Imagine studying Italian in Italy.
You’d wake up in the morning and wander to the nearest piazza (town square) for fresh espresso and biscotti (hard cookies).
Maybe today’s your day off from your Italian language studies, so you’re planning to practice Italian with some apps before exploring the picturesque cityscape of Rome or Milan or Naples.
Studying Italian in Italy is a dream that many Italian language learners have.
Why, you ask? Well, besides the fact that the Italian landscape is breathtaking, immersion is one of the most effective ways to study Italian. It’s a chance to learn not only grammar and vocabulary concepts, but also the Italian culture and how the language is actually used.
What if an immersion trip to Italy just isn’t in the cards?
At its core, immersion simply involves being constantly surrounded by the language. That means immersion doesn’t have to happen only in Italy: You can create it in your own home with any of the six Italian immersion software programs in this post.
6 Italian Software Immersion Programs to Bring Italy to Your Home
Are you ready to be immersed at home? Get yourself a glass of vino rosso (red wine) and let the Italian learning begin!
Pimsleur offers five levels of Italian for beginner- to advanced-level learners. This means that regardless of whether you’re just starting out in Italian, refreshing previously learned language skills or clawing yourself out of the intermediate-learner plateau, Pimsleur offers an immersion course for you.
Through 80 hours of lessons, you can learn Italian with a near-native accent. The program utilizes native Italian speakers to teach lessons, act out common conversational situations and employ typical Italian sentence structures.
If you’re looking for a basis in the language, Pimsleur’s beginner lessons include dozens of useful basic phrases, common vocabulary and elementary grammar structures. For more advanced learners, lessons focus on listening to authentic speech at native speeds, speaking, reading native content and practicing complex sentence structures.
Individual Pimsleur levels cost $150 but if you want access to the complete program from beginner to advanced Italian learner, you can buy all five levels of the Italian immersion software for $575.
FluentU uses the internet’s best authentic videos to teach the Italian language.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced Italian learner, FluentU has lessons that cater to your needs. Beginner learners can start with a tailored lesson about common vocabulary, verb conjugation or other grammar topics such as adjectives.
These lessons are then followed by comprehension activities like fill-in-the-blanks, multiple choice questions and translation exercises.
In addition to beginner lessons…
This gives you a chance to listen to the Italian language as it’s actually spoken and learn in a natural, effective way. Simply choose your level and a video that interests you and watch away!
Each video includes subtitles in English and Italian that provide instant translation, example sentence and even other videos that use the word—all without ever having to leave the page.
These subtitles also allow learners to save unknown words as flashcards for later review. Vocab review utilizes a spaced repetition system, which means that the words are reviewed at crucial times so they’ll never be forgotten!
You can use FluentU in your browser or download the iOS or Android FluentU app to take the learning on the go.
Michel Thomas was a well-known figure in the language learning community. He was a psychologist and linguist with over 50 years of experience with teaching languages around the world.
As such, learning Italian with the Michel Thomas method boasts an Italian immersion software program that “works with your brain.” While that may sound like fancy pseudo-science, the Michel Thomas method uses a technique that builds on previously–learned content and uses context to teach relevant language skills.
There are six Michel Thomas audio courses for Italian. The first, “Start Italian,” is a self-proclaimed “taster” course that allows you to learn basic Italian in just one hour. This includes the alphabet as well as common Italian vocabulary and survival phrases that are perfect for that last-minute trip to Italy. In fact, you can complete this course on the flight over there!
The subsequent Italian courses are substantially longer. Each consists of eight to 10 hours of audio as well as a practice CD-ROM with activities to reinforce learning. Exercises include fill-in-the-blanks activities, multiple choice questions and translations into Italian to boost speaking and understanding capacities.
Like Pimsleur, the Michel Thomas Italian immersion software covers the beginner to high intermediate level.
Unlike the Michel Thomas course, Transparent Language’s Italian course is an online platform where users pay a monthly or yearly subscription for access to their Italian-learning program. The Italian immersion software boasts an easy-to-use platform that’s ideal for individuals, corporate organizations and even government agencies.
All Italian learners start with a “Welcome” lesson where they get a taste of the program. With Transparent Language’s algorithm, the software learns more about the user and adjusts its learning path as the learner progresses. Further, as the Italian level advances, learners can also choose the paths they want to follow, studying the vocabulary and grammar of their choosing.
Regardless of your level, lessons include dialogues, practice activities and transcripts for you to make the most out of your learning experience.
Best of all, Transparent’s software includes Italian speaking practice. For the speaking portion, the program will give you a sentence or a word in Italian with a supplementary audio file. The learner then records their own rendition and the program helps adjust pronunciation and accent.
If Transparent Language sounds like the right Italian immersion software program for you, some libraries even offer free access in their facilities!
Smart Italian is a fairly old Italian software immersion program, but the expression “oldie but a goodie” definitely rings true here.
The program offers an audio CD as well as CD-ROM option. There are two courses with Smart Italian: a beginner course for those with no or limited experience with the language and an intermediate/advanced course for those with a strong basis.
Each lesson in these courses starts with a dialogue spoken in slow, clear Italian that’s great for practicing your Italian accent and training your ear to the Italian language. The best part of Smart Italian is that many of these audio recordings are authentic conversations: they utilize real spoken Italian as well as common idioms.
After each recording, there’s also time for the learner to repeat selected audio as well as comprehension activities to apply what’s been learned. Further, the courses include booklets with transcripts, translations and written activities.
Tell Me More Italian
Another “oldie but goodie” Italian immersion software is Tell Me More Italian, which comes with two levels as well as online Italian-learning support. The highlight of this program is the sheer amount of resources available to the learner: There are over 200 hours of learning, as well as 2,000 exercises to reinforce newly-acquired Italian language skills.
The program focuses on teaching vocabulary, grammar structures and speech patterns according to the learner’s level, and the learner has the power to determine how fast or slow they want to listen to the native Italian speech.
Further, speech recognition features allow for speaking practice: The learner listens to a sample of Italian and records it, and then Tell Me More Italian helps to fine-tune the pronunciation.
Tell Me More Italian allows you to choose two levels from 10, ranging from beginner to expert. Be careful, though: Once the levels are selected, you can’t change to different ones.
Well, well, well. It looks like someone’s finished off their wine! Before you get another, get out a pen and paper and immerse yourself to fluency with these Italian immersion software programs!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.