Choose the right Italian Language audio course
When I developed my own Italian language audio course, “Ripeti con me!”, I reviewed other popular courses to combine their best features into it. I’m sharing this little research with you.
Each review covers the following aspects of an Italian language audio course: concept, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, guidance, structure, price, pros, cons, and my advice.
I compared my course with the Italian versions of the audio courses that I use myself to learn other languages, and which I recommend to any motivated learner. I encourage you to check out the courses below and possibly take them in parallel with my course.
On the other hand, I cannot compare courses that I don’t know and I don’t feel the need to consider those that I don’t find useful.
Apart from Italian language audio courses, I also recommend other kinds of learning resources, but they’re not audio courses, and thus, are out of the scope of this review.
Spaced repetition balanced by variety and relevance, in small daily doses.
Acquired unconsciously, straight from sentences.
Acquired unconsciously, straight from sentences. Basic vocabulary is repeated throughout the course. Contents are kept practical. Sentences are not related to each other.
Acquired unconsciously, straight from sentences. Grammar patterns are repeated intensively during each lesson, with occasional repetition from lesson to lesson.
No guidance at all. Only sentences, in English and in Italian.
Series of sentences, in a set of 3 files per lesson. About 30 min per lesson.
69.80 US$ / 30 lessons
Buy it? 😛
Total beginners can take it without being either overwhelmed or bored.
Rigorous spaced repetition at the expense of variety, with guidance in English.
Practiced consciously from phonemes and words, with guidance in English.
Useful but very limited. Based on very short dialogues and variations. You end up repeating keywords even more than ten times in a lesson.
Focus on mastering a limited set of basic sentence patterns.
Occasionally given in English on pronunciation, grammar and word meaning and usage.
Short dialogue, then drills from the previous lesson and new contents, all meticulously repeated at intervals. 25-30 min per lesson.
120.00 US$ / 30 lessons
Good for motivated total beginners in their first 1-5 months of study.
Spaced repetition with an overwhelming variety of vocabulary, and high involvement.
Acquired unconsciously, straight from sentences.
Overwhelming, from day one, especially at normal playback speed. Sentences often sound unnatural. Sentences are not related to each other.
Acquired unconsciously, straight from sentences. Grammar patterns are repeated intensively during each lesson, with occasional repetitions from lesson to lesson.
No guidance at all. Only sentences, in English and Italian.
Raw sentences, in a set of 3 files per lesson. About 30 min per lesson.
30.00 US$ / 30 lessons
Good for brave students starting from lower intermediate level (A2) or intermediate (B1).
Glossika has turned into an app and is not available as an audio course in MP3 anymore. While an app can be more interactive than audio only or audio + booklet, it can also be distracting.
This Italian language audio course is not based on spaced repetition, but it still has a structure that I’d expect from a good all-in-one self-study textbook.
Acquired unconsciously, straight from dialogues and vocabulary lists.
Based on dialogues, and grouped by topic. Words rarely occur more than once in each dialogue, and no intentional repetition is noticeable throughout the course.
Grammar notes are given in English in a separate section.
A full translation is given during the dialogue. Each lesson includes grammar notes and culture notes, all in English.
Dialogue, vocabulary list, culture notes and grammar notes. About 10 min per lesson.
8.00 US$ / month
Good from A2, to be taken occasionally as a plus.
All these Italian language audio courses have pros and cons. That said, if I were a total beginner and I had to pick one single course, I’d go for Ripeti con me! because you get to speak Italian every day – which is paramount – at a low price. However, if you still feel like you need guidance and don’t mind keeping a slower pace, Pimsleur is your best friend – an expensive friend. If you already speak basic Italian and want to boost your vocabulary, master new grammar patterns, and speak faster, both Ripeti con me! and Glossika can help. More conventional Italian language audio courses like ItalianPod101 are not bad if used in concomitance with other courses focused on speaking, or 1-on-1 tutoring, and are certainly a good deal for the number of lessons you get.
As a language learner, I was raised speaking only Italian, but now I speak nine foreign languages.
As a teacher, I’ve taught Italian to adults in language schools and universities.
I’ve lectured in polyglot clubs and coached students on their way to fluency.
I’m eager to share my secrets with you.