Italian

Living Language Online Course

Quick Review

2.7 

Summary:

Living Language provides numerous learning materials for multiple languages, including complete and essential courses that come with textbooks and CDs. They also have specialty courses covering business, travel, and several jobs. However, their standard online version isn’t very practical, and it’s difficult to tell if you’re actually learning or simply going through the motions. While the resource might be useful for those who want access to a large vocab list with grammar reading materials, there are better, cheaper options.

Quality

Though the information itself is useful, Living Language’s presentation reads more like a database than an educational/interactive tool.

Thoroughness

Again, a lot of the information is there, but it’s scattered. Additionally, some of that information appears incorrect.

Value

Cheaper options offer the same amount of content with more interactive features.

Price

An annual plan costs $150, and half a year costs $75. Three months is $50 and 1 month is $39.

Languages: American Sign Language, Arabic, Dothraki, Dutch, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, and Vietnamese

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Drops App

Quick Review

Summary:

Drops is a phone app for iPhone and Android that covers 33 languages. Daily games test the user on thousands of vocabulary words, and many of these words are ideal for everyday use. Drops has an entertaining, user-friendly interface, but it also lacks grammar lessons, and it works better for some languages than others. For anyone looking to supplement their vocab lessons, this app is worth considering; however, the free version might be more worthwhile than the paid version.

Quality

Though cute and easy to use, several visuals are hard to distinguish, and some games aren’t too useful for retention.

Thoroughnes

This app won’t help with grammar or verb conjugation. However, it does offer hundreds of unique vocab words.

Value

The free app is a great supplementary tool to help round out your vocabulary, but the paid app doesn’t offer many useful extras.

Price

A monthly subscription costs $9.99, a yearly subscription is $69.99, and a lifetime subscription is $159.99. You can use the app up to five minutes every ten hours for free.

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20 Best Podcasts To Learn Italian In 2020

There are many good podcasts that you can use to improve your listening comprehension skills in Italian. Some resources I’ll mention are aimed specifically at language learners, others are simply podcasts in Italian.

For easier reference, I’ve divided them into free and paid resources for less advanced learners and Italian podcasts for more advanced language users.

You should also check out our post of the best apps for studying Italian.
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Transparent Language

Quick Review

1.8 

Summary:

Transparent Language markets itself as “the most complete language-learning system for independent learners.” While there are lots of different exercises for you to work through in their Essentials Course, I thought that the material wasn’t all that helpful and that it got very repetitive. Although the courses might not be all that useful or in-depth, with over a hundred languages on offer it might be worth checking out if you want to learn the very basics of a more obscure language such as Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen. But, even then, I’d try to find other resources first.

Quality

While the exercises are for the most part well-designed, diverse and easy to use, it is the core material itself that I found lacking.

Thoroughness

I hardly came across any explanations at all; practice was almost exclusively memorizing words and phrases.

Value

I would only consider using if it were free and I was studying a very rare language.

Price

There is a free two-week trial period for you to try it out. Otherwise, it is $24.95 per month or $149.95 for a whole year if you just select one language. If you want access to all of the languages it is then $49.95 per month and $249.95 a year.

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Michel Thomas Method

Quick Review

1.7 

Summary:

One of the most famous language teaching courses out there, Michel Thomas is a household name. The platform advertises itself as “The method that works with your brain” and boasts a teaching method “with no books, exercises, memorizing or homework” in several of its course descriptions. It’s available in 18 languages with courses that have material suitable for absolute beginners. I tried out the French foundation course and found it to be severely lacking and as such cannot recommend it at all. You may, however, have more luck with the other language courses that they offer.

Quality

Very easy to use, and the audios are decent quality, but I found that Michel Thomas’ discouraging manner flustered students, which detracted from the content’s quality in my experience.

Thoroughness

In my opinion, Michel Thomas doesn’t go into much depth and any explanations he offers up are just at a surface level.

Value

I wouldn’t use these even if they were free due to Michel Thomas’ teaching style which ruined the material for me.

Languages: Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Modern Standard), Dutch, French, Greek, German, Hindi, Italian, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Price

There are several different courses available with prices ranging from $11.99 to $100.

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Italy Made Easy

Quick Review

4.8 

Summary:

Italy Made Easy offers incredibly comprehensive Italian courses. Currently, there are four courses available for those at the beginner to intermediate levels. The courses include lots of video lessons, with assignments, quizzes, exercises, and other features to make sure you’re able to actually use the Italian you’ve learned. They’re easily the most thorough Italian courses available.

Quality

It’s a very easy to use and well-structured platform. You’ll get great tips and practice opportunities for all the main language skills.

Thoroughness

Everything is explained thoroughly, occasionally to a fault. The theory is complemented by plenty of exercises that ensure you’re learning the material.

Value

While the courses certainly aren’t cheap, they contain everything you’d need.

Price

Each level costs $300 for lifetime access. For an extra $100, you can upgrade to the VIP version in which a native Italian speaker will check your assignments and give you customized feedback.

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23 Fantastic YouTube Channels For Learning Italian

If you’re learning Italian, you’ll find plenty of podcasts and online courses, but some of the best learning strategies are available for free on YouTube. Since Italian is known for having lots of hand gestures, YouTube videos can give you additional insight into the mannerisms of the language that a podcast just can’t cover.

Whether you choose to learn from a native speaker or someone who’s studying Italian just like you, here are a few of the best YouTube channels to put on your playlist.

They’re loosely organized based on the learner’s level, but there can be some overlap, so intermediates shouldn’t necessarily skip right over the beginner section. (more…)

Language Transfer

Quick Review

4.3 

Summary:

The Language Transfer’s courses approach language learning with what has been coined as “The Thinking Method’. These audio courses serve as a great introduction to the nine languages currently available. They go into lots of depth on how each language works, teaching you all of the main grammar points and giving you the tools needed to learn independently and intuitively. For beginners looking to learn a language, these free courses are an effective and efficient way to start your journey.

Quality

Might look a bit basic but the content is very well designed.

Thoroughness

The courses don’t follow the traditional learning path but have a lot of depth.

Value

It’s completely free and better than most paid resources.

Price

Completely free, but if you find the courses to be useful, consider making a donation.

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Uncovered Courses

Quick Review

Summary:

Spanish Uncovered (and the similar German, French, Italian and Japanese courses) come from Olly Richards, the creator of the super popular blog I Will Teach You A Language. It’s quite a bit different than most courses as it revolves around a story. It can be a bit more challenging than other courses, as you begin reading somewhat long texts right off the bat. Overall, I found it to be a more fun way to approach language learning that will be great for some but not ideal for others.

Quality

The instruction is clear but can have too much information crammed into a single lesson.

Thoroughnes

You’ll practice every aspect of the language.

Value

It has a pretty high price, but if you stick with it, you’ll get good value from it.

Price

A one-time purchase costs $297 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Grammar Hero

Quick Review

4.2 

Summary:

Grammar Hero is a product from Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language. It follows the story-based method of teaching languages, but this time with a focus on the most difficult grammar points. You start out by reading a story and the grammar point is underlined, later you learn the rules, then you re-read the story with explanations, and finally you’ll practice using the grammar point to express your thoughts and opinions. It’s a comprehensive method that’s meant to help you internalize the grammar.

Quality

The stories are unique and interesting, while highlighting the grammar points.

Thoroughness

Covers the most challenging grammar in each language.

Value

Fairly expensive and may not be affordable for many learners.

Price

It costs $197 to purchase Grammar Hero in each language. There’s also a 30-day money back guarantee.

Languages: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, and Brazillian Portuguese.

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