Italki: Learning Languages With Humans Is Better Than Apps

Posted By Debbie on November 16, 2017

I wanted to learn Italian. I got some books. I wasn’t sure I was pronouncing anything right. I was frustrated.

I tried apps. They seemed to mostly believe you’ll learn a language by repeating “the boy eats an apple” over and over (in Italian). Great! I can say that. How do I say I eat an apple? They eat apples? No idea. But if I repeat il ragazzo mangia la mela enough, I can say just that.

Another app wanted me to repeat pieces of a conversation over and over. The conversation was hey lady, do you speak English? No, not much. OK.

Well, now I can say excuse me lady do you speak English in Italian. And then whatever her answer is, I’m stuck. I can’t say anything else.

I don’t know who learns awesomely this way but it’s not me.

I don’t need “I’m visiting Italy for one day on a cruise ship and just need to ask where the ham sandwich is” Italian. I really want to learn Italian and be a fluent speaker.

I was watching a YouTube video when the guy said to check out Italki. Humans! Humans with advanced uni degrees! Humans who are pro, full time language teachers and professors doing more teaching in their spare time!

You pay by the hour. Italki has a whole booking/appointment system built in. You pay with “credits” which don’t make much sense but they translate to money so in the end it doesn’t matter.

Yes, this is for me!

I picked Dr Beatrice Ferrara in Naples and she’s been beyond amazing. Fun, helpful, adjusts things for me and my style. Has lessons that match my needs. Goes along with my wacky sense of humour.

If I want my answer to, “Are you married?” to be “never again!” she teaches me that. If I’m asked to describe a girl reading a book and I want to say, “She’s planning a revolution,” Beatrice laughs and teaches me that. Maybe we go off on a tangent and conjugate “to plan” since she knows I like to learn verbs by knowing the conjugation.

Yes, Beatrice is a pro and has a real plan. But she adjusts it for me and that’s super fun. Not everybody learns the same way and I appreciate someone adjusting for her audience/student.

How’s my Italian coming?

It’s still early and I’m nervous to use it with real Italians. I can say very simple things mostly in the present tense. I know a bit of past tense. I get articles and prepositions very wrong. Italian is not as much like Spanish as I had hoped so this is a bigger learning curve than I expected.

I will get there! I have a great teacher and lots of chances to practice when I’m comfy.

If you’re like me and you learn better from a qualified human who is listening, helping, and adjusting, throw away your apps. Find a professor on Italki and really get learning.