Learning a language is never easy. Many people recommend tapes (Pimslaur is the one I hear about most frequently.) I find that I am not an aural learner and prefer the "study" approach. I used a book, "The Berlitz Self-Teacher." I devoted a week to each chapter--read it through, studied the material, and answered the questions--again and again and again.
When I completed the book, I felt comfortable with general conversation, and I practiced by corresponding with some Italian friends. I think that a book like this, supplemented by a good audio tape for pronunciation will probably work.
Everyone has a different learning style, so you should keep that in mind when you select your materials. I should say, too, that I had taken a year of Italian many years ago when I was in college, so although I had forgotten most everything, the pronunciation was fairly easy.
Hi - Can you tell me if the Berlitz Self-Teacher is available at the local book stores or available thru ordering on-line. I have the Pimslaur tapes, which I enjoy, but I am a visual learner and would benefit from using a study book. Grazie Mile!
hibbiehibby - The Pimsleur Italian CDs are very good. They have three levels, each consisting of 30 one-half hour lessons. As it is an immersion system of learning, readings are not necessary; however, the series does come with some written material. Italian with Michel Thomas is also highly rated - it consists of 8 one-hour CDs and is also an immersion system. I prefer the Pimsleur system, but the Michel Thomas series costs far less. If you spend any appreciable time in your car, these CDs are a great way to learn while you are commuting or otherwise driving around. I listen to my CDs while I'm doing my daily exercise. There is also an online Italian class called BeginIt that can be found at groups.yahoo.com/group/beginit/. I believe there are five levels of classes, from Beginners to Advanced+. A combination of an immersion system and the BeginIt beginner's class would be a great start to learning Italian. However, the best way to actually learn the language is to converse with native Italians, preferably patient native Italians.
Jenn, I think the Berlitz book can be ordered through Amazon.com -- about $10.
I've heard great things about Pimslaur and my friend gave me the first set to try. After having completed the book, however, I thought the tape was too basic. I never bothered with the next two.
Also, I need to see how the words look on paper and understand the reasons for the conjugations in order for me to "get it." It's just my learning style. For someone who does not need this, Pimslaur should work.
Note, too, that I had already understood Italian pronunciation, so the book was enough. Without this understanding, you really do need the tapes.
Mler, Thanks - I'll try ordering the book on-line today. I need all the help I can get. Even with the tapes, I still have trouble with the pronunciation, especially with longer sentences. I practice with my 5 year old daughter, who is actually speaks very well. Thanks again, Jen
There is no easy way to learn Italian. It helps to have a good memory.
Listening to tapes or CD's in the car certainally help. Even though I learn the basic's years ago, I still study up on the basic language rules.
I took a grammar class, back when I was 19, and then went and lived in Italy for almost 2 years.
The best way, is to study and spend time speaking to Italians, either here or in Italy.
To advance my vocabulary, I purchased a book at a university book store , by Barron's " Mastering Italian Vocabulary". It divided the language into 24 different categories.
I also subscribe to Dish Network and have access to five Italian channels. Listening certainally helps as well.
I am also learning spanish. At first, it seemed very hard, like nothing was sinking in. but with repetition, I was amazed how I started to learn.
Researching in the provience of Treviso, Italy, Provaglio Sopra, Val Sabbia of Brescia. Domege di Cadore
Forno di Rivara, TO, Canischio, TO
Surnames Melchiori of Oderzo, TV, Vendrame of TV, Rossi of Rai di San Polo, Bonotto of TV.
If you aren't able to live among ONLY Italian speakers then in depth learning will indeed be hard work - though of course not impossible. But to learn quickly total immersion is the answer. I was always told that I would have broken the back of it the day I didn't dream in English but could do so in Italian - THAT IS TRUE.
But one reasonably easy, inexpensive and helpful way to conquer the 'basics' is with children's story books - or even comics.... With these you are treated not only to reasonably simple dialogue, but one which is often accompanied by a 'story board'.
But above all - remember if dogs and cats can do it - then so can YOU!
Elba, I think I will try to find some Italian children's books -- pretty basic and easier to read than the Italian newspapers and magazines, which I find very difficult and can only pull out a few words in each sentence. Thanks for the suggestion.