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Any recommendations on best self study courses for Italian?

Any recommendations on best self study courses for Italian?

Old Oct 25th, 2004, 06:53 AM
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Any recommendations on best self study courses for Italian?

I have over a good year in which to study, so could even do a couple different courses. However, has anyone found what they consider the "best"?
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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If you have a good year, then a computer based immersion course would be best.

If you only have a bad year, then a computer based immersion course would be best.

--Marv
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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;-) HA! Ok. If I have a so-so year, somewhere in between good and bad, I have to assume the same answer! BUT, do you have a specific computer based immersion course you would recommend?
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 02:38 PM
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I have been using the Pimsleur CD's in preparation for my Christmas trip.

There are 3 series (Italian 1, Italian 2 and Italian 3). Each series contains 16 CD's with 2 lessons on each CD. The last CD in each series contains readings. I am only on Italian 1, lesson 8. I should get through the first series before my Christmas trip and be somewhere in the second series. What you get is basic phrases--not the ability to discuss Michaelangelo in Italian. I have used Pimsleur Russian before with some good results. The technique for each of the series (and the words learned) is fairly similar.

The advantage of Pimsleur is that you can run the CD's in the car when off on errands, commuting, etc., so you are learning in otherwise wasted time.

For a more systematic study, you might want to consider the Rosetta Stone programs.
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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Thank you, F.S.M.! Christmas isn't that far off. I'm going to post a note to myself on my reminder system to bump this thread to the top and hope you see it. It will be especially beneficial to see after the trip how well you think the first series and part of the next served you. I have read about the Rosetta Stone. I don't recall the price, but it seemed pretty steep. But, I may have time to do two different series, that is, Pimsleur, and Rosetta. By serendipity, I checked out Pimsleur on audio tape from my libary this weekend. It's the abbreviated course. Maybe it's series 1. Not sure. I've listened to the first lesson, both sides of 1 tape. It seems quite useful. Again, thanks for you recommendations, F.S.M.
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 10:18 PM
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Actually, I may be going to Italy twice this year. The second time would be in May-June for a 12 day cruise of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands; that cruise has been postponed several times because I keep getting home exchanges for the time slot; I finally decided that I either have to give up on ever taking the cruise or just go ahead and do it.

I am going to continue working with Pimsleur Italian up through the second trip. I will let everyone know how it went. The course is focussed on being a functional tourist. You learn limited useful vocabulary.

When I am done with the Italian, I am going to tackle Spanish. The plan is to do Pimsleur all the way through in the car, but work with Rosetta Stone's Latin American Spanish courses at the same time. Since I would use Spanish at work, I can deduct all the Spanish language materials. A friend of mine has been on my back about the Spanish because she knows I like fooling around with languages and they do need more Spanish speakers at work. I speak French very well (but certainly not 100% fluent with idioms, etc.). It is the only foreign language which I really can say that I do speak.

Italian is proving much easier for me than the Russian was even though I studied Russian for a year in high school.
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 10:40 PM
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I only have a couple of months till my trip. I'm not a very quick study, but I have found a pretty good way to learn some of the importqant phrases. My daughter and I are going to Rome together so we are e-mailing each other and using Italian as part of our e-mail. Hope this will help a little. Buona giornata, Brenda
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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 10:50 PM
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Try the language CD's by Michel Thomas. He claims to have taught Princess Grace of Monaco to speak French before she married Prince Ranier. I tried the French one and am now eorking my way throught he German one.
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Old Nov 12th, 2004, 07:34 PM
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I spent about 3 months going through the Pimsleur lessons. They are quite expensive, but our public library had them available for checkout and I listened while commuting. There are some reading lessons that you will want to complete as well. They will make pronouncing the words you have to look up in a dictionary much easier. On a recent trip to Italy, I was pleasantly surprised that I could communicate quite easily. I was understood, and more importantly, I could understand the replies. I took along a tourist phrase book for additional vocabulary and got along fine.
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Old Nov 12th, 2004, 07:45 PM
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I agree with the posters who recommended Pimsleur. I borrowed the sets from my public library, and really found I learned enough to ask directions, order, buy items, etc. The repetition really works well. I've used them for both Italian and French, and now I want to learn Spanish. I seem to have an ear for languages, and it's fun!
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Old Nov 12th, 2004, 08:05 PM
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I've got to give it to you guys, I am amazed at how easily some people pick up a foreign language.

I've been studying Italian with a private tutot once a week for 18 months, have tapes in my car, language CD on my computer, and I still don't have bragging rights. I have an above-average IQ, and I really want to conquer this language. I get high marks on my tests, and still feel inhibited speaking the language. Maybe I am "language-challenged."

Buona fortuna, CapriAnniversary!

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Old Nov 12th, 2004, 09:00 PM
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I_am_kane, I should probably not be posting this but, well spoken Italians even cringe at the undereducated Itaians speech.

