Learning Italian

Old May 27th, 2002, 04:09 PM
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Learning Italian

Does anyone have any recommendations for learning conversational Italian. I'm looking for an internet aor computer course.
Thanks for any info.
Old May 27th, 2002, 04:50 PM
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I would suggest you go to your public library if possible. I live in the Washington, DC Metro area and our libraries have numerous selections for learning conversational Italian, both audio cartridge and CD's. I learned quite a bit of Italian this way and was usually able to renew my audio tapes with no problem.
Old May 27th, 2002, 05:06 PM
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I, too, would love to learn a little Italian (or even MORE) before my November trip. However, even though I have had lots of time, and lots of CD's, Tapes, Books (Italian in 10 Minutes a Day), I seem to be getting no where and am now getting desparate!

Tomorrow, I will sign up for a 2 hr/ once a week, 8 Week Italian for Travelers course at OASIS (50 years and older). I have noticed that there have been Italian courses for years and years in evening and day Adult Education Courses through the City Schools. Most large cities should have these, so do check them out.

Fodor's Famous Lucy is taking Italian in Adult Education.

I wish us BOTH luck. My theory is, that a few words are better than none!
Old May 27th, 2002, 05:22 PM
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I used the Pimsleur tapes. They're paced kind of slow, but I think they work. They're pretty expensive, but maybe you can get them at your library. I listen on the way to work.
Old May 27th, 2002, 05:40 PM
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I am learning Italian through the Pimsleur tapes and I can tell you that they are worth the money. 30 lessons to speak and read basic italian. I got them only beginning of May and I think I have a good enough grasp of Italian for my solo trip [then again I know a little French and Spanish to begin with].
Old May 27th, 2002, 05:41 PM
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I'm trying Italian with Michel Thomas (available at bookstores and Amazon). Looks good, but haven't been too motivated. Personally, I think I need the structure of a classroom.
Old May 27th, 2002, 06:28 PM
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I have that Michael Thomas CD in Italian too. I did not get motivated by his tapes at all. Don't even waste your money or time.
Old May 27th, 2002, 06:32 PM
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For something very simple and just the basics check out Barnes and Nobel University Online. They have Italian for Travellers.
Old May 27th, 2002, 06:45 PM
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Roco, I think signing up for the class was a great idea--much better than trying to learn on your own from books or tapes or CDs or the internet. (Teaching yourself from a book is not a bad idea, so long as you also had an opportunity to listen and speak and ask questions with a real live person).
Old May 27th, 2002, 06:57 PM
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I took Italian 1 and Italian 2 from an adult ed class sponsored by Fulton County Schools/Clayton State College in Atlanta. In addition I bought or borrowed several sets of tapes to listen to daily in my car. The Pimsleur tapes were the best, I would highly recommend the repetitive style. The combination of attending class and self learning really worked for me; I felt I had a reasonable amount of vocabulary, and was able to order meals, talk to taxi drivers, and buy train tickets. The most important lesson I learned--don't be afraid to try! Everyone was very gracious, and seemed to appreciate my efforts.
Old May 28th, 2002, 12:53 PM
Ken Slanker
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Get CD type learning material. I got "Learn Italian Now." Version 8. It is very good, but you should get a book also. I took Italian at local University and we used "Learn Italian the Easy Way."

The book is lesson based and you will be able to conjugate verbs when finished. The CD lessons show and "say" the language. It speaks sentences with the verbs conjugated and can be a little confusing at first until you realize what is going on.

I like the book and the CDs helped with speaking.
Old May 28th, 2002, 01:20 PM
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Question for the people who had good luck with Pimsleur:

Years ago I bought the 4-cassette Italian beginner course and it was a great introduction of a couple of basic phrases. I then went on to live in Italy, took an immersion course and and can now speak fairly well!

My question is about the 16-CD packages, the ones that sell for about $200-plus, as I'm trying to learn another language. After the initial "Where is the Via Veneto?" type phrases, do you learn verb conjugation, future and past tenses, pronouns, etc. Or is it strictly conversation? I'm hearing that Pimsleur is the best, but I'm wondering how far you can get with it. I did find myself having to consult dictionaries when I listened to the Italian tapes. Thanks for all help!
Old May 28th, 2002, 02:04 PM
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The 16 tape Pimsleur teaches you simple past tense and some conjugation. Also teaches you how to answer a telephone call etc. The 16 tape set also teaches you to read Italian since it has a reading manual but since I have not looked into the manual [they did recommend not to do the reading lessons at the end of each tape if one were driving]. I think it's great and had I more time before my trip I would have bought the advanced italian course too.
Old May 28th, 2002, 02:18 PM
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To x,
I have listened to all 3 levels of German, French and Italian. Yes, I am a Pimsleur junkie. All follow striking similar format, but not identical. Here is a site to actually listen to lesson 1 from each level so you get a better idea:

As John said, check your library first. Pimsleur products are very expensive.

By definition, it is conversational. But it covers conjugation of present indicative, future, past/perfect, imperative, and some subjunctives as a part of the practice. The less than full set packages, such as 4 tape package you have used, is merely first 4 tape/CD of the full set.

I also used minimum of a dictionary (at least a concise size with about 200,000 references), 301 verbs handbook (much smaller and cheaper than 501 verbs but just as good)and langenscheid pocket grammar handbook with each of the Pimsleur CD I used.

I also have taken college credit classes, but Pimsleur is far more effective in pronunciation practices. Even if the college classes are small, you perhaps have 10 minutes to talk during a 2 hr class, that is 20 minutes a week for a class that meets twice a week.

After all 3 levels and 45+ CDs later, you get to about the end of a first year college class, but without detailed grammar instructions nor the written exercises. I have listened to many other audio/exercise product, but I found you get what you pay for, less money for less leanring.
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