, you need to know how to use both of these elements to create a correct sentence that really unlocks your conversational abilities.

Most language courses and products emphasize the acquisition of words as the foundation of learning. If you look at just about any product on the market, it includes an emphasis on memorizing lists of words (usually by topic).

vocabulary glossika italian review


Vocabulary only really takes on meaning when it is used appropriately in a sentence or paired with other words, known as collocations.
Consider the word ‘have’ in these examples:

  • Have him do it. (causative)
  • I’ll have a coffee. (consume/eat/drink)
  • Have you heard from him? (perfect verb)

None of these uses of ‘have’ actually have the meaning that we associate with ‘have’. So, if you directly translate the way you use ‘have,’ it makes no sense in another language.

That’s why most dictionaries are not that useful except for collocation-built dictionaries made from databases.


As I said above, memorizing rules, especially grammar rules, does no good for anybody trying to become fluent. Grammar is only useful for those who have already acquired a language.

The only thing we need to be aware of when starting a language is its nature. Knowing that declensions and conjugations exist is important.

In the beginning, we can be ignorant of what all those grammatical details are and just be aware of them as we encounter them.

Impara l'italiano praticando con madrelingua.

Glossika Italian placement test

To gauge your knowledge, you first undergo a placement test which serves to determine what level you should start at.

This will test your current level in Italian by having you listen to the audio of a native speaker saying a phrase or sentence.

You will simply input whether it was easy or difficult for you to understand the given phrase. This short test will help determine the best material to show you in the training sessions.

When you sign up, you tell the system what you’re interested in. For example, you might be interested in “Travel”, or “Social”.

For the best training experience, the platform lets you choose topics that you find relevant and interesting. In total, there are 26 topics that you can choose from.

If you turn a topic on, phrases about that topic will appear in your training sessions. If that topic is off, you won’t see any sentences about that subject.

Glossika Italian tests you by giving you ten sentences to listen to, and they stop at some point if it´s clear that you can´t answer enough of the questions correctly.

Once you have been placed at the appropriate level, you can then select the different topics that you are interested in. After that, you´re good to go so simply click on the ´Start Session´ button which will take you to your first lot of sentences.

Then the system gives you a quick review of how you can alter your preferences and navigate your way around the platform.

Play the sentence and choose if it’s easy or hard to understand, and repeat it fluently. Then, you can continue to a session with phrases for speakers from your level.

At the end of each session, you can leave feedback and choose if the lesson was too easy, just right, or too hard.

What you choose will affect the type of sentences you’ll see in the next session. For instance, if you choose “too easy”, in the next session, similar sentences will be eliminated and you’ll practice with longer and more complex sentences.

Navigating the Settings

Glossika Italian allows you to adjust the sessions to your needs whenever you want. Let’s take a look at the most relevant settings to see what’s possible.

When you click on the Settings button, you’ll find the following features:

  • Interval Between Sentences and Speed. This allows you to control the interval between every sentence and the speed at which they are presented.
  • If this feature is on, it records the way you repeat the sentences, and the recording will be used to improve your algorithm.
  • Level and Topics. It’s also possible to manually adjust your level, change topics, and take a new test to measure your level again.
  • Daily reminder. I like this feature and need it considering just how many things I have in my life that way saying I need to do more of, such as my music lessons and a mountain of books I have to read.
  • Choose for transcription in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Do you prefer to practice using the phonetic alphabet? There’s an option to switch between text and IPA.
  • Add a daily reminder. You can set a daily reminder for when you want to practice. It will send you email notifications so that you won’t forget.

Main training

glossika italian does it work

Glossika´s approach focuses on students listening to ´Glossika Mass Sentences´ – these sentences progress in difficulty and the intention is that users pick up the grammar, pronunciation, and sentence structure through spaced repetition.

Intended for people with not too much time on their hands, they can be listened to almost anywhere, and learners can usually complete the different sentence sessions in less than half an hour.

There are lots of different subjects covered over the various audio sections and there are around 3000 sentences included. Your progress is tracked by the number of ´reps´ (repetitions) you have done.

This type of training is the bread and butter of the program. You are shown a phrase in English along with the audio. Then a native speaker says the equivalent phrase in Italian. You simply repeat and mimic what you hear the native speaker says.

Again, you can edit this in the settings tab and change or remove the English sentences entirely, change the speed and adjust the interval between sentences.

