Language Prep

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Netminder30
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Language Prep

Post by Netminder30 » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:30 am

I will be traveling to Italy in approximately 6 weeks. :D This will be my first trip there and also my first experience trying to speak the language in real life settings with native Italian speakers. I am a beginner-intermediate level student of Italian. (English is my native language.) I have been studying Italian on my own for the last 5 months and, with the help of my knowledge of Spanish, have found that I have picked up things pretty quickly.

In anticipation of my trip, I have been focusing on spoken Italian. I use the Pimsleur Language Program daily, usually for 1-2 hours. I have gotten through the first two courses and should begin the third course in the next week or so. I also use the Living Language course to further improve my speaking and vocabulary. Finally, I supplement the verbal practice with grammar study, verb drills and reading where possible, although demands at work make it hard for me to do this consistently (I can listen to the CD courses during my commute so I do this regularly.)

With only six weeks to go before my trip, l would be interested in people's thoughts on the best way to improve my Italian skills in a short period of time. My goal is to become as functional as possible with the language -- be able to ask simple questions, order food in a restaurant, check into a hotel, buy items in a store, get around town, etc.. Is Pimsleur a good study method for this? Are there other courses, books or tricks that can help me prepare? Obviously, the study of Italian is a vast undertaking. I am trying to pare it down to the absolute essentials over the next six weeks or so.

Thanks in advance for your responses. :)

Roby
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Post by Roby » Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:30 am

Hi there, Try this link.

http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1119


Also pick up the book Italian At A Glance by Barrons or Rick Steves' Italian Phrasebook and a pocket dictionary.

Where will you be going in Italy? How long will you be staying ?

Other helpful links.

http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1000
http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1157
http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1794

If you have any other questions before you go, let us know.
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld

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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Thu Nov 08, 2007 2:31 pm

Sounds to me if you have done all of those Pimsleur courses that you are probably more than prepared for the basics such as asking directions, booking into your hotel, etc.

You might want to find a native speaker to practice with to work on your ear - maybe a native speaker in the forum here would use skype with you to practice.

The biggest problem for me wasn't really speaking but understanding what was being said, but everyone was pretty patient with me at the outset.

dmj120
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Post by dmj120 » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:04 pm

Does anyone know who this Pimsleur course compares to Rosetta Stone?

I went to Pilsleur's web site and it sounds like a nice program. I have Rosetta Stone's disk at home. I do like the making cd's function.

Thanks for your thoughts / opinions.
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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:46 pm

In my opinion, I think that Rosetta Stone is probably just slightly better than Pimsleur, in that you have something to see visually as well as aurally.

If you have the Rosetta Stone, I wouldn't go out and buy the Pimsleur CD's. Check your local library - they may have a subscription to Netlibrary which offers the Pimsleur courses online or you could even check them out.

Roby
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Post by Roby » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:47 pm

dmj120 wrote:Does anyone know who(whether) this Pimsleur course compares to Rosetta Stone?

I went to Pilsleur's web site and it sounds like a nice program. I have Rosetta Stone's disk at home. I do like the making cd's function.

Thanks for your thoughts / opinions.
Grazie per il vostro pensiero / pareri
I have heard that Rosetta Stone is a very good program . Pimsleur I don't know much about, but it seems that many here have used it.


Grazie per i vostri pensieri ed opinioni
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld

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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:51 pm

Roby wrote:
dmj120 wrote:Does anyone know who(how) this Pimsleur course compares to Rosetta Stone?

I went to Pilsleur's web site and it sounds like a nice program. I have Rosetta Stone's disk at home. I do like the making cd's function.

Thanks for your thoughts / opinions.
Grazie per il vostro pensiero / pareri
I think Roby, maybe it is a typo for how?

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giuseppe
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Post by giuseppe » Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:32 pm

I wish I had been as lucky as you with Rosetta stone. I tried it two months ago in the hope of improving my English but it didn't help me at all. I came back almost immediately to more 'traditional' ways of studying so as not to waste any more time. Obviously I am aware that what I have just said may not be true for everybody, much depends on what one's needs are.
My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends
It gives a lovely light.

