Italian Lanuage Instruction

Jul 2nd, 2001, 09:24 AM
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Italian Lanuage Instruction

I am interested in recent feedback on your experiences (good and bad) with the many italian language instruction products available (Barrons, Berlitz, Italian for Dummies, Pimsleaur's Quick & Simple, etc.). I am most interested in audio programs that are designed for beginning conversation/comprehension/travel instruction as opposed to a detailed, in-depth study of the language. My husband and I would like to use the same program if possible - I have had foreign language instruction (Spanish and German), my husband has not had any.
Jul 2nd, 2001, 10:14 AM
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For quick exposure to phrases and sounds, my husband and I love the Instant Immersion series for the computer. It's inexpensive, and by no means comprehensive, but it's very entertaining. Odd little animated charcters as well as actors who have been photographed and digitized illustrate the lessons. The best is the game show format where you compete with (I think) Paolo, an exceptionally American-looking Italian contestant.

This series (they offer French and Spanish as well) is not all serious, but it's interesting enough to keep you studying!
Jul 2nd, 2001, 10:50 AM
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My husband and I have almost completed the Pimsleur's "Quick & Simple". It contains a coupon for $50 off the Italian 1, 30-lesson pack, which we have decided to purchase. I was looking for the same type of lessons and am enjoying Pimsleur's technique. I have a year to do this, so I'm taking my time. Sometimes I listen to a lesson twice even though I absorbed the required 80% to advance. The eight lessons in this pack will certainly be enough for you to get by.

I've read many comments on this board about this subject and have seen more than a few positive remarks about Pimsleur. If you want to purchase level 1, I've seen it greatly reduced on
Jul 2nd, 2001, 10:54 AM
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I bought the Pimsleur audio tapes for Italian. It is a set of 4 tapes and was about $20 on Ebay. Definitely was worthwhile and teaches the basics - it got me through some difficult situations particularly while at the Termini station in Rome and in a taxicab in Florence! Only thing it didn't teach was "Where is the restroom?" which I already knew anyway I'd recommend it.
Jul 2nd, 2001, 11:01 AM
World Traveler
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Suggestion - We restored a small barn in Italy so learning as much as we could as quick was important. One method we used, was to put the Italian word on a post-it, and put them on the Stove, refrig, chairs, ect...(cars and office were not immune!). It works and it's easy.... have a great time in Italy... ciao
Jul 2nd, 2001, 11:32 AM
Book Chick
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So far the posters above have given good suggestions.

Pimsleur is considred "la creme de la creme" among language learning/teaching. Their products are NOT cheap, but Lori was very savvy about getting her materials from eBay. I've tried the Dover series & would NOT recommend it. Not interesting & a lot of written text given without the audio or keys to pronounciation.
Best Wishes,
Jul 2nd, 2001, 11:33 AM
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We bought a CD from and it has been the best language tape I've ever had. Buy it, you won't be sorry!
Jul 2nd, 2001, 12:14 PM
Santa Chiara
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I also recommend Pimsleur., I bought the big, expensive set before moving to Italy and to this day, I still remember some of the lessons. And it sure helped me when I got down to actually studying the language in Italy. Now I am listening to the short version for French for an upcoming trip. I used to know French, but that was 30 years ago. The tapes are really helping to bring it back. My only problem with Pimsleur, and this is their selling point, is that the exercises are completing auditory. I am a visual sort of person, so I have to "see" the verb forms to really understand them. But this is easily done with any supplementary grammar book.
Jul 2nd, 2001, 01:17 PM
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Lisa, offers an excellent series of beginning Italian for travellers. You can also learn French or Spanish. My Italian course cost $39 for 12 lessons that I can use for a three month period. They have an audio portion for each exercise which has been extremely helpful in figuring out the pronunciation. I have been taking Italian privately, so this is really just to cement what little I already know,but I've found it among the best of what's offered on line. Good luck!
Jul 2nd, 2001, 01:24 PM
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In conjunction with a beginner's Italian course I'm taking this summer, I bought the recommended (by the instructor)
"Ultimate Italian" from Amazon, book plus tapes.
I'm finding it very good, but it's a tough language. About $60 for the kit.
Jul 2nd, 2001, 02:29 PM
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We just returned from Italy and I made sure I was well-prepared to handle travel, etc. in two ways. First, someone recommended "Speak Italian with Michel Thomas" on cd or cassette. His method requires little memorization and he is used by film actors for last-minute language instruction. I got a good feel for speaking the language and pronunciation, but I have to admit I wasn't very disciplined.
As it turned out, I had no problem as I took a book called "Just enough Italian" published by Passport Books. It is quick and easy to refer to and has categories such as "Asking the Way", "Eating in a Restaurant", etc. Anytime I anticipated having to communicate, I looked up the appropriate phrases and either wrote them down or memorized them. Everyone ended up using my book on the tour as they had to rifle too much through their comprehensive dictionaries! These books are small,easy to carry, and are written for all major languages.

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