This section helps you improve your speaking. You see and hear a sentence in Italian and have to repeat it out loud in the same way. The translation of the sentence is shown above.

You can skip sentences by clicking on the smiley face at the bottom to indicate that it is too easy.

It also helps to read the text that pops up below. You can turn off the translation, change it to IPA, etc.

To the top left corner, you will see how many reps you have left to do as well as the approximate amount of time that it will take to complete.

You can also turn on ´recording´ in your preferences, and after both sentences are said, you can then repeat the sentence in Italian.

Once you have completed the session a box will pop up asking you for your feedback.

Here, you can tell Glossika if it was too easy, at the right level or if it was too hard. You can also evaluate each sentence and give your feedback on how you found them.

Glossika Italian feels that you will take sentences in better and remember them for much longer if you sleep on the information you have just taken in. Consequently, they advise coming back the next day to continue learning.

When you next click on the start session, you will find the sentences you have already learned along with some new ones.

Through spaced repetition, you will find yourself being able to remember the sentences a lot easier.

They’ll become sort of automatic in that you’ll be able to instantly recall them.

While waiting for the next day to come, there are a couple of other ways for you to practice on Glossika.

Other training


First up is the typing section. Here, you simply type what is said in Italian.

Somewhat strange, however, the sentence is already written there for you so you can just simply copy it down. I suppose it shows you the spelling of everything, but otherwise, it seems a bit pointless.

Annoyingly enough, no accents are provided to you on the platform, so whatever you write will be marked incorrect when learning Italian, where they feature heavily.

The typing section helps improve your writing. You see a sentence in Italian that you have to rewrite. By rewriting the sentences, you can correct spelling and also learn how to use the punctuation marks properly.

As implied by the section’s name, Typing asks you to type into the box the same sentence that’s spoken or flashed on your screen.

If you’re taking a course with a non-Romanized alphabet, such as Thai, you should be ready with the corresponding keyboard.


The dictation section is almost exactly the same just without the sentence already appearing written before you.

Do you remember when in primary school, teachers were reading a text, and you had to write along and put the punctuation marks in the correct places in a sentence? That’s also possible in Italian in the dictation section.

In this exercise, you listen in English and then in Italian. After listening, you try to write what you heard. You hit play and write down the sentences that you hear. This helps you improve your listening and writing.

Dictation is the no-show, audio-only version of Typing.

A box is provided where you’re expected to type the recorded sentence. Based on what I hear, I think the sentences used are the same in both sections.

glossika italian review choice


After this follows the ´choice´ section, which is useless as far as I can tell, you see a short sentence written in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) and you have to match it to the Italian version.

I didn’t really see a use for this feature, and I’m sure the vast majority of people won’t either.

Choice means multiple choice. Four options are given, and you need to match the given sentence to the correct answer.


The translation section shows you a sentence in English, and you have to write its translation below. This can help you recap and expand your vocabulary.

With this type of exercise, you simply listen to a phrase or sentence in your native English and see how accurately you can translate it into Italian.

Fill in

The final section is the ´fill in´ bit where you type the word that is missing in the sentence after having listened to the audio. Many of the things they make you fill in are really simple words.

Fill In is the same as Typing, only that not all words of the sentences are shown.

In very short sentences, though, the whole sentence may not be displayed, leaving you to fill in the correct answer and rely on the fundamentals you have already learned.

Glossika Italian Pros

  • Focus is on learning, not gamification
  • gimmicks you don’t need.
  • Gets results
  • 60+ languages available, including many that are rarely covered by other resources
  • The subscription gives you access to all of the languages
  • It will force you to speak which will improve your confidence
  • You can adjust the difficulty level of each section anytime I want to
  • It uses native-sounding sentences used in everyday conversations

Practical approach

The program’s focus on teaching syntax makes it ideal for increasing your ability to have conversations in a foreign language.  If you work through the training sessions daily as they were designed, you will gain practical working knowledge.

This is something few other courses or programs can boast. If you work your way through Glossika you will see improvement in your abilities where they matter most: in real-life conversations.

Holistic method

With Glossika Italian, you will use listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. This is great because it helps you to see the language as a whole entity, versus a bunch of unrelated parts.

A well-rounded ability in each of these aspects is what will bring you to fluency.

Since each section treats each particular skill as separate, you can focus entirely on your weakest skill or what you want to improve first.

