Full Throttle: Top 6 Resources to Learn Italian While Driving at Any Skill Level
Are you ready to tackle Italian full throttle?
Could the phrase fast and furious be applied to your Italian?
(Of course, we only mean this in the figurative sense. Please drive safely!)
Why am I using car references in a post about learning Italian?
Because you can master Italian while driving your car!
Even if you are following a regimen to improve your Italian daily, it may sometimes be challenging to incorporate the language into all aspects of your life.
Sure, you can cook fantastic Italian food and attempt to create an Italian immersion environment.
But when your hands are busy doing other things, it may be hard (and dangerous!) to attempt to navigate even the most user-friendly Italian learning websites.
Keep your hands on that wheel and check out these six hands-off learning resources that will let you imparare in auto (learn by car)—that is, learn Italian while driving, safely and effectively!
Why Learn Italian in the Car?
In a world that is short on time and long on commitments and responsibilities, language learning is a demanding task: It takes time and consistency, and it is often unpaid.
Learning a new language like Italian is infinitely rewarding but sometimes it seems like there just is not enough time to study every day.
So, how do we maximize the amount of time we spend learning Italian?
By learning while driving!
Combining Italian with your commute optimizes your time and allows you to make use of precious minutes that might normally be wasted.
Just think about it: With a typical job, we drive to and from work twice a day, five days a week. That is like completing half an Italian course in just two weeks!
In fact, all you need is a car with a CD player or auxiliary hook-up to start learning during your drive time.
If you commute to work by train or some other public mode of transportation, you have even more options!
For instance, if you’re free to use your eyes in addition to your ears, you can watch the authentic Italian videos on FluentU. This immersive language learning program has bite-sized video lessons that you can complete in five to 10 minutes.
The videos you’ll find here are the type that native Italian speakers make and watch, like movie clips, music videos and news broadcasts, and the integrated subtitles (with on-demand definitions) and quizzes keep you engaged and actively learning throughout the process.
And if your train loses signal or goes underground, no problem: FluentU lets you download the transcript of any video and review it any time you’re disconnected from the grid.
But if your commute is in the car, the resources below will help you make the most of it!
Imparare in Auto: 6 Tools to Learn Italian While Driving at Any Proficiency Level
Now that the engines have started and the windows are down, let’s look at six resources that will drive you to Italian fluency.
LingQ is an app created by Steve Kaufmann for all levels of Italian learners. While the app offers content in many languages, Italian is one of its most developed language courses.
The free version is rather limited, but for around $10 USD a month, you can unlock all of LingQ’s features and capabilities.
LingQ gives learners a library full of Italian readings for all levels (beginners to advanced learners). Most of the readings have audio recordings, which you can add to a playlist and play during your commute.
Further, LingQ also has a built-in dictionary and flashcard-making feature. Simply read and click on a word you do not know, and it will auto-translate it. You can then add it as a LingQ (flashcard) to review later.
You should not do this while driving (keep those eyes on the road!), but it is a great way to review what you have listened to after you have parked.
Repetition and repeated exposure to Italian are the keys to proficiency!
While Driving—Languages Courses: Italian
Our next resource for learning Italian in the car is available from the Apple Store on iOS devices only, but it is a fantastic resource to learn Italian from scratch in your car.
This course is designed for beginners or those who have very little prior knowledge of the Italian language.
It includes mp3 audio lessons with written counterparts. The idea is to first encounter the material through audio format while driving and review it later in written format.
The audio lessons themselves include dialogues as well as grammar and vocabulary-building activities covering a wide variety of topics. In fact, the course boasts that it teaches 6,500 Italian words as well as 1,000 Italian phrases and expressions.
It also claims if you listen for 30 minutes a day while you drive, you can retain up to 2,000 Italian words!
These are great numbers to achieve as a beginner speaker!
Pimsleur Italian Conversational Course Level 1
Level one of the Pimsleur program is specifically aimed at beginners, with the option to buy subsequent levels as your Italian proficiency grows.
In this beginner course, there are 16 lessons that include over eight hours of audio on CD for car learning.
Each lesson has a basic Italian conversation as well as explanations of essential vocabulary and grammar structures. Topics include greetings, food, shopping and asking for directions—great topics for beginner Italian learners to sink their teeth into the language.
In addition to the audio lessons, you can download an Italian booklet with introductory readings. These are great to reaffirm the Italian you learn in the car as well as expand on your vocabulary.
Drive Time Italian: Beginner Level
Like our previous resource, “Drive Time Italian” is an audio course. While it is suitable for beginner learners, it can also be used by intermediate learners to review grammatical structures and vocabulary.
Developed by Living Language, this course is all audio and includes tutorials on pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.There are four CDs with four hours of audio divided into manageable chunks for convenient in-car learning.
Further, this course also includes a booklet with vocabulary lists, audio transcripts and grammatical explanations. This allows you to solidify your understanding of course material and review key grammatical explanations as well as vocabulary.
Italiano Automatico (Automatic Italian) is not so much a structured course as it is an ever-growing resource of Italian audio and video.
This resource is recommended for upper-beginner and intermediate learners as it is mostly in Italian. It offers a wide range of Italian courses, available for purchase in book and audio format.
Unlike most courses, Italiano Automatico aims to teach learners Italian from context and in natural settings. Instead of memorizing lists of vocabulary and grammar rules, the courses instead focus on Italian as it is actually spoken and uses an immersion-style experience to teach.
Further, Italiano automatico also has a podcast for intermediate learners which covers topics lifestyle, culture and language learning while teaching advanced vocabulary and grammar.
Although the podcast is entirely in Italian, it is spoken slowly and clearly for Italian learners. Some podcast episodes also have transcripts that you can review when you are out of the car.
Unlike the other resources on this list, TuneIn is not necessarily a website for learning Italian. Instead, it is a fantastic resource for advanced Italian learners.
TuneIn has the biggest collection of radio stations, all available for access on one convenient site. This also means that it has one of the biggest directories of Italian radio stations on the internet.
On this website, you can find stations from all over Italy as well as other places with Italian-speaking populations such as Switzerland and the US East Coast.
To access TuneIn, simply sign up and click on a station to start listening.
For example, you can access RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana or “Italian Radio-television”), Italy’s national radio station that mostly hosts talk shows and news. This station provides a great way to listen to spoken Italian as well as learn advanced Italian vocabulary related to politics, the economy and Italian culture.
If you are in a more “roll down the windows and blast some tunes” mood, Radio Italy Live is the station for you. It plays exclusively Italian music and you can access its playlist on the website as well as purchase and download the songs you want to listen to later.
Alright, Italian learner, gas up and get mastering Italian. Soon, you will be cruising at 100 words an hour!