Are you still memorizing boring conjugation tables only to find yourself at a loss for words when you actually need to speak with someone?
With this course, 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 phrases and sentences are formed.
Ripeti Con Me starts at a beginner level and focuses on essential vocabulary. Grammar isn’t explicitly taught – you’ll begin to pick up the various grammar points on your own. Its slow pace makes it accessible to beginners.
You can download the audio files and listen to them whenever you want, like a podcast. Listening and speaking will get you thinking in Italian.
If you already speak some Italian, take a short test to find which lessons you need and get a 10% discount.
Below you find the program and a free preview. Try it now!
Think directly in Italian
It sounds too simple to be true: you can actually improve your Italian by listening and repeating 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 phrases and sentences are formed.
If you’re disciplined enough to practice 20 minutes a day, you’ll be thinking directly in Italian in a couple of weeks.
The ultimate purpose of listening practice is to be able to understand native speakers in virtually any situation. With this purpose in mind, this Italian audio course strikes a balance between two contrasting needs: on one side, as a beginner or intermediate learner, you need to learn from simplified, “purified” material, else you could barely catch a word; on the other side, you want to be exposed to the “real thing”, so that you don’t panic when you leave the classroom and go speak with people outside.
In some courses for beginners, the native speakers speak so slow that it sounds awkward. This solution might feel reassuring to prudent learners, but it’s also a limit. In other courses, or in podcasts, they speak so fast that you can’t even understand simple words. Except for a few adventurous polyglots who know how things work, most learners find this scary and give up.
My choice is to keep speech rate at a relatively slow level, but still realistic for a native speaker. I rather pronounce extremely clearly instead of slowing down. In this respect, the diction classes I took a long time ago were useful.
Once you get used to listening at this speed, you’ll naturally speed up by yourself when repeating the sentences. Eventually, you’ll be able to adjust freely your speech rate depending on your mood and the contents that you want to express.
The method of repeating contents after increasingly longer intervals, called spaced repetition, has been around for decades, but only in the last few years did it become a buzz word thanks to some popular apps. The method per se is scientifically sound and certainly works. This is not always true about its applications.
During this Italian audio course, vocabulary and grammar patterns recur following a plan. Words are repeated occasionally over many lessons and also during the same lesson. Grammar patterns are repeated intensively during the same lesson and occasionally during the lessons following the lesson where that grammar pattern is introduced.
Those words and patterns will become familiar over time, even if you don’t understand or can’t use all the other words you hear in the sentences that contain them. The aim of repetition is familiarity with the language, and thus fluency, rather than mere memorization.
Many courses try to make dialogues interesting with a wide variety of vocabulary, but lack the repetition needed to memorize words and master sentence patterns. This is good a supplement for intermediate learners, but it scares off beginners who feel that they’re forgetting things on the way or not even learning them in the first place.
Other courses, like Pimsleur, take the spaced repetition principle to the extreme and spend months on the same few conversation lines with a few variations. This is an effective introduction to the language for beginners, but it’s obviously limited in scope. Many casual learners find its boring.
This Italian audio course strikes a balance between repetition and variety. On one hand, it’s reassuring to repeat sentence patterns and words during the same lesson and over several lessons. At the same time, contents are kept challenging and interesting by variations in the sentences and by setting realistic situations for the sentences.
Most people start learning foreign languages by learning to read the alphabet first. Even popular self-study books start with the alphabet.
Unfortunately, this is not the best way to start to learn Italian. On the contrary, it makes it more difficult to get used to the sounds of that language and to think directly in that language.
This because the spoken word and the written word are processed by your brain in a different way. When you read characters that are present in your native language, your brain wants to process it the same way it does with your native language. That’s not the way a native speaker learns. With sounds, your brain can only shut up and listen, hoping to decode these news sounds on the way.
The casual learner, used to the obsolete methods they followed in language classes at school, is puzzled by the concept of learning straight from audio to think directly in Italian. However, it’s easier to convince them if they’re presented facts and not obscure theories in linguistics. Here are two facts that might surprise you and show that we’re made to learn languages by listening and speaking:
For these reasons, this Italian audio course focuses on audio. There’s a booklet with the sentence script and its English translation, but that’s only optional and in any case, it’s to be consulted only after going through the entire lesson with audio only.
Even if the text is kept at a secondary level, some might still feel the need for pictures. However, even though imagery helps memorize information, the focus of the course is more to think and speak directly in Italian than mere memorization. Thus, the absence of other stimuli like pictures is intended to let you focus on pronunciation and speaking.