For example, if you’re learning Italian for a holiday, then you don’t need to have a huge vocabulary or good writing skills.

You’ll mainly focus on your speaking. The Listen & Repeat section can help you work on this skill without distracting you with exercises that you don’t need to do.

The system allows you to adjust the settings, assess your level, choose the topics, and review the sessions. This helps you construct a program that fits your level and needs and allows you to practice at your own speed.

glossika learn any language

You can learn almost any language on this platform

At the time of writing (2020), there are over 60 languages. And they’re all included in the membership. If you want to learn one that other apps don’t offer, it can probably help you out.

But what makes it really interesting is that you can also adjust the source language. For example, once you have mastered Spanish, you can use that to tackle German or Chinese.

This way you can continue to improve your skills while you’re learning a third language. Or, if your native language is Arabic, you can study Chinese without having to go through a third medium. Unlimited combinations!

Besides that, this app offers a lot of minority languages that you’re unlikely to find other programs for. Some notable examples include Welsh, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Catalan, and many more!

However, not all translations and audio recordings are perfect. This is something that needs improvement. Fortunately, they are constantly working on it. Their team has already re-recorded a lot of the audio and is constantly trying to improve its app.

User Experience

As I’ve mentioned, the design is pretty straightforward and it is certainly easy to use. If you are someone who is not very tech-savvy and easily confused by lots of different menu options, you will find your way around Glossika Italian in just a few minutes.

Even though there are many settings, you won’t get lost on the platform. Even if it’s your first time on the platform, you’ll soon figure out what to tap on to start a session and where to find a certain setting.

The system “remembers” where you stopped the last time. The sessions can be very long sometimes because of the repetitions. So, if you want to take a break, then it’s possible to continue at a later time.

You can also find answers to almost all questions in their Help Center. The Blog, on the other hand, provides you with some pretty good language-related articles.

Glossika Italian Cons

  • Can be boring – especially at the beginning
  • Not for beginners, unless your target language has similarities to one that you already know
  • Some translations could be improved
  • As all of the languages cover the exact same material, the diversity of the languages and cultures is reduced to a simple formula with no cultural context involved in their teaching
  • It lost its focus on audio when it turned into an app

The course content is the same in all Glossika language courses

These sentences are indicative of specific syntactic patterns. So, when you focus on communicating these ideas and recognizing the syntactic patterns, combined with the daily training, you’re essentially acquiring the language naturally.

This system is a giant database of sentences in 60+ languages. So the sentences are all “standard”. But this standardization means we lose a bit of local flavor.

For example, Italian verbs conjugate differently for men and women.

It seems weird to just have one sentence in English and then have multiple sentence options only on the written card.

Or, for another example, when people or places have names, it’d be more appropriate to talk about Mario and Maria in Italy and Non and Lucy in an English course.

Simply put, while it is fantastic that there are so many languages available, the fact that the core material is all the same and simply reworked into different languages completely disregards the cultural context.

Glossika is not for total beginners

Generally speaking, this method isn’t for beginners.

However, it can work for beginners if their target language is close to their native language.

While not suitable for absolute beginners, lower intermediates could use the resource to familiarize themselves with new sentences using this intuitive approach.

As great as this product is, I wouldn’t recommend it for someone just starting. Start with a textbook and learn all the basics, or you’ll be overwhelmed.

Here’s what I think you should know before you start using it:

    • How verbs are conjugated, at least in most common forms
  • Sentence structure
  • Pronouns and prepositions
  • Core grammar, like how plurals are made
  • A core vocabulary of maybe a few hundred words

At this point (probably two weeks in) you’ll start to feel like you want to hear how sentences are actually made. This is where this product shines.

It’s a supplement, not a core course

The program is designed and best used as a supplement. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t quite cut it as a comprehensive course.

I completely agree with the company’s emphasis on syntax over grammar. It’s something I’ve tried to emulate in my own regime.

However, once you get into the finer points of grammar it can be helpful to have some explicit grammar lessons or explanations.

In Italian, for example, it can be hard for a leaner to grasp the subjunctive mood. It could be beneficial to read up on the grammar rules behind it.

Besides that, if you were only using Glossika Italian and nothing else, you might find yourself a fluent parrot rather than a flexible conversationalist.

My advice would be to pair this method with a conventional course. Ensure you read the transcripts and follow up with grammar points that don’t make sense.

