Learning Basic Italian

Jan 11th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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Learning Basic Italian

I'm going to Italy in May. Does anyone have suggestions for purchasing a computer based course or online that is not very complicated? I'm not looking to learn grammar, just enough to get by while I'm there.
rebroc1 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 12:59 PM
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truly I am not on a retainer, but I am going to recommend Michel Thomas again. you could see if your local library has his "beginner's italian" or have a look on e-bay [make sure that you get the format you want - CD or tape].

the strength of his method is that he DOES teach you grammar, not a few disjointed phrases that you won't really understand or remember. but he does so in a way that wil enable you to use the language you learn in any circumstances, not just to buy 2 apples or 3 oranges, which is the drawback of many language courses.

the BBC also does some language courses on-line that you may find useful.

good luck!
annhig is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 01:46 PM
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You can begin by going to the iTunes Store and downloading the free 5-minutes a day 100-lesson series of podcasts called My Daily Phrase Italian. It may be just enough for you.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 01:59 PM
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BBC will send you free language lessons. I subscribed to the Italian lessons (I'm going in May, too) and have enjoyed them so far. You get a lesson a week for 12 weeks.
cmcfong is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Sorry, Ann, I see you had already mentioned the BBC course.
cmcfong is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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In addition to the above you might look at earworms rapid italian on itunes (i listened in the car) and the livemocha website which I found to be fun and free (you partner with italians learning english). I love Rosetta Stone (as I'm such a visual learner) but it is very expensive.
eyemom84 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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The bbc courses are great - but nothing comes close to Rosetta Stone. I know it's expenive - but you can sign up for the onlinge subscription rather than purchasing the Discs to download and it's cheaper. I found it was so much easier to learn that any class I've ever taken!
Tiggy22 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 04:06 PM
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I wouldn't spend anything; you can use whatever they have to lend at your closest (major) public library, The key is you and your goals - - not the materials.

1. Set goals, and measure your progress. You have about 16 weeks; a vocabulary of 400 words is a reasonable goal. Make your own flash cards, and be sure you are mastering 25 new words a week. And don't feel bad that you're still forgetting what 10-20% of the cards mean as the number gets up into the hundreds. Whatever you learn in the next 16 weeks, you may increase that by 10-20% every day, once you get to Italy.

2. Whatever audio materials you have to use, it really is the best thing you can do for yourself to SAY IT OUT LOUD. Not under your breath, not mumbling, not "in your head". You have to get use to how (bad you think) you sound. And listen to how you sound and how the recorded materials you have sound.

3. You might consider using a "chat" site online and try making some cyber-friends between now and then. Any internet savvy Italian speakers will also be quite fluent in English, and they may be willing to help you with useful phrases. Start at www.yahoo.it for example, and read things you can readily recongize that are news stories as often as you can.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 04:12 PM
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Try www.travlang.com.

IMO (and I've spent the better part of a lifetime learning foreign languages), you NEED the grammar; otherwise, you're just memorizing random strange-sounding words and phrases out of context and will never have a clue what someone says back to you. Sign up for a basic conversation course at a local community college or wherever. Get used to speaking out loud and getting feedback and having actual conversations. You have plenty of time for this before your trip.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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<< you NEED the grammar; otherwise, you're just memorizing random strange-sounding words and phrases out of context... >>

I totally agree.
rex is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 05:27 PM
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Agreed, grammar is important, but there is something far more important.

That's the willingness to actually try & speak in a foreign language. Period. Even if it's just a few words. So rex' advice to SAY IT OUT LOUD is critical.

I know many people who are book smart in a foreign language, but are completely frozen looking for the grammatically correct way to say something they remain mute. In tourist friendly place like Italy simple phrases go a long way.

Where is (Dove?)
How much does it cost (Quanto costa)
Please, thank you, yes, no.

and the anticipated replies like left, right, straight ahead, 1,2,3, etc.
J62 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 05:46 PM
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You can also try about.com they will e-mail you lessons weekly for free.
elcon is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 03:04 AM
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I also subscribed to La Bella Lingua and got weekly emails about Italy, Italian culture, and language.
eyemom84 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 06:14 AM
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I used the Pimsleur method on my trip to Italy last year and found it effective in conversation and in reading.

I chose the method because it is on cds, so I could do lessons during my commute, and, the library had them. Each lesson is about 1/2 hour and one builds upon the other. One other thing I liked is that there is a concentration on proper pronunciation.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 06:17 AM
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One quick thing to consider - where are you going in Italy? The dialects are something to be aware of. A friend of mine is 100% fluent in Italian - his parents only speak Italian and it was his first language.

That said, he had a very tough time speaking with my relatives in Naples because their dialect was so different. (I had him call my relatives to arrange a meeting).
Gina817 is offline  

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