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Best way to learn Italian?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So I'm an engineering student.

Through a series of lucky connections and co-incidences, I potentially have an opportunity for an awesome internship next summer in Italy.

It's a long story, and I haven't slept in about 24 hours, so I probably can't explain it in a cohesive manner right now.

Point it, I have from now until about next April to learn semi-functional Italian. How would you go about this?

I am fairly fluent in French, hopefully some background with a romantic language will help.

I have been recommended Rosetta Stone. Does anyone have experience with it? Does it work? Anything better?

As I already said, I am crashing pretty hard, but I'm wondering if you guys have any ideas or advice?

Thanks in advance,
Ben
post #2 of 14
Find an Italian deli--one with actual Italians--and go there every day for lunch until next April.

Italian is relatively easy to learn. Knowing Spanish would be more helpful than French.
post #3 of 14
Had to review some of these systems for a company I had worked for. Was not impressed by Rosetta Stone. The most effective program I found was the Michel Thomas Method. He makes it so easy to construct sentences.

http://www.michelthomas.co.uk/courses.php

As you learn phrases, write them down on index cards with the English translation on the other side and quiz yourself.

I'd also encourage you to get a book called "Wicked Italian" and keep it in the bathroom.

http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Italian-Traveler-English/dp/0894806173

Also, watch Italian comedies to get an ear for the sound of the language "Divorce Italian Style" is on Youtube and it's really funny.

Italians love it when foreigners attempt to speak Italian. You'll hear a lot of "Bravo!" after you say something.
Edited by willpower - 7/31/11 at 9:18pm
post #4 of 14
My mother lived in Italy during the 1970s and became fluent. She lost her ear for it over the decades. We went to Italy as a family in the early 2000s and she would struggle with conversation. One night on our trip we had dinner with an Italian family. My mother started drinking and became completely fluent again after a few hours. It was amazing.
post #5 of 14
Get an Italian woman - best way to learn the language.


Probably much more aeasily accomplished when you're already there, though.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll start hunting for a lunch spot tomorrow.

Willpower - Thanks for the lead to Michael Thomas, looks really good!

Anyone else have any recommendations?
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quatsch View Post

Get an Italian woman - best way to learn the language.


Probably much more aeasily accomplished when you're already there, though.

worked for me.... Italian girlfriend + one summer = passable Italian!
post #8 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by willpower View Post

Had to review some of these systems for a company I had worked for. Was not impressed by Rosetta Stone. The most effective program I found was the Michel Thomas Method. He makes it so easy to construct sentences.

http://www.michelthomas.co.uk/courses.php

As you learn phrases, write them down on index cards with the English translation on the other side and quiz yourself.

I'd also encourage you to get a book called "Wicked Italian" and keep it in the bathroom.

http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Italian-Traveler-English/dp/0894806173

Also, watch Italian comedies to get an ear for the sound of the language "Divorce Italian Style" is on Youtube and it's really funny.

Italians love it when foreigners attempt to speak Italian. You'll hear a lot of "Bravo!" after you say something.

 

fantastic advice, thanks

post #9 of 14

Finde a tutor ...

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzianbulwa View Post

Finde a tutor ...


I'm planning on doing this as soon as I am back in Ottawa this fall.

I'm looking for something I can start myself over the next month of so.
post #11 of 14

I am listening to michael thomas now, i'll let you know how it goes

post #12 of 14

Find an Italian lover or buy Rosetta Stone?

post #13 of 14
I had very good luck with berlitz. old-school, i know, but what did you expect from me? after a while of that, i joined a conversational italian club that met every couple weeks for dinner. that helped a lot, too. actually, knowing some spanish turned into a real problem for me with italian -- precisely because the languages are so similar in construction, but inverse in pronunciation. "si" and "se", etc. and i never have gotten the hang of appropriate use of reflexive verbs.
but as someone pointed out earlier, the italians are not french and they still appreciate someone making the effort.
post #14 of 14
I did the Michel T thing before coming here. He's OK, and quite a unique methodology possibly.
Anyway, unless you absolutely can't come here to learn, which is obviously the best solution, as someone said, get an Italian woman, listen to Italian radio (24 is good for talk, business, economy, culture etc), watch movies (some decent modern releases out there), hang in that deli. Anything you can, basically. At least try to fit in a week to 10-day holiday here before April.
Also, find an Italian who wants to perfect their English and do an intercambio: you talk for 30' in English then she talks 30' in Ital. Free and useful.
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