What’s the best way to learn Italian on your own?
Or, “why shouldn’t I learn Italian with an app or a podcast?”
There are many learning resources out there and it’s trendy to learn Italian by yourself with an app. Podcasts are popular, too.
However, to use an app, you need an 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.
Besides 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 an Italian audio course like “Ripeti con me!”, 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 a 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 Italian on your own by speaking, not just by listening. A podcast can’t do that.
How to learn Italian on your own?
Understand the method in order to set realistic expectations! 😉
You’re not supposed to memorize whole sentences. You do pick up words and phrases, but 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!
In any case, 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 Italian by yourself at an emotional level. Some sentences in this course are earthquakes. Awkward, controversial or morally questionable. Take them for what they are – sample sentences that don’t reflect my views.
How to learn Italian by yourself: right tool + motivation
This Italian audio course forces you to speak and think in Italian every day. 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 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.
As of September 2019, “Ripeti con me!” is made up of 120 lessons. You can imagine how fluent you’ll become if you take it daily!
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.
Can you teach yourself Italian?
Yes! By listening and repeating sentences with “Ripeti con me!”, you can teach yourself Italian.
Initially, it might feel awkward to speak to yourself in public (for example, while commuting), but there’s nothing awkward in studying.
On the contrary, I’d rather be impressed if I noticed someone doing that, regardless of your level.
You’re taking an Italian audio course. It’s like a podcast, but you need to speak.
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.
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.
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. The 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 languages 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.
What is the best app to learn Italian?
With the audio files and the booklet included in “Ripeti con me!”, you can get an app-like experience without the distractions.
Before starting, you need to know which lessons you need based on your current level..
There are two ways to know:
Did you download the audio files and the booklet of the Italian course? You find detailed instructions in the booklet included in the course.
Sometimes, you will notice that the English and Italian versions don’t match exactly.
There are two reasons for the apparent mismatch.
- We don’t say the same thing the same way. For example:
- This is Stefano and Alessia. They’re Italian.
- These are Stefano and Alessia. They’re Italian.
Well, the Italian sentence sounds like b: “Questi sono Stefano e Alessia”!
- There’s not always 1-to-1 correspondence of words and grammar patterns between languages. For example:
- When do you (usually) go to school?
- When are you going to school (today)?
Well, in Italian both sentences translate into “Quando vai a scuola?”
Should you still have questions about this course, your level, or languages in general, you’re welcome to have a quick consultation on Skype. You find my username in the booklet.
If that doesn’t help, you may have a refund if requested within 30 days from purchase.
How to learn Italian fluently
In order to learn Italian on your own fluently, you need to focus on speaking and follow a plan.
It’s true that the meaning of the sentences in the audio course “Ripeti con me!” 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 the 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 desired. 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.
How many hours does it take to learn Italian?
Many factors affect the study time needed to master Italian or any other language.
The advantage of an audio course is that once you’ve started it, you feel compelled to keep pace with the audio, and that requires you to 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 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!
Practice daily for 3 months and you’ll already be able to survive during your next trip to Italy.
Best way to learn Italian in the car
Don’t waste time commuting! Learn Italian in the car with audio lessons.
But, how to take an Italian audio lesson while driving?
Listen, repeat, and keep driving!
Research proves that you learn Italian on your own 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.
Thus, an audio course is the ideal study material to make intelligent use of the time you spend in the car.
- 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 Italian by yourself in the car.
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.
Learn Italian while driving
Let’s say that you’re learning Italian while driving and you missed something during an audio lesson.
You might be tempted to go back and repeat. Don’t do that!
Not only because it’s dangerous to look at your phone while driving, but because you need to keep the flow in Italian.
If you don’t understand words, you can always recur to the booklet, repeat the lesson, and/or look up the word. But do that after you finish your lesson.
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, and also how to learn Italian on your own.
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.
This is the best way to learn Italian in the car!
How to take an Italian audio lesson: easy as ABC
- In File A, you listen to a sentence in English and Italian, then shadow the Italian sentence (saying the same sentence while the speaker is still saying it). Try to find patterns!
- In File B, you hear the sentence in English. Then, there’s a pause where you’re meant to say the sentence yourself in Italian. Finally, you shadow again. It’s OK to miss a few!
- In File C, you shadow. You’ll find out that you’re already familiar with the sentences!
- If you need visual aid, read the PDF booklet with the sentences transcript and highlights on important grammar points.
How to use the files? Here are some tips to make your lesson more productive:
- Each lesson is a set of 3 audio files: A, B, and C. Together, they take 15-25 minutes.
- Go through them on the same day, in that order, all in a row, without pausing the audio.
- Repeating is the key. Don’t listen passively!
- The first time you listen to a lesson, don’t look at the booklet, but rather rely on audio.
- If you feel ready, move on to the next lesson, else repeat the lesson.
- Take one lesson a day, every day.
- Take a night of sleep between lessons.
- Keep your daily schedule even if you’re confused. After a couple of weeks, the patterns will emerge and you will develop native-like habits.
- If you can’t keep up, this is normal. Just try to mimic the speaker, even if you mumble, and you’ll still be making progress.
- During the lesson, you can do language-free activities like commuting, cooking, cleaning, etc.
Download a free sample and start speaking now!