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Italian language learning tools

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Atlantic City, NJ
posts: 98
reviews: 7
Italian language learning tools

Has anyone tried any of the Italian language software/audio books that are on the market to help learn Italian? There are so many and it gets overwhelming. Not looking to be an expert, but would like to be able to communicate somewhat. Thanks!

Cambridge, United...
posts: 2,961
reviews: 16
1. Re: Italian language learning tools

Don't know what sort of level you're already at, or where you're hoping to get to, but as a free resource, this is pretty good:


Might just get you started if you'd rather not shell out for a course...

Washington, DC
posts: 1,598
reviews: 54
2. Re: Italian language learning tools

I am using the Foder's Italian for Travellers CD, which is pretty good with the basics. It's a two-disc CD, which sticks pretty well to the basic things you might need - being polite, basic numbers, airports and train stations, food, weather, etc. You won't be able to have an in-depth conversation, but you will be able to be say good morning, please, thank you, and excuse me, order two scoops of gelato or a glass of wine, ask where the toilet is (and understand the answer), etc. I use it in my car on the way to work. I've done this for most countries I've visted, and it really does help you understand things and get around. Simply being able to say a few basic phrases (especially those needed for politeness sake) will make you feel and cope better when traveling, even if the person you address immediately answers you in English.

I do not recommend "Italian on the Go." I bought this first, and it was a total waste. A typical traveller does not need to describe the furniture in their appartment, make catty comments about someone's looks or clothing, etc. - which that CD focused on. Very little of use to a tourist on that one.

Denver, CO
posts: 96
reviews: 11
3. Re: Italian language learning tools

We picked up one at Costco for $10 (Instant Immersion is the brand- there are 8 CDs but no book or anything like that, so we had to buy a second two-CD set that came with a phrasebook as well - brand on that was Barron's and it was $16.)

Instant Immersion has been useful to learn the sounds, but can sometimes get confusing as the accents are difficult to hear and you have nothing to refer back to for guidance. The Barron's CDs just fire phrases at you very quickly. You do have the script book and a phrasebook to refer to when you get confused, but you don't get the benefit of learning the correct sounds. Though I'm wondering if I try listening to the Barron's CDs while I sleep, I'll magically learn Italitan subconsciously? :-)

I've heard amazing things about Rosetta Stone. If we'd had more time (we leave in 3 weeks and didn't focus on the language stuff until just recently,) then I'd have signed up online for Rosetta Stone.

Washington, DC
posts: 1,598
reviews: 54
4. Re: Italian language learning tools

I meant to type "Fodor's," not "Foders."

boston, MA
posts: 250
reviews: 6
5. Re: Italian language learning tools

I've found the Pimsleur tapes/CDs helpful, since I can use them while commuting to work. There are short and long versions, but I used the long one, which has three levels with 30 half-hour lessons in each. I found I didn't need to listen to any more than once, but it's easy to go back to part or all of any. I bought copies on ebay, but my local library now has them, too, so you could check yours and perhaps try them out before deciding whether you want to invest in buying them. I usually review the second and third levels before I go as a reminder!

posts: 1,156
reviews: 130
6. Re: Italian language learning tools

We bought Foder's Italian for Travelers through amazon.com. I have been listening to the CD's going to and from work. I found them very informative because it gives you the basic for most situations you might find yourself in.

United States
Destination Expert
for Cinque Terre, Lucca
posts: 8,659
reviews: 13
7. Re: Italian language learning tools

Another online site is www.byki.com

It has a flash card format and several modules that you can download.


posts: 263
reviews: 4
8. Re: Italian language learning tools

I played Pimsleur "Italian in ten days" on the way to work but ended up relying on Rick Steve's Italian Phrase Book and Vocabulary".

Rick's book is divided by activity such as hotel, restaurant, and transportation. So, before we go out I'd study the phrases for taxis and ordering food.

It seemed even the smallest attempts at speaking Italian were appreciated. And it was fun to try to be as native as possible.

Have a great trip.

Atlantic City, NJ
posts: 98
reviews: 7
9. Re: Italian language learning tools

Thanks everyone for all your tips!!!

10. Re: Italian language learning tools

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