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timLA
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Some suggestions

Post by timLA » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:53 pm

Some minor suggestions from someone who has "been there" and continues to "be there". :lol:

1. Don't worry, you'll do fine. Italians are genetically NICE and FANTASTIC, so just try and they will go out of their way to help you.

2. You will not have many problems trying to say what you want to say, you'll most-likely have problems with the "short" phrases and words that they use commonly. So depending on how you are traveling, you should get to know some words and short phrases that they will say to you:

Train station: binario, andata e ritorno, solo andata, prima classe, sede
Metro, Bus: tibrare, fermata
Restaurant: da bere, primo, secondo, fuori, dentro
Museum: percorso, mostra
Hotel: they all speak English, but know "identificazione" parte, partenza,
Car rental: patente, assicurazione
Gas station: benzina, gasolio, il pieno

As an example, recently I took a ferry from Palermo to Rome, and the guy at the check-in asked me what size my car was. But I was thrown off by his use of "autovettura" instead of "macchina" or "auto" - I'll NEVER forget the word "autovettura"! :lol:

3. Carry a little pocket dictionary

4. Print out one page of a complete congugation, say for "andare" and keep it with you.

5. Listen to simple conversations on the web (tons of links on this site), but make sure they are video - it helps to watch the lips.

6. Read "Charlie Brown" and "Topolino" in Italian. FANTASTIC "normal conversation" with great idiomatic phrases. I learned "Niente da fare Charlie Brown"! :lol:

You'll do fine, you'll have the time of your life!
Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Che fortuna che io sono un pinguino!

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Netminder30
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Post by Netminder30 » Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:30 am

Thank you everyone for the excellent ideas and encouraging words! :)

Roby, thanks for the reference to the links and the phrase books. They all look very helpful. Keith, the Skype idea is excellent. How does one set that up and go about locating some conversation "buddies"? Tim, I really like your suggestion to listen to conversations on the web. It is easy to focus on learning how to speak the language at the expense of learning how to listen to it. Do you know any particularly good websites with Italian conversation? I also like your idea of reading Charlie Brown and Topolino. Can those be purchased through Amazon?

By the way, Giuseppe, your English is superb! If I hadn't seen that you were from Rome and you hadn't mentioned you were studying English, I would have thought you were a native English speaker based on the writing in your post. What I wouldn't do to have that facility with Italian!

Roby, you asked where I will be going in Italy. I'm taking a 10 day land tour with Cosmo called the Splendors of Italy. I don't have a detailed itinerary yet, but I will be spending most of the time in Rome, Florence and Venice. There will also be stops between the major cities including Viterbo, Orvieto, Siena, San Gimignano, Greve, Pisa and Assisi. Travel will be by bus. I had so wanted to do some travel in southern Italy, especially to Bari the city where my grandfather was born and raised, but time and money wouldn't permit it. Oh well, just an excuse to return to Italy another time!

I would definitely appreciate tips and suggestions for my trip, but I plan to invite these in a separate post.

Thanks again, everybody, for the quick and thoughtful posts! :D

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timLA
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Post by timLA » Fri Nov 09, 2007 6:59 am

Good conversation:
http://tltc.la.utexas.edu/ra/sitemap.php
http://www.raiclick.it/
www.youtube.com - just start putting in Italian words in "search"
http://www.radiovaticana.org/index.html

Topolino/Charlie Brown - buy them in Italy - they are very light, and you'll have a nice keepsake. But you can get a series of Topolino's on Amazon.
Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Che fortuna che io sono un pinguino!

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Netminder30
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Post by Netminder30 » Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:41 pm

Great sites, Tim! And one from my alma mater no less. (Hook 'em Horns!) Grazie mille! :D

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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking » Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:53 pm

There are many native speakers on Impariamo - maybe they won't mind chatting with you?

Also, when I first installed Skype, I set my location to Rome and then set Skype to say I was available for chatting. In 2 minutes, a policeman who works in Rome talked to me for an hour. Hahaha...was silly at first talking to a complete stranger but I learned a lot and helped him with his English.

I know a teacher who lives in Italy who does Skype lessons. If you want, send me a private message, and I will send you his details.

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