The Best Way To Learn Italian Online Is Waiting For You

The best way to learn Italian online is a combination of videos, websites and apps that will help your journey to embrace the language and culture of Italy.

best way to learn Italian online - also use books

Using Books For Language Learning is Vital

There is no fast way to learn the language, you won’t be fluent in 30 days and I don’t believe you can effectively learn the language by watching Friends in Italian. I think the best way to approach it is to use all the arrows in your quiver and stay committed.

The Best Way To Learn Italian Online

It is a great time in which we live to learn a new language. With global communication being as ubiquitous as it is, with social media, podcasts and  videos all at your disposal, there is no shortage of tools you can use to learn Italian. The key is to use the things you are most passionate about.

Italian Language Online

Rick Steves Italian Phrase Book

Don’t go anywhere without one of Rick Steves’ amazing travel guides, and this phrase book will help you navigate Italy even better!

If you like to use apps on your smartphone, there is an almost endless supply of them. If you prefer reading, getting an Italian language book is as simple as ordering online and waiting a week (or so). If you, like me, enjoy a classroom setting for learning, there are some very good schools, and if they aren’t convenient for you, and as we had seen during the pandemic, there are some great video conferencing solutions to use. One other great thing about learning Italian are the passionate Italians who want to share their language with you either in-person or online. Your only limitation is figuring out which learning method works best for you!

What Is CEFR?

As you embark on this journey to learn Italian, there is one common way to measure your progress and level that you will hear discussed that might not be familiar to you. When people say: “I’m at a B2.” What they are referring to is the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR or sometimes CEFLR). This framework provides a common basis for describing your objectives, content and methods in learning a second language. Being in Europe, when you learn Italian they will most likely be using the CEFR, and if they are not, you might want to understand why.

There is a lot of information available about CEFR and it is a little too detailed for this blog post so I would recommend looking at the Council of Europe. At a really high level, this scale includes your ability to Speak, Read, Write and Listen in your foreign language of choice. It breaks down like this:

  • A – Basic User
    • A1 – Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases
    • A2 – Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance
  • B – Independent User
    • B1 – Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
    • B2 – Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.
  • – Proficient User
    • C1 – Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
    • C2 – Can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read.

By using this framework to measure your level of understanding of Italian, and for creating your personal learning plans, it keeps terminology consistent and objective. If you don’t know what I mean, search online for the meaning of Fluent. Every expert has their own definition which is convenient if you are selling a promise of reaching fluency.

The Best Way To Learn Italian Online For Free – YouTube

Alma Edizioni – Nuovo Espresso

Alma Edizioni makes my favorite Italian language learning books and Nuovo Espresso is great for beginners (A1). Definitely check this out!

While I don’t believe you can learn Italian only from watching YouTube, it can definitely be one of many effective tools. Hearing the language, learning grammar and vocabulary and getting reading recommendations are tremendously helpful. My favorite YouTube channel is Learn Italian with Lucrezia. She has been providing great content for a number of years and it includes grammar, vocabulary, dialogue and recommendations for books, movies and TV shows.

In addition to Lucrezia, I have also listened to Italian YouTubers that are not teaching a language but are speaking about topics that interest me. It helps to build vocabulary and improve listening skills. One travel vlogger I like is Nicolò Balini and his very fast and less formal way of speaking has been a fun challenge for me.

Another type of streaming that isn’t necessarily on YouTube can be found on ALMA.tv.

This site was created by the publisher of many Italian Language books I’ve bought over the years, ALMA Edizioni. The books are great, but there are also a ton of videos on ALMA.tv that cover grammar and culture. The videos are free, but you may need to create an account and be logged in to see them.

There are plenty of others. You just need to search for topics that interest you and I’m sure you will find a YouTuber with a ton of followers that you should check out.

Private Language Teachers

One of my favorite learning methods is using a private teacher. Over the years I’ve found my language skills developing at a much faster rate when I hired a private teacher. I’ve done this both online and in-person. In-person is probably the best way to do it, especially for a beginner, but overcoming geographical barriers by using Skype, Zoom or Meet can be effective as well.

If you haven’t heard of it, iTalki is a great tool for finding a teacher, taking one for a test drive and paying for the lessons. Everything is online, which gives you more options for native speakers, in different time zones and with different levels of formality of instruction.

Don’t Listen To Celebrity Polyglots

L’ITALIANO per l’arte

Sara has written an amazing book that combines learning Italian with Italian art that makes language learning fun!

A quick word about Celebrity Polyglots with YouTube channels. Some have good suggestions on how to learn and overcome challenges that you might encounter. Most of the popular YouTubers are also selling something, like an app, a book or the ‘secret’ to fast learning. Don’t waste your time. There are no shortcuts and your progress will be proportional to the amount of time you put in. It’s about the journey, and this includes learning the language.

Italian Language And Culture Resources

Here are some other language and culture resources that you might find helpful for your search for the best way to learn Italian online:

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