This is an audio course specifically designed for the Italian language with a focus on conversation, based on the principle of comprehensible input and spaced repetition.
This means that I’ll show you how to say things in Italian and you’ll repeat after me to acquire vocabulary and grammar naturally.
Each lesson covers one grammar pattern without explicitly teaching it, but rather showing many examples.
During the course, you will listen and repeat useful sentences in English and Italian.
This is the structure of a lesson:
Take one lesson a day, every day. Neither more nor less. If you feel ready, move on to the next lesson, else repeat the lesson. You should take a night of sleep between lessons.
Each lesson is a set of 3 files: A, B, and C. Go through all of them on the same day, in that order, all in a row, without pausing the audio. Together, they take about 15-30 minutes.
During that time, don’t use any other language, neither in speech nor in writing. However, you can do language-free activities like commuting, cooking, cleaning, etc.
It’s vital that you listen and repeat what you hear. Don’t listen passively, or it would go into one ear and come out from the other.
The first time you listen to a lesson, don’t look at the booklet, but rather rely on audio only.
You do NOT need to:
Feel free to adjust the playback speed by clicking on the “speed” icon.
However, I recommend that you don’t slow down more than 10%, because you should get used to natural speed.
It would be better to repeat the lesson than to slow it down unnaturally.
If 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.
That depends on many factors like your study history, language skills
in your native language or languages similar to Italian, whether you
also use other study material, etc.
As long as you feel like you’re learning something (introducing new concepts or reinforcing past ones) you might well keep going.
When I used a similar course for other languages, I would keep going
for a few lessons even when I felt I wasn’t keeping the pace, then go
back about 10 lessons.
However, other people could feel insecure and
rather go over the same lesson again the next day. In any case,
repetition is useful.
Just don’t repeat until you’re perfect because that’s neither useful nor fun. 🙂
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. Some words will stick to your mind at once, some after a night of sleep, some after some repetition.
Stick with your daily exercise and you’ll be surprised to see how words pop up in your mind all of a sudden, when you weren’t even trying to recollect them!
If you manage to memorize 8-10 words a day, you can already be happy. This applies to any source of vocabulary, not only to this course.
In order to achieve upper-intermediate fluency you need about 3,000 words. Believe it or not, you can get there in less than a year!
If you don’t understand words, you can always refer to the booklet, repeat the lesson, or look up the word.
If you don’t understand why you should say things the way they’re read, 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.
No. Only after you finish the lesson (the whole set of files A, B, and C). However, you should still repeat everything aloud while reading. Never read silently!
Research proves that you learn better if you first rely on speech only. If you rely on text, your brain tries to process the letters the same way it does with your native language. Refer to visual aids only after you’ve finished the lesson, or while you repeat the lesson.
There are two reasons for the apparent mismatch.
Well, the Italian sentence sounds like b: “Questi sono Stefano e Alessia”!
Well, in Italian both sentences translate into “Quando vai a scuola?”
It’s true that the meanings of the sentences are rarely related to those 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 the 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.
I picked most of vocabulary from a list of the most frequently used 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, in roughly 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.
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.
Some sentences are earthquakes. Awkward, controversial or morally questionable. Take them for what they are – sample sentences that don’t reflect my views.
There’s nothing awkward about studying. On the contrary, I’d be impressed if I noticed someone doing that. 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!
This 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. For that reason, if you were to pick only one self-study resource, you should go for this one.
On the other hand, you certainly need to develop by other methods a variety of skills that are not covered here (especially writing and reading). However, there’s no learning resource that alone can lead you to fluency, but you could say that about any course.
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 to speak Italian for 30 minutes a day, every day. You’re prompted to speak, and less prone to laziness than if you studied from a book or an app. If you’re still not motivated enough, I don’t know any learning resource than can help you. You could always invest in a good teacher.
Should you still have questions, drop me an email or book a free 10-minute consultation on Skype.
The online version of Ripeti Con Me is only available online.
Neither the audio nor the text can be downloaded or copied.
However, there’s a downloadable MP3 version of Ripeti Con Me available for purchase separately.
The approach of Ripeti Con Me is just the opposite of the traditional grammar-focused teaching method.
That’s why no grammar notes are included in the lessons.
I do provide some grammar notes outside the course on select topics, but they’re not part of this course.
If anything, you could investigate into grammar only after each lesson, not before.
Still puzzled? I’ll share a polyglot’s secret: I don’t study grammar. 😉
No. The lessons themselves are drills.
You learn words and patterns by using them.
Yes! Leave a comment under the lesson and I’ll answer within 24 hours.
The sentences are written to be useful during trips to Italy and for conversations with locals.
Many of them are set in common places like restaurants, train stations, stores…
There’s also a lot of arguing, Italian style!
Only the advanced lessons are more formal and useful for work or study in Italy.
By the way, the native speaker is me.
The online version of Ripeti Con Me can be access from any device, including smartphones.
You still need an internet connection.
If you don’t have an internet connection outside, buy the downloadable MP3 version of Ripeti Con Me.
The MP3s can be transferred to any device or burned into a CD.