If you’re learning a new language and you want to make progress quickly, focusing on the most frequently-used words and phrases is a good strategy. This way, with only a few words, you can say a lot of things.
The vocabulary introduced in this Italian audio course was inspired by two Italian “frequency lists”. The first contains 1000 words and seems to be taken from mass media because it includes some relatively formal words. The second contains 2000 words and is taken from movie subtitles, thus it’s more conversational. Why way, it’s easy to focus on useful words, phrases, and sentences at any level, especially, phrases for beginners.
I picked words assuming that the learner wants to learn Italian on the following purposes:
The 300 most useful and frequently-used words represent about 65% of all the words you’ll use on a regular basis. Together, those 300 most common foreign words can allow you to introduce yourself, order food in restaurants, check in at the airport, talk about how you feel, discuss the weather, answer basic questions and — most importantly — give you the tools you need to learn words and phrases beyond those first 300 words. In contrast, 2000 words represent about 90%. Thus, in this course alone you’ll be exposed to a sufficient range of vocabulary for your trips and casual chats.
All native speakers learn the grammar patterns of their languages following a certain order. For example, they first learn the present tense “I eat” and then move on to the past tense “I ate”. Well designed language courses introduce new grammar in more or less the same order.
This Italian audio course looks like a “simple” collection of sentences. However, they’re not random sentences. They follow a plan. By doing the lessons in their order, you’ll learn grammar patterns in the most efficient order, while reviewing past patterns over many lessons.
There are grammar patterns and vocabulary that you typically find in resources like textbooks, and there are others that you don’t find in textbooks. Often, they’re frequently used by native speakers and preferred to the “official” alternatives found in learning resources. I don’t see why common expressions should be ignored, especially if they don’t require complicated grammar.
In this Italian audio course, you’ll learn expressions that you won’t find in regular textbooks. They’re chosen among the most frequent and don’t required additional grammar. Just by adding a word, you’ll sound like a native, not like a textbook.
Padding the course with lessons that introduce a new expression with no need for new grammar also slows down the pace and gives you time to practice what you learned so far.
Many casual learners, based on obsolete methods they learned in language classes at school, translate the sentence they want to say before saying it in a foreign language. Some even say the sentence in their language before translating it. All this is a huge hindrance to learning a language.
This Italian audio course will help you to break this habit because it leaves you no time to translate. You’re prompted to think and speak directly in Italian. Even if you’re at a loss for words, you’ll soon hear the correct sentence and you only need to repeat it.
Consequently, you also lose all the small habits that are peculiar to your native language and get in the way when learning Italian. For example, English speakers typically use extra words such as “do” and pronouns like “I” and “you” in everyday sentences. By repeating the sentences in this course, English speakers are forced to forget about “do” and also to omit pronouns. They just have to think differently about what they’re going to say. This sounds like a big leap to take, but this effect is already noticeable after a few days of daily practice done the right way (not pausing the audio, etc.).
In a typical language class or course, first you quietly listen to a long explanation of grammar, vocabulary, grammar notes, culture notes… all in your native language. You diligently take notes and feel like you know it all. Then, you move on to drills. Practice is only a small part of study time and is usually done in a controlled environment based on contents that are typical of a classroom.
With this Italian audio course, you’ll be practicing Italian all the time. In fact, the entire course is a drill! And it’s based on situations that you’ll likely face during your trips to Italian or your chats with Italians. You’ll certainly make mistakes on the way, but in the meanwhile you’re already communicating effectively in Italian. This is the most practical method that you can find.
Some courses and apps based on spaced repetition are complicated. There’s a long list of files to be used in an obscure order, together with side activities in a schedule that is hardly viable for the casual learner.
With this course, you only need to click “play” on files A, B, and C. Once a day. If you feel the need for visual aid, consult the booklet. If it’s still too hard, repeat the lesson the day after. Then move on to the next lesson.
This Italian audio course is not an app that you can only access online. You can download the files and listen to them whenever you want, even without an Internet connection. It’s easy to find the time for listening to your audio lessons.
Learning a language is like doings sports. You need to practice often, ideally on a daily basis. A 30-minute daily practice is much more effective than 3.5 hours once a week, whether it’s about practicing conversation in a foreign language or playing tennis. Your mind (and your body, in the case of sports) absorbs new information better if it’s processed in small bits.
On the other hand, if an app lets the student “keep their pace”, people often end up playing with it for 5 minutes while being distracted by notifications, etc. It’s easy to get distracted on your phone.