This product is, on paper, purported to be the only tool you need. You will definitely learn a lot through it. However, it’s not all you need.

The best way you can learn is still with a teacher.

glossika italian review serious language learner

You need to be a serious language learner

If you like language learning apps with a lot of gamification, then Glossika Italian is not for you. It is more suitable for serious users.

The app has kind of a traditional feel to it. It’s a rather boring process.

Actually, to a serious learner like me, this is a pro, not a con.

It is almost impossible to find a language learning app today that does not put gamification at the forefront of the process.

Gamification can certainly help when it comes to motivation, but it also disguises what the real reward of learning is.

The real reward is not a stupid-looking hat for your childish avatar or collecting coins that ultimately prove useless. It’s the results you achieve throughout the learning process.

Not just fluency, which, of course, is the ultimate reward, but also smaller periodic improvements that each gives you a bit more access to the world of your new language.

This program doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other learning platforms; those that make you click around excitedly looking for new things to discover.

This can be a distraction to the learning process and encourage you to just jump to the next thing all the time.

Yes, they also added a bit of gamification to their app, but it’s minimal and in the background. The focus is on learning, not on playing a game.

Unlike resources like Duolingo, you won’t find any of the gamification or external motivators to keep you going. You’ll need to motivate yourself.

These lessons aren’t particularly exciting, so if you easily lose motivation, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle to complete the lessons.

Fortunately, you quickly notice that the method does work. Slowly but surely, you’ll start to be able to say things. In other words, you achieve exactly what you’re studying a new language for; better results.

And because you gain that real reward – instead of sunglasses for a virtual avatar – you will automatically become more motivated.

The IPA is useless

If you don’t know what IPA stands for, that’s normal. It means International Phonetic Alphabet. You don’t need to know, anyway.

It’s a notation system made to represent any sound occurring in human languages. It’s an impressive scholarly endeavor, but it’s only useful to scholars.

The fact that the company stresses out IPA is indicative of the lack of understanding of the average user by its creator who is a linguist (this mismatch is also reflected in the pricing system).

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How to Learn Languages Fast

You won’t figure out how to pronounce words by looking at obscure signs or charts, but by listening to native speakers and mimicking them.

Personally, I studied 11 languages and never felt the need to use them.

Thus, I find the IPA feature useless and distracting. Just disable it.

Lost focus on audio

Speaking and listening are the two most difficult aspects of learning a foreign language.

Most students can’t get used to not using their eyes, whether it’s looking at a text or wanting to know how to spell a word. We need to train ourselves to become independent of these crutches.

Some students have studied English for over ten years and yet still can’t make a sentence in English. They can’t communicate.

However, once they let go of the written word, their pronunciation and fluency really take off.

If you use new phrases or vocabulary and embed them into new phrases that again will be repeated for a few days, you eventually train the brain into using new structures quite effortlessly.

You could achieve this effect with the focus on audio in the old version of Glossika, which came in MP3 format only, without extra drills, apps, badges, and all the other distracting frills.

I said that you “could” because the MP3 version is not available anymore. A couple of years ago, the company jumped on the trendy app wagon and now it’s just another language learning app.

The exercise games are nothing compared with regular old-style Glossika Italian sessions. I have the impression that they were added at a later stage to give in to the ever-present pressure to expand an app.

But we need more specialty apps, not a complete learning solution that tries to be everything to everyone.

The more and bells and whistles that are added to an app, the weaker it becomes.

Likewise, I hope they can resist the pressure to add more gamification to the app and continue to keep the app tailored primarily to serious learners. That way, Glossika will retain its unique character, and probably have success for a longer time.

My advice is to hide the sentence script from the screen and only rely on audio. In August 2019, the system added the “Hands-Free Listening Mode” to play Glossika Italian audio files passively while driving, commuting, walking, etc. That helps.

However, I doubt that anyone without enough successful records in language learning to appreciate the difference will do that. The temptation to look at the text is too strong, especially when you’re used to ineffective study methods.

focus glossika learn languages

Subscription model

Glossika Italian used to be a downloadable package of MP3s and a PDF with the sentences script. You paid once and were free to use it forever.

Now, like many others (e.g. Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur), they’ve gone the route of turning it into a subscription-based, interactive SaaS product (web app).

This means that instead of paying a one-time price for the book and audio physically delivered to you, you obtain ongoing access to their online web app with a monthly subscription fee ($30 per month or $25 for the annual option upfront at the time of this writing).

