If you're thinking about learning Italian, you might be wondering if Duolingo's Italian course is the course for you.
the beautiful languageis spoken bymore than 66 million peopleworld. It is an official language in several European countries and currently has more than 6.5 million students on Duolingo!
It's also the first language I've learned properly on Duolingo, so needless to say, I've spent a lot of time with the course over the years!
But does that mean Duolingo is good for learning Italian?
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about Italian on Duolingo.
- How the Duolingo Italian course is structured
- Special features
- Other features to consider
- The Pros of the Duolingo Italian Course
- The cons of the Italian course Duolingo
Ready to dive in?
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What You'll Find in the Duolingo Italian Course
If you're new to Duolingo, it's worth noting that all Duolingo courses are structured the same way.
They all follow what is commonly known as thelesson tree. You can see an example of the Italian tree below:
- The tree is divided into a set ofunits.
- Each unit has a set ofskills(the modules).
- Each skill has up to 6crown levels.
- And each crown layer has a set oflessons.
The basic objective is to work your way up the tree completing each lesson... each level... each skill... each unit.
In March 2022,The Duolingo Italian course has a total of 4 units, divided into a total of66 skills. That means there are330 crown levels on the Duolingo Italian course(o396if you include thelegendary levels).
The Italian course also has somebonus skillsyou can buy it from the Duolingo store. These focus on idioms and flirting.
The exercises in the Italian course are basically the same as in all other courses. Some of the common exercises you'll encounter include:
- complete the translation
- Mark the correct meaning
- picture cards
- Select the missing word
- random order
- say this sentence
- touch us stops
- play what you hear
Does the Italian course on Duolingo have any special features?
While English speakers can learn nearly 40 different languages on Duolingo, it's important to note that not all courses are created equal.
Some courses have special features that others don't.
Some of them includestories,audio lessonsypodcasts.
In March 2022,Duolingo Italian course has 51 stories, but it doesn't have audio lessons or podcasts.
These are basically funny stories entirely in Italian designed to improve your reading, listening and speaking skills. You go line by line, occasionally answering questions to make sure you know what's going on.
They are great for students of all levels; therefore, after unlocking the first batch, you can enter at any time.
There is also a conversation mode in some of the stories, which allows you to participate in the story by reciting what one of the characters says.
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Other features of the Duolingo Italian course
The Duolingo Italian course is based on the same material as all other Duolingo language courses.
We won't go into too much detail here, but some of the features worth knowing about include:
- EXP– As you progress through the Duolingo Italian course, you will earn experience points, more commonly known as XP. You'll earn XP for almost everything you do. Some lessons, tasks and exercises will give you more XP than others.
- Illness– Every week you will join a league with other Duolingo students. There are 10 leagues to work in, starting with Bronze and ending with Diamond. Leagues are basically leaderboards - just earn more XP than others in your league for a chance to win.
- exasperated– XP and crowns aren't the only things you'll earn while learning Italian. You'll also earn Gems, which you can spend on Duolingo.Replacement. There really isn't much you can buy here, but you can use your gems to pick up things like Streak Freezes, additional abilities, Timer Boosts for timed challenges, and some costumes for the owl.
- Friends– Duolingo is a social experience, so you can follow other users and compare your progress. Duolingo guys calculate that you are 5 times more likely to finish the course if you follow people! For starters, feel free to follow me: my username isDCiiiee!
- Duolingo Plus– This is Duolingo's premium subscription. Pay for Plus and you get access to some useful features, including unlimitedhearts, no ads andpractice center.
Is Duolingo good for learning Italian?
Now to answer the most important question:Is Duolingo good for learning Italian?
Let's consider some pros and cons.
suitable for beginners
Learning a new language can be quite intimidating, especially if you only speak English.
That's why one of the best things about Duolingo is how accessible and welcoming it is.
No matter what language you're learning, Duolingo presents its courses in a truly warm, vibrant and inclusive way. So whether this is your second language or your tenth, you can feel comfortable right away!
Fortunately for English speakers, Italian is also probably one of the easiest languages to learn. You don't have to worry about things like capitalization or different writing systems, and pronunciation isn't *that* difficult once you get used to rolling the R's!
Duolingo makes it even easier to present your courses. You'll find helpful hints for each skill, and if you're in doubt, you can tap the words to get some hints.
Duolingo's Italian course also comes with the usual placement test when you start, so you can be sure you'll start your tree from a place that's comfortable for you.
This is one of Duolingo's prominent features and is only available in some of its courses.
Fortunately, Italian is one of them!
One of the best things about Italian stories is that they are really interesting and funny! Duolingo has great writers!
They are so good that reading them doesn't feel like work. However, all the while, your reading comprehension and listening is increasing more and more!
And while the stories aren't on the same level as some of the other Duolingo courses (more on that in a second), they're still a HUGE selling point for the Italian course.
I recommend getting into them ASAP!
Related:Duolingo Stories – The COMPLETE Guide – What you need to know
This doesn't just apply to the Duolingo Italian course, it's the same for ALL of them!
One of the best things about Duolingo is that it's more than just a language learning tool.
it's also a game. And while this isn't everyone's preference, it's a big part of why so many people show up every day to take their daily classes.
For everything you do in Italian, you'll earn XP (experience points) that will contribute to your position in the weekly leagues.
Now that's not something you should takealsoseriously (you can read more about whyhere) but if you take it easy, it will definitely make your Italian much more enjoyable.
