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Fluenz also has software for French, Spanish and Mandarin, while Rosetta Stone offers 30 other languages, including Swahili and Turkish.

In the end, I had more fun learning Italian using Fluenz. The software’s female instructor introduced each lesson and sought to evoke the excitement of Italy by sharing imagery such as sitting in an Italian class in Milan near the Duomo, or cathedral. Such mental motivation goes a long way toward keeping me interested in the lessons.

She also encouraged users to keep learning by telling us we can do it: “Italian is your friend,” she said. “I hope you go to Italy soon.”