To make you speak Italian every day even if you’re alone and busy, this course is made up of 30-minute daily lessons. You don’t need to be online to listen to this course. You’re free to play the audio on your phone, in your car, etc. Click “play” and never click “pause”. Do one lesson a day and you’ll be fluent before you know it. That’s another level of learning.
If, while listening to an audio lesson, you already understand more than 90% of what you hear, you might want to skip a lesson or two.
If you understand less than 60% of what you hear, you might want to repeat the lesson and/or read the sentences in the booklet.
These standards apply to any text used to learn a language.
Experiment with the level of these Italian lessons to find the level that is suitable for you.
Feel free to adjust the playback speed. However, I recommend that you don’t slow down more than 10%, because you should get used to natural speed. I’d rather repeat the lesson than slow it down unnaturally.
On Windows, you can adjust the playback speed in Windows Media Player. On my smartphone, I use the free app Audipo.
Experiment with the speed of these Italian lessons to find the pace that is suitable for you.
Understand the method in order to set realistic expectations! You’re not supposed to memorize whole sentences, but phrases at most, usually words. And even that doesn’t happen instantaneously. While listening, some words will stick to your mind at once, some after a night of sleep, some after some repetition. We all learn over time. This applies to all learning resources. Stick with your daily exercise and you’ll be surprised to feel how words pop up in your mind all of a sudden, when you weren’t even trying to recollect them!
If you’re human and you manage to memorize 8-10 words a day, you can already be happy. This applies to any source of vocabulary, not only this course. If you wondered, to achieve upper-intermediate fluency you need about 3,000 words. Yes, you can get there in less than a year!
If you don’t understand words, you can always recur to the booklet, repeat the lesson, and/or look up the word.
If you don’t understand why you should say that way, well, that’s grammar! And there’s plenty of books that explain it, without necessarily making you able to speak and use it. So, believe in the method and stick with your daily exercise. Sooner than you think, everything will make sense and become natural.
In any case, don’t go back and repeat only because you missed something. Only do that after you finished the lesson (the whole set of files A, B, and C), or if you repeat it, refer to the booklet. However, you should still repeat everything aloud while reading. Never read silently!
It’s totally normal if you get cut in the middle of a sentence. On the contrary, if you managed to repeat everything accurately, probably that lesson is too easy for you. So, don’t worry and keep speaking. Also, feel free to make mistakes. That’s how we learn languages!
In order to shadow the speaker, you don’t need to memorize either the sentences or their order. It’s enough to start speaking when you recognize the sentence after it started. If you listen to files A, B and C in a row, this will happen naturally.
There are two reasons for the apparent mismatch.
1. We don’t say the same thing the same way. For example:
a. This is Stefano and Alessia. They’re Italian.
b. These are Stefano and Alessia. They’re Italian.
Well, the Italian sentence sounds like b: “Questi sono Stefano e Alessia”!
2. There’s not always 1-to-1 correspondence of words and grammar patterns between languages. For example:
a. When do you (usually) go to school?
b. When are you going to school (today)?
Well, in Italian both sentences translate into “Quando vai a scuola?”
It’s true that the meaning of the sentences is rarely related to that of other sentences. They don’t make full dialogues. This because long real-life dialogues don’t allow the kind of structure that is needed for spaced repetition.
However, they’re not random because they follow a plan. Certain words are repeated during each lesson and, more importantly, throughout the course. Grammar patterns are repeated intensively during each lesson and add up throughout the course to build complex sentences. Vocabulary goes from basic to relatively advanced. Grammar patterns go from simple to relatively complex.
As a result, after this Italian audio course, you’ll be able to communicate because you’ll have learned how to handle the elements of virtually any sentence you might want to say, not limited to the sentences you heard in the course.
Listen to these Italian conversation bits. They’ll become elements to make your own sentences.
For this Italian audio course, I picked most of vocabulary from a list of the most frequent 1.000 words in Italian. The grammar patterns are also very common, and in fact are found in any serious language course, either written or in audio, roughly in the same order as in this course.
Understand the method to set your expectations: you’re not expected to use those exact sentences in real life. Actually, not even to remember them. That would be rote memorization and is neither expected nor desirable. After you add vocabulary and grammar patterns to your repertoire, your brain will know how to recollect them and put them together in sentences you’ve never heard before.
Experiment with these Italian sentences and adapt them to your interests.
Research proves that you learn better if you first rely on speech only. If you rely on text, your brain tries to process letters the same way it does with your native language. Refer to visual aids only after you’ve finished the lesson, or if and when you repeat the lesson.
