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Saturday, January 22nd
Spend any time listening to the radio these days and you'll probably hear an ad for a language learning platform called Babbel (not to be confused with "babble" or "the Tower of Babel" !). The company was founded in 2007 and aims to help learners like you get on "the shortest path to real-life conversations" . And, it works: most students using Babbel say they felt comfortable having a simple back-and-forth interaction after using the platform for a few hours.
Lots of Italian lessons at all levels
Babbel offers one of the widest ranges of content we've found among many programs with Italian lessons: start all the way at the beginning as a Newcomer, in the middle as an Intermediate student, or go right to the Independent level and learn how to debate current events and topics! There are a total of six levels on the Babbel platform, each with its own set of lessons. For example, as a Newcomer you'll find two Courses, seven lessons in the first and 11 in the second; at the Pre-Intermediate level, there are five courses, each with nine lessons. Yes, that is a lot of content!
Your way, right away
And, beyond the leveled instruction on Babbel, you can also take specific courses for refreshing knowledge, grammar lessons with drills and exercises, countries and traditions, words and sentences, and listening/speaking exercises. Your language, your way: Babbel lets you select whatever you need.
Live classes with just 5 other students
Italian is one of four Babbel languages with the option for taking live classes. Access to the app features is included with any Live plan, so your only cost is what you pay for the classes themselves. You'll get unlimited class sessions no matter which payment plan you choose: $99 for month-to-month, $209 for 3 months, $359 for 6 months, or $599 for 12 months. Babbel Live never has more than six participants in any class session, and you can find instruction across all levels (Newcomer/A1 all the way through Advanced/C1). You book your classes online (preferably a few weeks in advance, to make sure you get a spot) and get small-group speaking practice with certified teachers. If being able to speak fluent Italian with a near-native accent is a top priority, you'll definitely want to consider using Babbel Live in conjunction with the app!
Create an account for free, try a lesson
When you create a free account with Babbel - either by clicking on the demo button at the bottom of the "About Us" page or by selecting Italian from the dropdown menu and clicking on "Start Learning" - you'll be asked some questions about why you're learning Italian and how much time you plan on committing to your studies. You'll then get access to a dashboard where you can check out the subscription options, learn about Babbel Live, or try a free lesson.
Change your level anytime
Not sure what level is best? Babbel has placement tests that can be accessed under the "Find your learning level" link. You can take Babbel's recommendation or choose your own: it's completely up to you. The first lesson is free for all six levels of Italian, so if you feel like you got in over your head (or you're underwhelmed!), you can change your level and try the next one up or down.
Plenty of listening, speaking, writing, reading, and grammar
No matter which one you use, your lesson will usually start out with some listen-and-repeat exercises; make sure you enable your microphone when prompted. Next, you'll get an unscramble-the-letters to generate those same phrases you learned, followed by a free-response section for added practice. Grammar lessons and cultural notes are peppered throughout your learning on Babbel.
Review how you like
Once you've worked your way through a lesson or two, you'll get prompts to review what you've studied. Babbel makes this review very flexible: you may want to do a quick flashcard session, do a listening exercise, or practice your Italian accent. Whatever you're in the mood for, you can do.
Membership costs vary
How much will it cost to get access to the full lesson content on Babbel? After many visits to the site, the best we can say is "it varies" . If you're a student, active/retired military, or a healthcare worker, your lowest price will come through the discount links at the bottom of the Babbel homepage. For everyone else, expect that your subscription will cost between $27-$42 for a 3-month plan, $46-$84 for a 6-month plan, or $75-$168 for a full year. Those costs represent the everyday pricing on the higher end, and discounted pricing on the lower end. Babbel has frequent promotions at the top of the site, and you can also expect discount offers in your inbox if you don't subscribe right away after signing up for the free account. All of Babbel's app subscriptions come with a 20-day refund policy.
5-star reviews from more than 12,000 users
Babbel gets lots of praise from students who have used it to learn Italian and many other languages. It's hard to argue with 12,000+ five-star reviews! A few customers complained about the short satisfaction guarantee period, especially the ones who didn't realize that their subscription would renew automatically at the end of the term, but those details are clearly spelled out on Babbel's site.
Obvious choice for well-rounded Italian lessons
Babbel offers the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to Italian lessons. You won't find another platform with as much content for all levels of fluency, and that covers all of the bases of reading-writing-listening-speaking-culture-grammar. Babbel is effective and affordable, easy to use and well-liked by tens of thousands of students across the globe: the obvious choice for a first-place ranking among providers of Italian lessons today.
Sight-seeing at the ancient ruins of Pompeii, a romantic gondola ride along the canals of Venice, or a visit to the art museums of Florence: if you're dreaming of a vacation to Italy, you would be in good company among the 94 million tourists who visit annually. In addition to being able to ask for directions or order your dinner without a hitch, there are many benefits to learning Italian before your trip.
If you're after a unique, more authentic experience in Italy, speaking the language can help you gain a deeper understanding of the culture, become friends with locals, and give you the confidence to explore places off the beaten track. Plus, Italian is an official language of other popular travel destinations, including Switzerland, San Marino, Slovenia, and Malta.
Italian is spoken by 63-85 million people around the world. Among tourists planning Mediterranean getaways, adults who want to find a use for their high school Latin, and people interested in reconnecting with their roots, Italian continues to be a popular choice for avid and casual language learners alike.
Aside from hopping on a plane and spending time in Italy, what's the best way to learn the language? Some of that depends on you! Are you most comfortable learning in a more traditional, structured way, with detailed grammatical explanations in English and lots of exercises for practice? Or would you prefer a smartphone app that you can use when killing time during your day, to do a quick flashcard session of key words and phrases? There are Italian lessons for each approach - and there's nothing stopping you from using several different services to get a good mix of materials.
Besides the overall teaching style, what other factors should you consider when deciding how to learn Italian? Keep these criteria in mind to help you choose:
To help you get the most out of your studies, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's best options for online Italian lessons. We're sure this information will help you find the right path for your language journey. Buona fortuna!
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