Because ultimately, the more you like something, the more likely you are to do it. And since learning Italian will require you to perform regularly for a long time, Duolingo could be the perfect solution.
Another great thing about Duolingo is thatthe Italian course is 100% free.
There is a premium subscription, Duolingo Plus, but this is not something you need to complete the course. Everything is completely free; Plus, it just adds a few features that make things a little smoother.
This is great if you're just dabbling in Italian and not ready to commit yet. But also if you are interested in starting to use the language, but don't want to pay for a special software or monthly fee.
I think you've seen the owl memes?
Yes, the owl can be *a little* aggressive at times, pestering you all the time to get you to take your daily Italian lessons!
But relax, contrary to popular belief, he's not going to kidnap your family any time soon!
No joking,Duolingo is great for keeping you motivated.
Learning Italian takes time. It's not something you're going to learn overnight.
According toUnited States Foreign Service Institute, approximately 600-750 "class hours" are needed to achieve "Professional competence at work" in Italian.
So yes, if you are going to learn Italian, you have to do it for the long haul!
That means creating an unbreakable habit. And Duolingo is amazing for doing this.
Let's put it this way: my current streak (i.e. the number of days in a row I've used Duolingo) goes back to May 2016.
And it's not just because I'm a little obsessive! It's because Duolingo is a great way to stay motivated!
very short course
Although Italian is currently the sixth most popular course on Duolingo,the course itself is too short.
It only has four units, which is less than half of what you get in courses like French and Spanish.
Although each skill has up to 6 levels, you can beat them all in a very short time.
I completed the Italian tree for the first time in 2016 and managed to do it in about a month. And while Duolingo has updated quite a bit since then, there still aren't many branches on the tree.
This means that while Duolingo is great for getting started with Italian, you'll need to look further afield if you want to make any significant progress.
not good at talking
This is the case for most language courses on Duolingo.
Duolingo is great for getting to grips with the listening and reading side of a language. You even have a chance to practice your pronunciation.
But when it comes to speaking in a real-life environment, the Duolingo Italian course won't take you alone.
The problem is that speaking exercises are notconversationexercises. You get a little practice in the stories' conversation mode, but that just involves reciting what the characters say. You don't really come up with your own answers.
Speaking is a skill in itself and to learn it you will need to practice it regularly, preferably with a native speaker, or at least using a program that has conversation scenarios (likeSpanishPod101).
The stories are not as good as other courses.
I was really excited to see how stories were going for the Italian course in 2021. Considering how popular the course is, they were definitely behind schedule.
And while they definitely improve the course, unfortunately, they don't reach the heights of stories in other courses such as French, Spanish and German.
One reason is that there simply aren't many. As of March 2022, there are only 51, which is quite low compared to the French course, which has almost 300!
Another reason is that they just don't read as well as some of the other courses. French stories are full of life with real voices. Whereas the Italian stories seem to be being read by robots.
They're still good, but they could be so much better.
If you've read any of my other articles, you know that one of the things I don't like about Duolingo right now is thecardiac system.
Hearts are basically lives or chances. You start with 5 and then lose one every time you make a mistake.
If you lose all of your heart, you will not be allowed to advance on your course until your heart is replenished.
You can watch an ad to get one back, do a practice session, spend some gems, or wait 5 hours.
It is far from ideal, asdoes the pointless thing of punishing you for making mistakes.
Which, to me, is ridiculous, as mistakes are absolutely essential and unavoidable when learning a language.
So keep this in mind as this can be very frustrating.
Whether you're a complete beginner or just wondering about learning Italian, then Duolingo's Italian course is definitely a great place to start.
You will learn the basics of the language, get familiar with the pronunciation, learn a good useful vocabulary and see the language in action in 51 mini-stories.
You'll also have fun working on the course while competing in weekly leagues and alongside your friends!
By the end of the course, you will certainly be more advanced than when you started (I speak from experience!).
However, as the course has only 4 units,You will also need to use other resources if you want to achieve fluency.
On its own, Duolingo's Italian course could probably get you up to the A2 level in reading and listening (as long as you're also passively learning enough).
A good tool to use, whether in conjunction with Duolingo or after completing the course, isSpanishPod101.
ItalianPod and Duolingo complement each other beautifully as they both focus on areas the other does not. Duolingo is great for reading and writing stuff, while ItalianPod is great for improving listening and speaking.
With ItalianPod you will also get essential resources such as grammar packs, cultural insights and you will learn the most common 2000 Italian words, so by the end of the course you will be able to understand up to 80% of all conversations in Italian.
When used together, Duolingo and ItalianPod give you everything you need to reach a comfortable level of Italian.
if you are new to italian...
I recommend taking the Duolingo placement test, finding out what level you are at, and working on the first few units in the tree. This will familiarize you with the basics of Italian.
At the same time, I would recommend taking advantage ofItalianPod Free Trialto familiarize yourself with the sound of the language, learn some useful phrases and cultural insights, and practice speaking as quickly as possible.
Once you've completed the Duolingo course, I recommend coming back every day to keep the streak alive (habit is SO important when learning a language) and start moving from intermediate to advanced packages on ItalianPod.
Finally, make sure you have enough passive exposure to Italian as well. It's really important to experience the language in an authentic environment, like TV shows, music, books, real-life conversations, so you can see how everything you learn on Duolingo and ItalianPod works in the real world.