Best Audio materials for learning Italian?

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Best Audio materials for learning Italian?

Post by Xuanlong »

Greetings all,

I'm actually interested in both spanish and italian, so im kind of inbetween them now, plenty of spanish materials compared to Italian, and the net is just bustling with free and commercial and interactive sites for learning spanish, not the same with italian but I have more willing native and fluent friends willing to teach me Italian which I dont have alot in spanish, and while the romance languages are similar italian has more similarities in french, and I have background in french, I'd like to think maybe I can learn Italian, but I'd really like to have materials for it too, aside from classes and practise and exposure to friends who speak

I was wondering if you guys have ideas to which self study audio courses would be best for learning Italian in, if you have any suggestion?

Please let me know, such as Michel Thomas courses, Pimleur, Assimil etc? And would you know what CEFR equivalents are these courses are at? for example If I get the complete MT or Pimsleur for ITA language what would be their level A1-A2 or B1-B2? is there a full course for A until C2?

I rely more on Audio repeat exposure of the language and speaking than classes, so I'd like to know if I can get good materials for that kind of learning, before I dive in or if I will just go with spanish because of its multiple offerings of quality material available, I kinda assume you guys would know better than if I ask on a general language forum, I just really need to know which are the best audio materials (and til what level would they take me) for learning Italian and If I can acquire them easily, if I can then I'd be ready to dive in

any opinions, suggestions advises welcome thanks, grazie
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Re: Best Audio materials for learning Italian?

Post by Itikar »

Benvenuto Xuanlong,

Being a native I have had no direct experience in learning Italian; however I heard good things about the pod101 courses, which happen to be based mainly audio:

For the other courses: I am an Assimil fan and I find the course pretty good for most languages they cover.
Also the old editions (like Italian without Toil) are still very good for learning the language.
I think their latest course, however, has a focus on Italian intonation which, believe me, is a pretty relevant part of the Italian language and far more important than other stuff traditional courses tend to insist on.

I have never tried Michel Thomas, but I heard that foreign students find it good as a start, in order to get introduced to the language.

For the CEFR levels, seriously, I would suggest you to ignore them, unless you need to get a job that requires that language's proficiency. Try just to use the language as soon as possible.

In general, anyway, most courses bring you to A1 or A2. Some can bring you to B1 if you try to learn every bit of information from them, but, as I said, it is not worth it. No courses bring you from naught to C2, sorry.

As for general tips:
1)Italian is not Spanish, it is not a lingua franca, not anymore at least, so think carefully about what you are going to do with your time. If you have a good reason to learn the language then you'll be rewarded and you will find many ways to enjoy it. Otherwise you might want to invest your time in a more useful way.
2)If you learn Italian and another Romance language, whatever it is, try to keep them separate at least when you write. For instance it is annoying when someone writes "por" instead of the Italian "per", unless his/her native language is Spanish or Portuguese. The average Italian reader would likely think "Why are you butchering my language? If you know Spanish then write in Spanish!" In the spoken, on the other hand, you do not have to worry for these things. :)

I hope it helps!
I would be very grateful, if you could please correct my English.
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Re: Best Audio materials for learning Italian?

Post by calum »

Having used Michel Thomas CDs as a beginner, I'd say they're useful for learning the basic grammar rules. If you want something where you are hearing Italian clearly spoken and accurately pronounced by a native speaker then I would recommend Pimsleur. It is very good indeed, although expensive. Luckily, I was given the entire course by a colleague several years ago otherwise I would have struggled to justify the cost.

Pimsleur doesn't provide a comparison of its material with the CEFR levels so, speaking only from my own experience, I would say that the full course should get you to level B2. Without additional effort and study, such as reading books, newspapers, listening to radio and watching television, all in the target language, I would doubt that any CD course alone could take you to C1 or C2.

Since you have access to Italian native friends I would advise you to exploit that benefit while you can, it's far better than any CD course.

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Re: Best Audio materials for learning Italian?

Post by Kappa School »

as teachers in Italy, we would recommend "Ci vuole orecchio" (vol. 1,2,3 for basic, intermediate and advanced lavels) text book. It's based on listening activities with insight on grammar and vocabulary. It's also good for self study because it has the dialogues transcriptions at the end.
I hope I've been of help.

'a mistake is a gift to the class' - (C. Gattegno)

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