What is a good guide to learn Italian from?

By | November 22, 2015

I’m 14 and i’d like to learn to speak Italian. What is a good audio guide?

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2 thoughts on “What is a good guide to learn Italian from?

  1. sumaya

    start by simply going online and learning the basics like letters and simple words and numbers then just for an hour a day watch Ri Uno or due start with the children programs and u’ll notice the difference in a week or so depending on ur speed wish u luck

  2. Harriet

    I’ve been studying Italian independently since I was 12; I’m nearly 20, today.

    Here’s a list of the programs I’ve used and my recommendations with regards to each:

    I’ve used a lot of language learning programs and Rosetta Stone was by far the best value. It is a pricy up-front charge, but it’s significantly cheaper than both private lessons and college lessons, including most online courses. Think about it, if you pay about $500 for the first three units together, you’re paying for about three years of study. Compare that to the $1000 per semester course at your average public university and you’re getting a real bargain. So, if you can afford it in any possible way, I would definitely, definitely try to get Rosetta Stone. Make sure, however, that you buy it in combinations…don’t just buy Italian 1, Italian 2, Italian 3, and so on, separately…you can save a LOT by buying them together.

    After that, I would recommend the program called Italian the Fast and Fun Way. You get an audio CD with it, so at least you get some sound. But the reason I would recommend Rosetta Stone over other courses is that you get to speak and hear from it…an essential immersion combination that you don’t get in other programs.

    Barron’s also a workbook sold in most bookstores, Italian the Easy way, as a final resort.

    Barron’s Mastering Italian, previously used by the Foreign Service Institute and the State Department before the release of Rosetta Stone, is by no means a fast way to learn Italian, but it’s a way to learn it thoroughly. It works almost exclusively on pronunciation and teaching you the sounds of the language…which would seem very basic, but so many course, including Rosetta Stone to a degree, skim over this, leaving many of their learners speaking foreign words in their own accents. This is the first course I ever tried and it provided me with an invaluable foundation. My Italian accent is outstanding – when I finally enrolled in a formal course in college, my professor (a Milan native) could not believe how nearly flawless my accent was.

    Sparknotes has an exercise book supposedly for all levels, but I didn’t find it helpful until I hit about my third year of independent study. Similarly, the book Essential Italian by Berlitz is useful, but only if you’ve had a decent amount of exposure to the language already.

    If you ever get the chance to go to Rome, I would suggest looking into a school there called Dilit International House (www.dilit.it). I’ve taken some courses there during my travels and the difference doing so has made has been incredible. I only took for a few weeks each time, but the results have been noticeable, especially in terms of my confidence in speaking. These courses are relatively inexpensive, as the school is funded by the Italian government to an extent. I was one of two Americans in my entire experience there, so the only language I had in common with most of the people (who came from all over the world) was Italian…which meant I had to speak Italian! There was no getting around it. I think you have to be 16 to enroll in this program, but you’re almost there! :-)

    Avoid programs like Pimsleur’s Italian in ten days and similar courses. Basically, it’s an auditory phrase-book program. They’ll have you repeat simple phrases like “Ciao” and “arrivederci” and at the end of it all, you’ve learned about twenty words that will not help you at all.
    Similarly avoid “Living Language” programs – they’re very dated.

    I would also suggest, when you have some background, reading over online Italian newspapers for word recognition. The best of these are Il Corriere della Sera (also has TV news) and La Repubblica (Rome based). Additionally, on YouTube, there are a LOT of uploaded Disney movies that have been dubbed in Italian. They’re a lot of fun to watch and are a great way to start picking up words, because they’re familiar…but different. For example, “I just can’t wait to be king” from the Lion King is “Voglio diventare presto un re,” which basically means, “I want to be king soon.” It’s fun to find the differences once you achieve that level of vocab-recognition.
    If you want to search for some of these Disney movies:
    Hercules = Ercole
    The Aristocats = Gli Aristogatti
    The Lion King = Il Re Leone
    Beauty and the Beast = La Bella e la Bestia
    The Fox and the House = Red e Toby
    The Incredibles = Gli Incredibili
    Cinderella = Cenerentola / Cenerella

    Good luck to you! :-)

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