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Learning Italian - Update

About a month ago I blogged that I was starting to learn Italian using the Pimsleur Italian Course. How have I got on?

I’ve just finished the first thirty lessons (which make up Part I of the Course). So I’m one third of the way through. I’ve found that the course is easy to do, very well thought out and produced, and that my retention of what has been taught has been very high. My fears of doing a course that was nearly totally based on the spoken language have proved ungrounded. Not seeing the words written down has not been the handicap that I expected, in fact quite the reverse.

However, I don’t imagine that by the time I have finished the course that I will have more than a very basic vocabulary, though I expect to be able to use what I do know very well. The real test will be when I go to Sicily shortly after I am scheduled to finish the course. In the meantime I must try and find some unfortunate Italian speakers to practise on!

Reader Comments (6)

I also start this summer the Spanish course and i agree with you that if you spend some time with this method you will be able to build a basic vocabulary enough for everyday use.
Italian (like Spanish) is quite easy to pronounce so you don't have to spend much time reading. I wonder if this method is ideal for other languages (e.g. Chinese) with difficult ponounciation and alphabet!
February 15, 2007 at 19:06 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandros Simitis
Hi, Alexandros

Best of luck with the Spanish. Yes, they are both relatively easy for speakers of other European languages to pronounce, the words are often similar, and it's easy to visualise the words as written. So if the speaker says "la metropolitana" (the subway) I can visualise it quite easily.

But quite what I'd make of Chinese in which tones are vital to the sense, the consonants don't match the European ones, there's no alphabet, and the words are completely unrelated, I don't know!

However another reader commented that he had found the Pimsleur method excellent for learning Farsi, so maybe it would work out ok.

February 17, 2007 at 10:28 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

glad you had success with the Pimsleur method.

I have tried many methods to learn a foreign language (Berlitz, Inlingua, flashcards etc.) but Pimsleur is really the best I think.

I just returned from a 2 week vacation in Thailand after having completed the Basic THAI course of Pimsleur. It really gave me lots of opportunities to interact with the local Thais and they were very surprised that a "Farang" (Thai for "Foreigner") could "speak" their language. I had lots of fun.

The first Pimsleur course (30 lessons) just gives you the very basics but it is an extremely well organized and structured course. It is a lot better than visiting a country with NO language skills. Highly recommended.

February 21, 2007 at 11:33 | Unregistered CommenterWerner
Hi, Werner, that's a great testimonial to the value of Pimsleur in languages less commonly spoken by tourists. I'm still finding the Italian course really excellent - I'm up to Part II Lesson 10 now, so nearing half-way. I think I'll give myself a real challenge and try Chinese or Japanese next!
February 21, 2007 at 22:49 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Hi Mark,

How much did the Pimsleur books cost you?
July 10, 2007 at 14:22 | Unregistered CommenterClinton
Hi, Clinton

All three levels together cost me £227. I paid in dollars though - can't remember how many.

This was the downloaded version. It consists of audio files, not books.

July 10, 2007 at 16:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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