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For those keen on mastering Italian, Busuu offers a holistic digital learning experience. Adopting a communicative methodology, Busuu's exercises are designed to equip learners with practical vocabulary and phrases, reflecting effective classroom teaching strategies. While the free version introduces learners to the basics of Italian culture and language, the Premium plan delves deeper, removing ads, and covering all core language skills. Particularly notable are Busuu's interactions with native speakers and its speech recognition feature, a boon for those hesitant to practice pronunciation.
Busuu is a well-known language-learning platform that aims to empower individuals through language acquisition. Whether you want to learn a new language for professional reasons or simply as a new skill, Busuu provides the path to fluency. The platform’s unique approach combines self-paced study with the opportunity to practice with a global community of 120 million native speakers, which has been proven to be highly effective in language learning. Let’s see how it performs for learning Italian!
What is Busuu?
Busuu, named after an endangered language from Cameroon, emerged as a platform offering affordable online language courses and interactions with native speakers. Through its innovative platform, Busuu facilitates language learning and fosters a global community where knowledge is shared.
Since its inception in 2008, Busuu has become a recognizable brand in language education, with over 500 global organizations, including Puma and DHL, trusting Busuu to deliver language learning programs for their employees.
Overview of learning Italian on Busuu
If you are interested in learning Italian, Busuu is a digital platform that provides a comprehensive language learning experience. Out of the 14 language courses offered on Busuu, the Italian course is designed to teach effectively to learners of all levels, from beginner to advanced. The platform is user-friendly and available on desktop and mobile devices.
While the free version of Busuu offers access to much of the functionality, including interactive flashcards, dialogues, and insights into the Italian culture, with the Premium plan, you can unlock features such as offline mode, grammar lessons, quizzes, community feedback, and personalized study plans.
Busuu emphasizes developing all four language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Speaking exercises, in particular, are possible thanks to one of Busuu’s standout features: its speech recognition tool, which helps users improve their speaking skills.
For those seeking extra guidance, there’s Busuu Live, which offers personal tutoring services. The choice here lies between Live Group Lessons, which are 45-minute sessions conducted by qualified teachers, and there’s an option for 1:1 lessons, but only if you own a Business account.
Lessons can be purchased in bundles of 1, 4, 8, or 12 live sessions at a time. The scheduling of these lessons is highly flexible to accommodate different time zones, with reminders sent 24 hours, 30 minutes, and 5 minutes before each lesson.
Features: How Busuu Italian works
Upon signing up, you’ll be asked to set your own learning goals, such as for travel, work, or personal enrichment. Busuu then creates a personalized study plan based on these goals. You will then complete a series of interactive exercises to reinforce what you have learned and have the opportunity to practice with native speakers within the Busuu community for feedback. It’s possible to submit both writing and speaking exercises for community review.
The lessons are structured to cover various aspects of the language, including vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and writing, and are designed around real-life situations for practicality. Busuu also uses a spaced repetition system to help learners retain the material and offers a speech recognition tool to improve pronunciation. With a Premium membership, you get access to additional features such as offline lessons, grammar lessons, and personalized reviews.
The Study Plan: The Study Plan on Busuu helps you make a personal plan to reach a certain goal in learning a language. You just need to decide what level you want to reach and how much time you can spend on it. Based on this, Busuu will tell you when you might reach your goal. You can change your Study Plan anytime in your settings. But, you can only have one Study Plan at a time since it’s better to focus on one language to reach your goal successfully. Your Study Plan ends if you delete it, make a new one, or when you get a certificate for the level you were aiming at.
Communicative Methodology: Busuu employs a communicative methodology mirroring successful language teaching strategies employed in classrooms. Each exercise within a course aims to equip learners with new vocabulary or phrases, ready for immediate application in writing or conversation.
Lesson Grouping: Lessons are grouped according to specific communicative themes, such as self-introduction, asking for directions, or restaurant interactions. This categorization facilitates the acquisition of phrases and sentences that learners can exercise in different practice activities.
Controlled Practice Activities: These activities encompass gap fills, multiple-choice queries, dictation, and sentence rearrangement tasks, aiding in the solidification of the learned material in a structured setting.
Free Practice: Free practice includes writing tasks corrected by native-speaking community members, and a private messaging feature enabling students to interact with language partners from the community. This aspect fosters interactive learning and real-world language application.
Self-Study Environment: Busuu is crafted to offer a comprehensive self-directed learning and language practice ambiance. The courses are curated by certified language experts, integrating the finest communicative classroom teaching principles into the course design.
Vocabulary and Grammar Lesson: Accompanied by audio, translations, and multiple exercises to enhance learning and retention.
Audio and Video Recordings: along with example sentences and dialogues, are provided to place vocabulary and grammar in context, aiding in comprehension and retention.
Voice Recognition: This feature aims to refine pronunciation by allowing learners to incorporate their voice into a dialogue and receive feedback from native speakers, which is essential for improving speaking skills.
Translations of key vocabulary, instructions, and grammar tips into 14 languages are provided to aid understanding and learning.
Talking and sharing with Busuu community members lets learners learn together. They can share their native language knowledge, correct others’ work, and get their exercises reviewed, creating a helpful cooperative environment
Course content: What will you learn with Busuu Italian?