Two major benefits arise out of taking the SaaS model:

  • The software tracks your progress and keeps you up to date on that progress
  • One membership gives you access to all languages (this won’t really benefit you if you’re only studying one, however)
  • You get access to exercise games (which I find unnecessary, at least)

Two disadvantages that this model has:

  • If you cancel, you lose access
  • With all the extra features, it’s just not the special tool it used to be anymore

Inappropriate pricing system

Glossika Italian is one of the most expensive apps out there at $29.95 a month month-to-month or $299 for the year. Judging from that, many people feel that it’s too expensive.

As an old-style Glossika aficionado, I wouldn’t say that it’s absolutely overpriced because the original method works very well (if you take it seriously).

However, what you get now is not the old good audio course, but a bloated app.

  1. It has unnecessary extra features that water down the effect of the core training.
  2. The subscription gives access to all the 60+ languages. But, who needs that? The average user only wants to learn one or two.

Thus, I’d make it cheaper, for just one language: the audio course used to cost $30 for a whole package. This was when it was MP3s.

Now it’s $30 a month but for all languages. I think $10/month for one language would make it more popular.

Anyway, you can get a free week’s trial to see if you like the content and style.

It accepts all major debit and credit cards. It also lets you cancel or change a plan at any time, so no strings attached. Risk-free.

Included in the packages are professional native speaker recordings, a weekly progress report, professional pronunciation transcriptions, unlimited reps for all the languages that they cover, full access to extended learning tools, and unlimited offline downloads.

As a subscriber, you will get unlimited access to the native speaker recordings which are the main focus of each lesson as well as the accompanying sections that complement them.

All these features for every language available on their platform.

Conclusion: an effective tool, but it was better as an audio course

Italian language audio course review Glossika

In a market over-saturated with language learning tools, courses, and apps, Glossika‘s audio courses brought something unique and valuable to the table.

Their syntax-focused method and their spaced repetition format made it a powerful tool in the hands of serious and motivated learners.

When it was an audio course and not an app, it was easy to use and helped me a lot with internalizing grammar patterns and native speed pronunciation.

I used it a lot while in the gym on the bicycle or treadmill so it was easy to incorporate it into my daily routine.

While some may find the price tag a bit high, and others may not like the lack of a traditional course-like structure, this product still stands as a sound option to learn a foreign language.

However, now that it turned into an app just like many others, it has lost its focus on audio. Unfortunately, the old MP3 version is not available anymore.

That’s why now I wouldn’t recommend it more than I recommend any other language-learning app.


Think in Italian vs Glossika

Think in Italian was modeled after the original Glossika courses, but improved on them in many aspects: sentence quantity and quality, speakers’ pronunciation, and course program.

Think in Italian remains an irreplaceable resource for Glossika’s aficionados who miss the focus on speaking it had before it turned into an app like many others.


An alternative to Glossika Italian: Ripeti con me!

italian audio course ripeti con me

Instead of Glossika Italian, I absolutely recommend Ripeti Con Me!” for self-study.

The course style is very similar to its classic audio version but it improves upon a lot of its weaknesses:

  • Correct and expressive audio recordings, without regional accents, speech defects, or robot-like intonation
  • Intelligible speech rate
  • Accurate match of meaning between English and Italian sentences
  • Specifically designed for the Italian language
  • Shorter sentences and lessons
  • Focus on speaking and listening
  • Ease of use

More reviews of Glossika Italian

I’ve used Glossika as a language learner myself. Thus, my review is based on my personal experience. However, I occasionally drew upon other reviews, mostly by fellow polyglots:

I also compared Glossika’s features with other Italian audio courses: Ripeti con me, Pimsleur, and Italianpod101.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions


What is Glossika course?

Glossika is a language learning program that uses an audio-based method to help learners improve their fluency and naturalness in a new language. The program focuses on sentence patterns and aims to help learners acquire the language through repetition and gradually increasing difficulty.

Who is Glossika Italian course for?

Glossika is not for total beginners. However lower intermediates could use the resource to familiarize themselves with new sentences using this intuitive approach.

What makes Glossika Italian course stand out?

The Glossika Italian course stands out because it focuses on teaching Italian through natural sentence patterns and emphasizes speaking and listening skills. Additionally, it offers extensive practice and repetition to help learners internalize the language.

Italian word of the day
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
Follow me to fluency​

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