Babbel Italian Full Review (Does it Work?) - Live Fluent

Babbel Italian Full Review (Does it Work?)

Babbel is fairly well known name in the language learning world. The company is known for its online/app based courses which have over 1 million users throughout the world.

Like most companies Babbel creates its courses with mostly beginners in mind. In our Ultimate Babbel Review we weigh the biggest pros and cons of Babbel courses. In this post we're simply looking at how well Babbel teaches the Italian language. 

Hope you like! 🙂 

Review of: Babbel

Use: Language learning course & app

Effectives

Provides a solid foundation of grammar and vocabulary in a foreign language

Price

Monthly subscriptions starting at $6.95 per month

Time Commitment

1 Lesson takes around 10-15 minutes

Ease of Use

 Extremely user friendly

Structure

Courses sorted by categories like Grammar, Beginner, Words & Phrases, etc

I Like

  • Good for basic vocabulary
  • Good for practicing difficult grammar
  • Low price 
  • Easy to use

I Don't Like

  • Less popular languages have less content
  • Doesn't develop conversation skills
  • No material past intermediate levels

Summary

Babbel Language courses are online/mobile courses built around quiz styled lessons. Users are shown new material (grammar, vocabulary, etc), and then they are asked questions throughout the lesson to reinforce the new information.

Babbel works well as an introduction to a foreign language. Courses range from beginner level to intermediate, but less popular languages only have beginner material. The courses are straightforward and easy to use and can be a great addition to your language learning routine. 

Babbel's low price tag is also a plus. It's most expensive price point is $12.95 for a one month subscription, which is much less than higher end courses like Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone. ​

Babbel's shortcoming is that it doesn't prepare you very well for real life conversations. You simply aren't required to think of your own words or phrases, you usually pick an answer from a predetermined list. 

Still with it's functionality, effectiveness (especially at beginner levels), and low price Babbel stands as an appealing option in the world of language learning tools. ​

Monthly subscriptions starting at $6.95 per month

Is Babbel Italian right for you?

Yes

If you're new to Italian (or a low-intermediate)

Babbel courses (Italian included) are tailor made for people with little to no experience in language learning. They are designed to lead you through essential grammar and vocabulary.  If you complete Babbel Italian you can except to be at or close to a B1 level of proficiency in the language. 

If you want to a good foundation in Italian

Babbel at its best is a good way to learn and reinforce Italian grammar and vocabulary. The course as a whole won't leave you fluent but it will leave you with a functional level of Italian and a working knowledge of the language. 

No

If you have a high level of Italian

We say this a lot but it can't be denied: Babbel simply doesn't offer advance lessons in their courses. They have loads of content for beginners and for the most popular languages (like Italian) a fair amount of pre-intermediate work as well.

After that there's nothing that would appeal to or really help anyone who is already an advanced student.  

If you're only concerned with speaking Italian

Babbel does a decent job of teaching vocabulary and grammar, but it doesn't quite prepare its learners to speak fluidly. Throughout the course you will be required to respond to questions based on a small list of possible answers.

Unfortunately this way you may remember what you learned, but you're not practicing the kind of recall needed to improve you're speaking ability. It would be better if Babbel had some lessons that required you to provide more original responses. 

Pros and Cons of Babbel Italian

Pros

It's a great way to practice Verb conjugations

Like its sister languages in the Romantic family Italian verbs are conjugated. If you're a native English speaker and Italian is your first foreign language this could be confusing at first, as you're probably not used to verbs changing so much based on who is performing the action.

A detailed video about Italian verb conjugations

Babbel's Italian course has individual lessons for both regular and irregular verb conjugations. In these lessons you'll be shown the rule and common exceptions of how a specific type of Italian verb should be conjugated. Then for the rest of the lesson you practice making that conjugation.

Focusing on one class of verbs at a time like this is an excellent to get comfortable with Italian verbs and without forgetting them.

It's a great way to learn the tenses in Italian

Another difficult aspect of the Italian language for native speakers are the verb tenses, particularly the perfect and imperfect tenses. This is because we don't use verbs in quite the same in the English language. 

Babbel Italian has an entire mini course on verb tenses. Much as with verb conjugations, focusing on tenses individually is a great way to master them. 

There's a lot of lessons

For less popular languages like Danish and Russian Babbel skimps on their language lessons and only provide content for beginners. With more popular foreign languages (like Italian), they offer a wealth of intermediate lessons too. 

There are more than 60 Italian "mini courses" within Babbel Italian and all have anywhere from 10-20+ individual lessons. If you decide to learn Italian with Babbel you'll get some could mileage out of it. 

Cons

Not much help with pronunciation

Babbel Italian does have a voice recognition component. Often you'll be asked to say a word or phrase to answer a question. However how well the system works is questionable.  

On a very general level it will recognize you say the word correctly, but it won't do anything to develop your accent. You can say any Italian word with a thick American accent and it will still be considered correct. 

What other people are saying about Babbel Italian

 Aiste Abraityte 

LearnItalianlanguageonline.net

quote-left

 ...most Italian learners can benefit a lot from a course like Babbel. While it doesn’t include in depth explanations on grammar, it is sufficient for progressing confidently with this foreign language. Since it teaches essential vocabulary for getting around in Italy and there is some culture information included, Babbel can work well for learners who are studying Italian for traveling purposes. 


Also lessons in Babbel are very short and it is possible to study while on the move (app), which makes this course suitable for busy Italian learners too. The price of Babbel Italian course is also relatively low ​so you can try this course without spending too much money.

Alternatives to Babbel Italian

Duolingo is an effective course that teaches languages in the format of a game.  Research has shown that it to be very effective at teaching grammar and vocabulary, and best off all it's completely free!

Italianpod101 uses primarily audio lessons in a podcast format. It has flashcards, vocabulary, and word sheets. It's a great to learn grammar, vocabulary, and to develop pronunciation. 

Italki is an online market place that connects language learners and language teachers. The site allows you to book individual language lessons with a teacher over Skype. There are 250+ professional Italian teachers and informal tutors on Italki.

FluentU provides native Italian videos with a built in subtitle and vocabulary system.  You can watch real Italian videos (commercials, tv clips, music, etc) and learn words in a real life context. It also has its own flashcard system and other learning resources. 

Final thoughts

If you're a new Italian learner who wants a good introduction to Italian grammar and vocabulary then the Babbel Italian course is worth considering. Though it doesn't have lessons for advance learners, and it struggles to improve pronunciation and speaking skills, it's low price and effectives at teaching the basics make it an appealing option. 

With a no questions ask 20 day money back guarantee it's a good idea to check out Babbel Italian and see if it's right for you!. 

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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