There are three main courses offered to those who want to learn the Italian language: Complete Italian, Italian for Travel, and Italian Pronunciation.
Complete Italian: This comprehensive course is segmented into four sub-courses, spanning from beginner (A1) to upper intermediate (B2) levels. The beginner course is quite extensive, with 29 chapters, while the upper intermediate course is more concise, with 8 chapters. After each chapter, a checkpoint awaits, requiring you to score over 80% on a tailored quiz to complete the chapter at once.
Italian for Travel: This course is a compact bundle of essential Italian for travelers, encapsulated in two sub-courses: Beginner A1 and Elementary A2, with 4 and 3 chapters, respectively. The lessons are crafted to impart the basic terminologies frequently employed while traversing through the picturesque landscapes of Italy. For those at the nascent stage of Italian learning, it’s advisable to commence with Complete Italian to build a solid foundation before transitioning to this course.
Italian Pronunciation: The Italian Pronunciation course is comprised of 7 lessons. Each lesson explores the nuances of Italian pronunciation, elucidating the distinct sounds of letters like “c” and “g” and the phonetic alterations when paired with different letters. The course is well-balanced between listening, writing, and grammar exercises. The writing segment is kept to the essentials, which is something I like as it liberates time that can be redistributed to some more complicated grammar lesson.
How much does it cost to learn Italian on Busuu?
This free plan gives you access to lessons in all 14 languages offered by Busuu. The plan is quite limited in features but allows learners to get a taste of what Busuu has to offer before deciding on a paid plan.
The Premium plan offers a more comprehensive learning experience with features like community interaction and feedback from native speakers, offline mode, grammar lessons, AI-powered review lessons, and more.
Pricing for the Premium plan varies depending on the term length chosen:
- 1 Month: $13.95 per month
- 6 Months: $8.45 per month (billed every 6 months at $50.70)
- 1 Year: $6.96 per month (billed annually at $83.40) A 50% discount on the annual plan is available for the first year, bringing the price down to $41.70, which amounts to only $3.48 per month.
While Busuu does not offer a free trial, they have a 14-day money-back guarantee that allows you to experience the premium plans and request a refund within 14 days if the app does not meet your needs.
Busuu offers a student discount that provides 25% off the price of Premium plans. (Or three months for free for the annual plan). In order to get the student discount, you need to use your university email address.
Pros and cons of learning Italian on Busuu
Busuu offers a solid language learning platform with high-quality video recordings. The videos are particularly noteworthy due to the skilled actors involved. The content of each lesson is well-selected, providing useful knowledge to the learner in an engaging manner through high-quality content. However, some lessons might not resonate with every learner. For instance, while the stadium vocabulary is relevant in a football-loving nation like Italy, it didn’t resonate with me. That said, the content remains pertinent, and, in extreme cases, it is always possible to skip a lesson or two.
A point of contention was the speech recognition feature, which approved some words I intentionally mispronounced, raising my concern about its precision.
Last but not least, the platform’s interactive approach, allowing engagement with other learners and native speakers, is praiseworthy, though feedback can occasionally contain mistakes.
- Personalized Language Goals: Busuu allows you to set personalized language learning goals to keep you motivated and on track.
- Comprehensive Learning: It provides a balanced focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, ensuring a well-rounded language learning experience.
- Speech Recognition Tool: The speech recognition tool helps in improving your speaking skills, which is crucial for language learning.
- Community Interaction: The platform allows interaction with native speakers for feedback, which is invaluable for learning and improving your language skills.
- Engaging Lessons: Lessons are interactive and engaging, making the learning process enjoyable and effective.
- Offline Lessons: Downloading lessons and studying offline provides flexibility for on-the-go learning. (Only for Premium users)
- Limited Free Features: The free version has limited features, which might not provide a comprehensive learning experience.
- Possible Incorrect Corrections: There’s a possibility of receiving incorrect corrections from community members.
Who should try Busuu Italian?
Busuu’s design and features make it a suitable platform for a broad spectrum of learners, each with unique learning objectives and preferences in language acquisition.
Beginners to advanced learners: Whether you are a novice or an advanced learner, Busuu has courses tailored to various proficiency levels. This makes it a versatile platform for learners at different stages in their language-learning journey.
Travelers: If you are a traveler keen on acquiring essential phrases and vocabulary to travel the “Bel Paese”, Busuu offers a quick grasp of the basics, making communication in Italian less daunting.
Professionals: If you are a professional looking to learn Italian for career advancement, then you might find Busuu’s structured courses and practice exercises beneficial in achieving your language proficiency goals.
Anyone passionate about Italian culture: If you are passionate about Italian culture, cinema, or its world-renowned kitchen, Busuu can help you learn more about it through its language courses. The courses often touch on cultural topics, making learning more interesting and meaningful.
In conclusion, I would advise Busuu Italian to almost anyone interested in learning a new language online. The platform’s comprehensive design suits a wide range of learners, from beginners to advanced, for its exercises are well-curated and designed to improve all four language skills.
If you are not sure about what to choose, Busuu’s free plan helps you take the initial step and see whether Busuu aligns with your learning style and objectives, ensuring you make an informed decision about its suitability for your language learning goals.
And, at the very last, the most important factor in learning a new language it’s you and your willingness to practice and exercise daily, if possible, and for quite a long period.