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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Italian Studies: Language

Rosetta Stone

As a student at the University of Illinois, you have access to Rosetta Stone! The program lets you  choose from a variety of languages to learn, including Italian, and will help you develop your writing,  reading, and speaking skills. It's an excellent tool to learn (or supplement learning) a new language.

To access Rosetta Stone on your computer, just click here and log in using your netid and password. If you'd like to use the program on your mobile device, follow the instructions on this page or those given after logging in. 

Apps for Your Phone and Computer

Beelinguapp is a free app exclusively for mobile devices and focuses on learning and practicing languages through reading. Within the app, you can listen and read stories in your language of choice, as well as follow along with its English translation. The side-by-side reading lets you check any vocabulary or sentences you don't quite understand. A variety of stories are available, including folk and fairy tales, mysteries, classics, and more. 

Access for Apple Devices            Access for Android Devices

Busuu is a free language learning app, providing access to lessons for twelve languages, one of which is Italian. The app uses the four main language concepts--reading, speaking, listening, and writing--and provides tailored lessons to aid in the learning process. Additionally, Busuu can connect users to native speakers, who can provide feedback on lessons, writings, and more. You can access the app on your computer or mobile device.

Drops is a free app that uses game-style mechanics to help you learn the language. The short, five minute lessons combine aesthetically pleasing word games with mnemonic devices. Drops also has a companion app, called Scripts, for learning character-based languages (or languages with a different writing system). While the basic app is free, there are also subscription options for more features. In addition to accessing the app on your device, you may also try it in your browser or download it to your computer.

Access for Apple Devices        Access for Android Devices

Duolingo is a free (yes, free!) language learning application that you can use on your computer or your mobile device. The app uses a game-like system to aid learning, letting you accumulate points for every correct answer, and even allowing you to compete against your friends. Small, short lessons make up a majority of Duolingo exercises, and the more you use the app, the more personalized your lessons become. There are a variety of languages available (with more being added every day), and no limit to how many you can learn! Best of all, you can practice your language skills wherever and whenever you want! 

Memrise is a free app designed to adapt to your needs as you learn a new language. It provides audio and video clips from native speakers to help with pronunciation, vocabulary building, and to grow your own speaking skills. Rather than focusing on grammar, Memrise prioritizes speaking confidently and learning how to communicate. 

Mondly is a free app that uses course materials, chatbots, and augmented reality to aid the language learning process. They have 33 languages to choose from, and even allows you to learn a new language using your native language, instead of from English. This is relatively unique amongst language apps. The free version of Mondly gives you a daily lesson as well as seven other "Hello" lessons. Like Duolingo, Mondly awards you points for correct answers, even ranking you among other users in a friendly competition.

Conversational Apps

HelloTalk is a language learning app that focuses on learning through conversation. The app connects you to native speakers of the language you wish to learn, as well as allows you to teach them your native language as well. You can communicate with them through messages, voice recordings, video and voice calls, and even drawings. Additionally, the app provides language tools to help with pronunciation, translation, and tools to correct grammar or vocabulary errors within messages.

Access for Apple Devices           Access for Android Devices 

Like HelloTalk, Tandem is a language exchange app that uses communication with native speakers to help teach or aid in language acquisition. After joining Tandem, users may start conversations with native speakers of the language they wish to learn. Communication methods include text messages and voice and video calling/recording. Additionally, there are correction and translation tools for users, so they can correct grammar and vocabulary while chatting with one another.

Access for Apple Devices              Access for Android Devices

Learn Italian via the News

Learn by Listening! Italian Podcasts

Coffee Break Italian is a podcast that focuses on learning the Italian language through a teacher, native speaker, and learner. Each episode is only 15-30 minutes, resulting in quick and easy lessons that you can listen to anywhere. The podcast is split into two seasons so far, with 40 episodes each: one for absolute beginners (season one) and one for intermediate speakers (season two). 

Con Parole Nostre is hosted by a group of friends who come together every week to discuss their lives and whatever may be going on in Italy. The podcast is a great way to hear an authentic and natural conversation between Italians and is relatively easy to follow. If you're having trouble following, you can download the podcast transcripts and follow along as they talk.

Though I Provinciali ended its run in 2018, it's still an excellent resource for learning Italian. The two hosts spend each episode going over news stories from small towns and villages all over Italy. In addition to news, the hosts go over the culture, celebrations, dialects, and food of whichever town they choose to discuss. 

Incontro Italiano is an excellent podcast if you want to learn about Italian culture while also brushing up on your vocabulary. Each episode covers various traditions, cultures, and foods of Italy, as well as information about the country and its history. 

News in Slow Italian is great for beginning Italian speakers. Each episode discusses current events around the world, and the hosts speak slowly to ensure that listeners understand what's being said. 

Veleno is great for advanced Italian speakers. The seven episode podcast follows a true crime story that will keep you at the edge of your seat while exposing you to new vocabulary. 

Grammars

Dictionaries

The Collins Italian Dictionary isn't just a dictionary. In addition to providing the latest and most useful Italian words and phrases, it also contains relevant culture notes and web addresses to help further your study of Italian. 

Note: the dictionary is available via Credo Reference, so you will need to log-in with your netid and password if you do not have the campus VPN downloaded.

Forvo is a free, online pronunciation dictionary. Users can upload audio of their pronunciations of various words; in fact, there are over six million words in more than 390 languages available through the website. To find the pronunciation for a word, you have several options: you can do a quick search from the front page, or you can specify which language the word comes from, and then search within those parameters.

Garzanti Linguistica is an Italian-to-English dictionary. Users can find translations and definitions in both Italian and English, as well as audio pronunciations for each word.

Oxford Language Dictionaries Online provides users with dictionaries for nine different languages, including Italian. You can search for a word in either English or Italian, with the ability to hear the pronunciation, too. There's also access to extra tools to help you learn Italian, including grammar guides and notes, writing help, and information about the culture of Italy, major celebrations, and useful phrases.

Note: you will need to log-in using your netid and password if you don't have the campus VPN downloaded.

WordReference provides free, online bilingual dictionaries and is an excellent tool for looking up translations you don't quite know. You may look up words in English to find the Italian translation or vice versa. WordReference also has access to verb conjugators and strives to provide as many words and phrases as possible, including idioms and sayings.

Textbooks at the UIUC Library

Open Access Textbooks

Conjugate Those Verbs!

Verbix is a useful resource for conjugating verbs, especially if you already know the infinitive. Just type in the verb you want help with, and you'll be given a comprehensive list of its translations, synonyms and antonyms, and even a translation and etymology of the word. 

Verbi Italiani will help you conjugate verbs from the infinitive and provides conjugation drills to help you improve your abilities. You will find conjugations for all regular and irregular verbs in every tense, as well as practice exercises for specific tenses or verbs of your choosing. 

Translation Tools

The Collins translator is a quick and easy translating tool. It will autodetect the language you're looking to translate from and will let you speak the word or phrase you wish to know using your microphone. There's also access to dictionary, thesaurus, and grammar tools.

Google Translate is a useful tool for translating phrases and words you're unfamiliar with. It will autodetect the language you type (or speak) in, and can dictate the translation to show you the proper pronunciation once translated. While it's a great tool for clarification on words and phrases you don't know, sometimes the translations are inaccurate and without context and sometimes there may be grammatical errors. That being said, Google Translate is a good tool for translating short phrases or single words.