Review of Fluenz Italian
Fluenz Italian 1+2 ($338 includes 2 DVDs, 2 audio CDs, and 3 books). Strictly speaking, Fluenz Italian is not an online course, since it’s delivered on CD and DVD with no download option (despite what other reviewers say). However, since it’s marketed online, I opted to include it in my rankings. Fluenz Italian may be the pure intellectual’s language course.
The design of the course is brilliant, the teacher (Sonia Gil, one of the company’s founders) is charming, and the developers are obviously sincere in their desire to teach foreign languages thoroughly and well. So why didn’t Fluenz come in first in my survey? Simple. I needed to learn Italian online SOON. I wanted to begin immediately and quickly attain a level of competency that would make me feel a sense of success.
You could do this with Rocket Italian – but not with Fluenz Italian. Fluenz is so intent on making sure you understand how Italian differs from English – the fine points of how its grammar and syntax are structured — that it could serve as an excellent foundation for students planning to attend an Italian university.
That’s all well and good, but given that I was traveling to Italy in six weeks, I didn’t have time for that! I needed to know how to say, “What time is it?” “I’d like an espresso, please.” “Where is the station?” – and be able to modify those questions to ask for a glass of wine and a good hotel. Fluenz could certainly teach you that, but not overnight – and in the meantime, you would be buried in explanations of how the Italian language works. In addition, Fluenz lacks any kind of online skill-building game, which you’ll love in Rocket Italian – not just because games are fun, but as an alternative means to language mastery.
All in all, I concluded that Fluenz Italian may be an appropriate way for people intending to move to Italy to learn Italian online, but it’s just too serious a course for those planning a relatively short stay. So I passed on the famous red box, and awarded Fluenz Italian second place in my rankings. If you need to learn Italian fast then I’ll recommend you give Rocket Italian a try.