This is not a typical language class or course, where first you quietly listen to a long explanation of grammar, vocabulary, grammar notes, culture notes… all in your native language. You diligently take notes and feel like you know it all. Then, you move on to drills. Practice is only a small part of study time and is usually done in a controlled environment based on contents that are typical of a classroom. This is how languaes are usually taught in class.
However, with this Italian audio course, you’ll be practicing Italian all the time. In fact, the entire course is a drill! And it’s based on situations that you’ll likely face during your trips to Italian or your chats with Italians. You’ll certainly make mistakes on the way, but in the meanwhile, you’re already communicating effectively in Italian. This is the most practical method that you can find.
Even though imagery helps memorize information, the focus of the course is more to think and speak directly in Italian than mere memorization. Thus, the absence of other stimuli like pictures is intended to let you focus on pronunciation and speaking.
This Italian audio course is a collection of MP3 files. It’s not an app. If you want to check your pronunciation, you can always record yourself with another device and review your recording after the lesson. In any case, don’t pause or stop the lesson to check your pronunciation.
We remember better what gives us a strong impression. If you have ever experienced a major earthquake, you certainly remember where and when it was, what happened next etc.
The same happens when you learn languages at an emotional level. Some sentences are earthquakes. Awkward, controversial or morally questionable. Take them for what they are – sample sentences that don’t reflect my views.
This is an Italian audio course, the cultural and geographic references in the sentences are biased towards Europe and the U.S. If you study Italian, you certainly want your material to be related to Italy. If you’re learning about Italy, probably you need to know about its neighbors. Most of the users happen to be from the U.S., which is a very influential country anyway. Other references are made occasionally to other major countries like Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, etc.
By the way, when I saw this comment I smiled thinking of another Italian audio course that is the source of inspiration for my course, where virtually no Italian or even European names appeared and instead all the names were from the Far East (because they made the course in Taiwan). A language course should make references to the country and the culture of that language, not be a mere translation of a standard script applied to all languages. Thus, this “bias” is an advantage.
There’s nothing awkward in studying. You’re taking an Italian audio course. It’s like a podcast, but you need to speak. I’d rather be impressed if I noticed someone doing that, regardless of your level.
Anyway, you don’t need to shout out your sentences in public. Speaking softly is enough, even without opening your mouth. But do pronounce everything you hear! Listening alone is pointless.
There are many learning resources out there and it’s trendy to learn Italian with an app. Podcasts are popular, too.
However, to use an app, you need Internet connection. If you’re online, it’s easy to get distracted by notifications, etc. If you switch your attention from learning Italian to anything else (checking email, social media…), you lose the flow and your progress will drop dramatically. Even the best learning resources are useless if not used correctly.
Beside that, you need something to force you to keep up with the pace that is necessary to think in Italian and bypass your native language. If you use an app, you tend to slow down to think in your language, or take a break to have a snack. Learn to be disciplined!
With this Italian audio course, you push “play” and keep speaking Italian until the lesson is over. Now, you can focus on listening, and learn Italian.
Listening to an audio course is the best way to get talking Italian fast even if you’re alone.
For similar reasons, I don’t have an Italian podcast. A podcast is content that you listen to. It’s passive listening.
On the contrary, this Italian audio course is a content that you listen to, then repeat. You actively produce speech and make your own podcast!
That’s the whole difference. You learn by speaking, not just by listening. A podcast can’t do that.
There are two ways to know which lessons you need based on your current level.
This Italian audio course forces you to speak and think in Italian everyday. That’s as close as it gets to practicing conversation or taking a lesson with a native speaker. In that sense, if you were to pick only one self-study method, you should go for this one.
On the other hand, you certainly need to develop a variety of skills that are not covered here by other methods (especially writing, and reading too). However, there’s no learning resource (app, podcast…) that alone can lead you to fluency. But, you could say that about any course.
Take this Italian course as an experiment. You’ll start to feel the results after a couple of weeks.
The advantage of an audio course is that once you’ve started it, you should feel compelled to keep pace with the audio, and that requires you actually speak Italian for 20 minutes a day, every day. You’re prompted to speak and less prone to laziness than if put in front of a book or an app. If you’re still not motivated enough, I don’t know any learning resource (app, podcast…) that can help you. You could always invest in a good teacher.
Did you download the audio files and the booklet of the Italian course? You find detailed instructions in the booklet included in the course.
Should you still have questions about this course, your level, or languages in general, you’re welcome to have a free 10-minute consultation on Skype. You find my username in the booklet.
If you still have questions about how to use the course, feel free to get in touch on Skype for a quick consultation.
However, if that doesn’t help, you may have a refund if requested within 30 days from purchase.
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