In one sense Italian is easy. In another sense it is very difficult.

But any traveler that takes the time to learn enough to communicate with Italians in Italy is admired to a high degree.

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Old Nov 13th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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LoveItaly: Oops, I meant tutor, not tutot. Italian is a beautiful, melodic language. It is also the language of opera.

Also my teacher will not let me mispronounce an Italian word...I am immediately stopped and corrected by her, which is absolutely the right thing to do. Better to be corrected during the learning process than developing bad habits on my own. IMO that is one of the dangers of self-taught courses. There isn't an expert sitting across from you, guiding you, and giving you constructive criticism. For example, I tend to fall back on my long, English "a," not the soft Italian "a" (ah). Without the teacher stopping me, I would never "hear" myself speaking it incorrectly.

As I said before, my hat is off to those who can master a language with less effort than I.

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Old Nov 13th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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Pimsleur is great to learn phrases through repetition. It is not great at explaining why phrases change from situation to situation (gender, number, verb tense, pronoun placement, etc.) If you want to learn the language, you need both conversational phrases and grammar. I'd recommend Pimsleur (take it out of the library before you buy it) and an online grammar course. I used an interactive grammar course from Brooklyn College called Oggi e Domani. Here's the link:
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/modlang/carasi/site/
There are also free online courses on the BBC and RAI websites.
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Old Nov 13th, 2004, 07:54 AM
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In preparation, do as much as you can: Online course, CD's in car (I used Living Language All Audio Italian) and phrase books.

You should really focus on short phrases that you are likely to have to use:

1) Purchase Bus/Train/Boat Tickets
2) Ask Directions
3) Order off menu
4) Manners Grazie, Prego, mi scusi

In Capri, you'll get plenty of help, as most people in the service industry will speak a little of everything.

The best way to learn the language is to get over there and speak it. Have fun with it. It was the best part of my trip.
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Old Nov 13th, 2004, 04:35 PM
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Report on Pimsleur Italian progress:

Up to Pimsleur Italian 1, lesson 17 and counting. I hope to finish the first series before leaving on Dec. 16, 2004, and perhaps get into a few lessons of Italian 2.

As I posted previously, I do the lessons in the car. I hope to be able to ask simple questions--and, more important, understand the answers if they speak S-L-O-W-L-Y.
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Old Nov 14th, 2004, 12:16 AM
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I like the Italian Now! CD-Roms. They're great because you can hear everything being pronounced as you read along. Stores like CompUSA are always having sales where you can get the Language Now! CDs for $20 or even $10 after all the rebates.
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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 02:27 PM
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Very good to see as many well thought out replies as have been posted recently. I have been using somewhat erratically, but a 5 CD-Rom series called INSTANT IMMERSION ITALIAN that includes: Talk Now! Italian, World Talk Italian, Talk to Me 3.0, Interactive Picture Dictionary, and Who is Oscar Lake?. I used a set of Pimsleur on tape, 5 tapes with 8 lessons, that I checked out from my local library. There are probably many different versions of Pimsleur but after the first tape and well into the second one, I found that in the second one, there were nuances in pronunciation that I wasn't confident I was hearing correctly and, therefore, I might be ingraining some bad pronunciation should I continue. Thus, I set it aside. I may return to it in the future.

The online suggestion at the college sounds interesting and something I'll look into. Thanks for the link.

Back to my CDs I have, I recognize that I am a visual learner, whereas, others are auditory. I believe for me that being able to read what is being said is extremely helpful. What I'm going to be doing is trying to check out with some interlibrary loans other software programs such as the Rosetta Stone, which is very expensive. If I can find something that really fits the bill, I'll stick with it. However, every thing I've studied so far, even if not the best for my style of learning, has been helpful.

I work extensively at my computer so I bought a headset with a microphone for the CDs I have so I can speak and hear my own replies.

Also, I listen as often as I can to the following online Italian talk radio program.
http://video-4.radioradicale.it/ramgen/live.rm

It is really politically oriented, but I can hear the measure and rhythm and prononunciation of native speakers. I put on my headset and go to work on my business projects with the background Italian speakers. Some of them speak as fast as a machine gun. Others are more "southern", speak slowly and those I really appreciate, being a Southern boy myself!


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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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CapriAnniversary, I'd like to add one more thought...you may want to check out "Secrets of Learning a Foreign Language" by Graham E. Fuller. This is two 90-minute cassettes and a listening guide.

It's a good tool for the beginner of language learning, and will greatly enhance your learning experience, especially when you use it at the beginning of your new adventure.

Graham Fuller will not teach you a new language, but he will share his proven methods of LEARNING a new language. It will prepare you for the STUDY of any new language.

You may be able to get it from your local library, or you can buy it for about $13.00 from Amazon.com. The last time I looked, Amazon had his last name spelled incorrectly, so do a search under the title.

Buona fortuna.
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