Italian 101: There’s an app for that.

Imagine you decide to book a trip to Italy. You’re super excited to go and figure that it would be fun to learn the language before your journey. So, you do what anyone else trying to learn a language does…you buy some books, you download some apps, you listen to podcasts and you practice, practice, practice. But let’s say you’re like me and have great intentions of learning the language but you can’t find the time needed. Maybe it’s harder to learn a language than you thought. Are you going to cancel your trip?? Heck no! You’re going to board that flight and take your phone along. If you haven’t mastered the basics, don’t worry. There’s an app for that.

After thinking about some comments made by Kristina on my “Italian 101: Italian on the go? Not so much” post and reflecting on my experience with trying to practice but having limited access to the internet I decided to see if I could find any apps that would be useful offline. Most of the apps I found I would recommend mostly for travelling as opposed to learning by using them, but you could certainly make use of them to learn from. Almost all of them are available with no internet connection which is very helpful for anyone with no internet connection or limited connection.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 5.15.37 PMLearn Italian Words – Must have internet connection, it’s a free app, recommended for learning, beginners to advance

The app is full of lessons ranging form beginner to advanced. Lessons consist of videos with pictures, audio and text. There are comprehension lessons in which you can listen to dialogue and answer the question asked at the end to check for understanding. At the end of the comprehension exercise it plays the audio again with the Italian and english text showing on the screen. I found this to be really helpful. I am still not strong enough with my listening skills to understand everything that is being said, so seeing the text while listening is really beneficial. This would be the only app that I am reviewing today that I would recommend for learning and not for travel.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 5.10.49 PMSpeakEasy Italian – Free, can access with out internet connection, recommended for beginners, recommended for travel more than learning

This app would be extremely beneficial while travelling for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because it works offline meaning you don’t have to use any data to use it. This would be really helpful when travelling abroad if you are in locations that don’t have free wi-fi. The second reason is that it provides you with the essential phrases that you would need to get around and ‘survive’ while travelling in Italy. I put survive in quotations because if like me your native language is English 34% of Italian people can speak English as well so chances are if you need help you would be able to find someone who also speaks English. However if German is your native language this app might be more handy because only 5% of Italians speak German. I was able to get around Italy twice without knowing anything more than Ciao, Grazie and Arrivaderci but it would have been way more fun to use some more language and learn along the way. This app would be a big help in practicing the language while travelling.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.56.59 PMItalian Verbs – $1.99, access with no internet connection, recommended for advanced learners, recommended for learning not travel

This app was basically useless to me. It is strictly a verb conjugation app which for me has a little purpose in my learning. I would say this is for more advanced learners. The biggest downfall is that you can’t search for a verb using the english translation. You need to know what the english verb translates to so that you can find it on the app. Having not a lot of language skills this made it very difficult for me to use. I wouldn’t recommend this to any beginners.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.56.54 PMItalian English Dictionary – Free, can be used without internet access, recommended for beginners, recommended for travel more than learning

This app is a mix between the Italian Verbs and SpeakEasy Italian. You are able to search for any word you want to in English and it will provide the Italian translation. You can also see the conjugates for each verb which is helpful too. There are a variety of phrases that are included in the free version which would prove to be very useful when travelling. If you were using this app to learn the language on it’s own it might not be that useful because there isn’t really any way to practice without simply reading the phrases over and over. But for travelling I would give this a huge thumbs up!

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.57.50 PMBravolo Italian Phrasebook – Free, works without internet access, recommend for travel, recommended for beginners

This is a great app that includes a variety of useful phrases. Just like the others that can be used offline it would be really helpful when travelling. You can select the theme for the phrases and select the phrase you want to see in English. It will then give you the translated text and provide audio to hear how to say it in Italian. You may slow down the pronunciation as well but I find that it actually pronounces it nice and slow to begin with so I don’t usually have to slow it down. Another highly recommended app for travel. I would recommend purchasing the full app so that you have access to more phrases though.

If you are travelling to Italy I would highly recommend downloading some of these apps. I would suggest the Italian English Dictionary and SpeakEasy Italian the most.

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3 thoughts on “Italian 101: There’s an app for that.

  1. Extensive list Ashley – thanks for sharing! I will definitely be downloading a few of these before leaving this summer.

    Are you feeling better about your practicing this week?

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  2. I was doing great with my practice last week…until the weekend haha. Seems to always go that way. I made it up to 35% fluency on Duolingo but I’m sure it has dropped as I know have about 8-10 skills I need to strengthen. I will be discussing my skills in my final review but I am still not fluent and find it really difficult to form sentences. I constantly have to look words up still. I am very good at reading sentences and putting them together on Duolingo but feel lost on my own. Are you going to Italy this summer??!!

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  3. There are so many resources Ashley. You seem to have a handle on things. I have felt overwhelmed with all the resources for German. It was hard to focus my attention this semester because of the abundance.

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