Best iOS app to learn Italian
Italian, a Romance language spoken by about 64 million native speakers worldwide, has about 59 million people speaking Italian
in Italy itself (including Sicily and Sardinia, with half the population of Italy speaking standard Italian as a native language and the rest half speaking regional dialects and languages as their first languages, and Italian as a second language), and another 3 million people speaking it as a second language worldwide.
There are about 1.4 million Italian speakers in Romania, 829,000 in France, 666,000 in Switzerland, 618,000 in Croatia, 272,000 in Australia, 234,430 in Malta, 50,000 in Brazil, 25,000 in San Marino, and smaller numbers in other countries. There are also about 708,000 Italian speakers in the USA and 375,600 in Canada.
It is the official language of Italy, San Marino, and (together with Latin) Vatican City. Italian is a Romance language is spoken mainly in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia and Croatia. In Switzerland, it is spoken in Graubünden and Ticino cantons in the south-east. In Croatia, it is spoken mainly in Istria County in the northwest, and it is spoken in the neighbouring Istria region of southwest Slovenia. There are also Italian speakers in other countries, including Malta, Monaco, Romania, France, Eritrea, Somalia, Brazil, Australia and the USA.
Italian is a beautiful language, with Italian pronunciation considered to be incredibly appealing! Rich and charming, the Italian language is also regarded as the language of the Mediterranean sun and the sensual atmosphere it creates.
Today, I will introduce you to one of many apps on iOS that can help you learn Italian - Busuu.
The online language-learning app Busuu is placed somewhere between a complementary study app that you would use in tandem with a full classroom course, and an online program for self-study. It isn’t as rigorous or intense as Rosetta Stone, but it has more core learning content than apps meant primarily for studying, such as Memrise, TinyCards, or Quizlet. The app teaches Italian vocabulary about a range of subjects for all levels: family, free time and food for beginners; and more complex themes such as politics, nature and life choices for more advanced students. Every lesson begins with new vocabulary taught using flashcards and exercises involving matching up words, along with the chance to listen to dialogues by native speakers about the theme. For premium members, there is the option to talk with native Italian speakers and send them exercises to correct and so users can have a far more direct learning experience. As of now, it has a modest collection of languages, but the material contained therein is of very high quality. The app is polished and professional. Busuu is among the better free language learning apps, although its Premium subscription adds a lot and is worth the cost.
Busuu is extremely well organized and has a clear structure in language-learning courses. It has a dashboard where you can see exactly where you are in your course. This is especially great for beginners, who can evaluate their learning curve, knowing what they will learn today, vs what they are expected to have learned by now, and what they will learn next. The structure also allows for good scaffolding, meaning you learn by building on what you already know, rather than being exposed to random and unconnected lessons in grammar, vocabulary, and so forth. Busuu ensures what you learn tomorrow will be built on what you learn today, unlike other sandbox-like apps.
Busuu Premium, not only allows you to take a placement test if you have some prior knowledge of Italian, but also suggests a starting point for your studies at the end of the placement test. Busuu also educates you approximately how long it will take to learn good Italian.
Busuu’s Italian lessons cover the typical reading, writing, speaking, spelling, and generating language you expect in any language-learning course. Every time you complete a series of exercises, Busuu marks it complete on your dashboard, with the dashboard further prompting and directing you on which activities to do next. You have a choice to either move to the next set of exercises, or practise previously learnt lessons. With each lesson marked with a time estimate next to it, a learner is fully aware of approximately how long it will take. You can also take quizzes to test your knowledge.
Busuu offers top-notch design and an exceptionally great user experience. You can select special characters, such as letters with diacritical marks, from the screen whenever they are needed, without having to memorize any complex keyboard strokes. Busuu also offers learners a selection of possible answers to choose from, so as to avoid typing every word of an answer making exercises quick and interesting. There is only one ‘fill-in-the-blanks; exercise, where typing would be faster and efficient than selecting individual letters on the screen, but the app doesn’t let you type on this particular exercise.
If you find yourself repeating the same material a few times by mistake, in the mobile app, I suggest switching over to the web app, that clearly mentions what you would have finished and which lessons you must take up next.
Some exercises ask you to either speak and record an answer or to type it and submit it to the community for correction. Busuu will find someone who speaks the language you’re learning, and that person will provide correction and comments. In turn, you can give feedback to people learning languages that you already speak fluently.
Considering everything you get, Busuu Premium is reasonably priced and worth it for all the enjoyable features. When you pay upfront for a year-long subscription, it costs $69.99 (equivalent to $5.83 per month). Another option is to pay for a two-year subscription upfront for $119.99 (equivalent to $4.99 per month), although not everyone wants to commit to language learning for two years.
A six-month option for Busuu Premium is available for $59.99, which works out to the equivalent of $9.99 per month. That price is a little high, although it’s still in line with what other language learning apps charge. Yabla, for instance, is an online video-based language study program that also costs $9.99 per month. Babbel, another online language-learning app, costs $44.70 for a six-month membership, which is the equivalent of $7.45 per month. That said, I like Busuu more than Babbel because Busuu has a clearer lesson plan and better pacing and flow between lessons. And while Yabla is interesting, it’s not ideal for beginners, as many of the videos rely on some familiarity with the language.
It’s worth noting that Busuu costs about the same as Duolingo for its Plus account. Duolingo has been free since its inception, but in 2017 the app became ad-supported, and the company rolled out a $9.99 Plus option for people who use the mobile app.
Memrise is another language study app that’s free on mobile devices and the web, with a Premium account for $9.99 per month that adds a few perks.
The free Busuu app gives you only the tiniest taste of all the service has to offer. The Premium subscription has a lot more and is worth the price. The content is accurate and very well structured. Plus, being able to study more than one language is a huge value-add. I highly recommend Busuu as a study app to complement a language course taken in a school or other setting. For completely independent self-taught learning, busuu is still very good, but it’s not quite as robust as Editors’ Choice Rosetta Stone. For learners on a budget, however, it’s a much less expensive option.
The only competitor to Busuu is the free Duolingo language learning apps. That said, it’s very close in quality, and with Duolingo ready to sell a paid tier of service, Busuu could easily sway many language learners over to its app.‘Busuu: Learn Italian – Speak Italian’ is available for iOS and Google Play for Android.