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News in Slow Italian Review – Lots of Fun!

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary

News in Slow Italian is an excellent learning resource; it’s very comprehensive and offers all the necessary tools to be able to practice all the aspects of the language. It’s also one of the most fun and original language learning tools I’ve seen and manages to be so without sacrificing on quality. This program is helpful for anyone who wants to learn Italian.

Quality

They really thought of everything when creating this program – audio lessons, PDF files, exercises, grammar and expressions catalogs, podcasts.

Thoroughness

Clear and explanatory grammar lessons, expressions and idioms included in every lesson, lots of vocabulary to practice and plenty of information to help you become fluent.

Value

News in Slow Italian is a great learning resource and students of all levels should try it.

Price

7-day free trial, then $19.90/month. You also have the option to prepay for any amount of months at a time, which doesn’t change the monthly price.

News in Slow Italian is a brilliant learning resource that offers students of all levels a great opportunity to improve their Italian. The lessons are very thorough, containing a lot of information with plenty of explanations and cultural details.

The resource offers three courses: beginner, intermediate and advanced. All of them are equally valuable and helpful as an independent source of learning or as a complementary resource.

News in Slow Italian has it all – fun lessons, easy browsing, easy-to-understand grammar explanations, practice exercises, podcasts, and catalogs with extra information for the diligent students.

Overview

News in Slow Italian is split into three sections: news lessons, courses, and series. The lesson structure in each of these sections is similar, but some have more features than others.

The resource has a lot of downloadable materials, documents and audio files, flashcards with vocabulary items, and loads of features.

We’ll now take a closer look at what exactly is included in each of the different sections.

Three Separate Courses  

G.U.T.S. (Get Up To Speed) Beginner Course

News in Slow Italian sure knows how to combine useful with fun. Their beginner module is structured as a Language Theater course it’s both a course and a play! They went outside of the box and named the lessons “acts.” They structured the lessons in a longer theater play with 22 acts, each including vocabulary, grammar, exercises, and dialogues.

The structure of the acts

The lessons have a very clear, well-organized structure, and they come with comprehensive explanations.

Each act has an opening dialogue where the narrator presents the lesson and informs the student of the main topics included in the act. This dialogue can be listened to or read, as both options are available. This feature is available in all sections of the lessons.

There are a few sections under each act title that help the student navigate through the lesson.

If you click on flashcard you get to download a pdf file with the vocabulary present in the lesson and the English translation for the words.

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Clicking on Hello Again takes you to the conversation between the actors, where you have the options of listening to, reading, or downloading the materials as a PDF.

The written part of the conversation is very nicely designed – it has pop-ups with words translated, so it’s easy to check the meaning when hovering with your mouse. The Italian words that have a translation pop-up feature are marked in red.

A screenshot of the dialogue in the first lesson. The Italian word piacere has been translated to

The Grammar section in each act is a pleasure to browse. It’s well organized, extensive, and easy to understand. Grammar sections are broken into three parts: dialogue 1, dialogue 2, and lesson.

Screenshot of the transcript in Dialogue 1 of the grammar section in Act 1.

Dialogue 1 and 2 offer thorough explanations to various grammar topics, split into parts, just to make sure the student doesn’t get overloaded or confused by the information.

The lesson part is a summary of the grammar rules included in the lesson, explained in detail as well. It also presents some vocabulary items, such as greetings and how to introduce yourself.

The expression section offers various idioms or common phrases that Italians use: Mamma mia, for example. This section includes a conversation where that particular expression is used and also a lesson explanation with more information about the origin and usage of the phrase.

The Pronunciation tab allows the student to practice through the recording feature. Most students would benefit from personalized feedback from a tutor to provide feedback on their pronunciation. On italki, you can find tutors for less than $10/hour.

Quizzes are fill-in-the-blank exercises to test your understanding of the content.

Screenshot of the first quiz at the end of Act 1 in the G.U.T.S. course.

The lesson finishes with a closing dialogue titled, Until Next Time.

Grammar Course

The grammar catalog covers an impressive number of grammar topics via dialogues, written lessons, and quizzes that are organized into units. The format is similar to the one used in the G.U.T.S. course.

A screenshot of lessons that make up the grammar course.

Screenshot of the first dialogue in a present indicative grammar lesson.

Expressions Course

This course takes you to a new level by teaching lots of common Italian expressions. These are really helpful to get a better insight into the Italian vocabulary.

Again, the lessons take a familiar format. You can progress through the lessons sequentially, or you can browse through the expressions catalog, deciding which ones you’d like to study.

Intermediate and Advanced News

The intermediate and advanced sections are presented in weekly news episodes, covering a variety of topics. As a user, you have the possibility to see all past episodes that have been uploaded to the site.

Each episode includes a transcript and audio recording of dialogue as well as accompanying flashcards.

The flashcards are available to download as a PDF or an Excel file of the vocabulary presented in the lesson, along with the English translations.

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The Pronunciation tab gives you the opportunity to practice saying key phrases from the news story. You’ll get to record yourself and then compare your pronunciation to that of a native speaker.

A screenshot of a microphone icon used in the pronunciation section of a news lesson.

Series

They also have a section called “series” which allows you to listen and read along to both fictional and non-fiction stories broken into different chapters.

Screenshot of the lessons that make up News in Slow Italian series.

Many of the series episodes are available at multiple levels. The more advanced the level, the fewer highlighted, translatable phrases there will be.

These lessons don’t come with any grammar lessons or explicit teaching material, so if this is something that you value then you may not want to spend too much time here.

However, if you are beyond a total beginner and want to study with something that may or may not be a little more entertaining than some of the news content then this section may be worth checking out.

Regardless of how you choose to use News in Slow Italian, the series provide a potentially fun and productive way to get more exposure to Italian.

Visit News in Slow Italian

The L360 App

This is the app that corresponds with News in Slow Italian. It contains all of the news stories and series from the resource and allows for playlist creation and offline listening.

It makes for a convenient tool if you’re interested in listening to lessons from a mobile device, but you’ll have to access the browser version of the resource for access to the courses.

Plans and Prices

A subscription to News in Slow Italian is available for $19.90 per month. You can try everything out by making use of their free 7-day trial, but you’ll need to use a credit card.

If you want to avoid a recurring subscription, you can prepay for up to 12 months at a time, but there’s no discount on the monthly rate.

Screenshot of the payment page for News in Slow Italian.

Final thoughts

Love, love, love this program!

I love the way they structured the modules and their lessons. They included the fun factor into them as well – the language theater idea is so original! There is plenty of vocabulary to learn, grammar is explained in a very clear way, and exercises provide another way to interact with the language. You do not get the chance to get bored with this one.

All three levels have great content, a lot of information to go through, and enough audio lessons to get you used to natural native tonality and cadence.

It’s an affordable resource and doesn’t cost a lot for what it offers. Once you start using it, it will grow on you, and you will realize just how much it can teach you. It’s definitely worth spending money on!

I have tried to look for less enthusiastic opinions on the internet about this program… and I came up short. The only thing I could find was the fact that, for some people, it can be confusing having so much text and conversation, but that is really a matter of preference in the end, not a faulty feature of the resource.

I did find a lot of praising words for it and I absolutely agree with them: News in Slow Italian is outstanding, fantastic, smart, fun and thought-provoking!

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