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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best phrase book if you want to learn how to say more than hello during your trip.
Rough Guide Italian is structured completely different from most phrase books: The first 40 pages gives you numbers, days of the week, time, etc., and a 20 minute course in grammar. Oh no, you might be saying, but it is presented very simply. For instance it presents a handful of common verbs and their conjugations. So on one page you can see how to say "I have," "he...
Published on February 6, 2007 by brian komyathy

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate graphic design
What were they thinking? White text on light blue is exceedingly difficult to read. This foolish graphic design decision makes no sense and spoils what would otherwise be a somewhat useful Italian phrase book. Why such an easily avoidable mistake was made here is unfathomable. Furthermore, the section of the book dealing with phrases comprises a mere 18 pages. By...
Published on September 24, 2011 by Richard T. Joseph


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best phrase book if you want to learn how to say more than hello during your trip., February 6, 2007
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
Rough Guide Italian is structured completely different from most phrase books: The first 40 pages gives you numbers, days of the week, time, etc., and a 20 minute course in grammar. Oh no, you might be saying, but it is presented very simply. For instance it presents a handful of common verbs and their conjugations. So on one page you can see how to say "I have," "he has, " etc. and "I like," "he/ she likes," etc.

The rest of the book is split between an English-Italian dictionary (100 pages approx), a Italian-English dictionary (80 pages, approx.), and a 20 page menu reader. What makes the English-Italian dictionary pages unique, though, is that most every other page (at least) has dialogue boxes relating to the most useful word(s) on that particular page. For instance, when you thumb through the book for the word "live," you get the word itself, but also the phrases "I live in..." and "Where do you live?" It'll take you 10 minutes to find such a phrase in Berlitz or Lonely Planet in their "getting to know others' section. But because Rough Guide is structured as a dictionary, with hundreds of really useful phrases highlighted in boxes within, you can access something you want to say rather swiftly...and actually deliver it just a minute or so after looking for it. Add the grammar section, where you learn useful verbs and how to conjugate their past tenses, and the number section, and you can learn easily to chat with someone about where you are from, where you are going, where you have traveled thus far, what you like/liked, and so on. Likewise, knowing have to say "have" make sit easily to ask whether a hotel has rooms, whether the room has a shower (after thumbing through the book for the word for shower), etc. And when the answer comes back that the hotel doesn't have, or say "we have," you can actually catch what they are saying.

If still not persuaded, next time you're in a bookstore compare a Berlitz, a Lonely Planet, and a Rough Guide language phrase book side by side. Lonely Planet phrase books, for example, are basically several pages of basic grammar followed by many sections of phases you won't likely ever use. For instance, their guides can provide several pages each of lists of occupations, nationalities, college majors, items of stationary, jewellery, colors, insects, flowers, aquatic sports(!), electrical appliances, camping terms,and so on. Also provided are pat phrases to employ at a hotel's front desk, at a doctor's, at the optometrist, and eating out, among other mini-sections. The book, in effect, is set up to be taken out to be used once a day, if that. It's an improvement on Berlitz phrase books, but not by much. (Berlitz simply divides their books into 10 or so color coded sections such as: "sightseeing," "relaxing," "shopping," traveling around," "money," "eating out," etc.)

So, if you just want a book for emergencies (say, breaking a leg, etc.) then Berlitz and/or Lonely Planet phrase books will serve you well...in your pocket until you are faced with such a situation, since they do have many more specific terms (like 50 different parts of the the body), but if you really want to be able to say some things in Italian on a daily basis during your trip you'll be much better served by Rough Guide Italian. Cheers
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent phrase book, May 18, 2008
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
After reading the previous review, I went ahead and bought this book for my trip to Italy without looking into other phrase books available. I couldn't be happier with the Rough Guide one. It's a perfect size and somehow had all the words I needed to look up during my 10 days in Italy. I tried to speak Italian as much as possible, so I really did use this book a lot. I loved the quick verb conjugations and "How the Language Works" section in the back of the book. There is also a "Menu Reader" section near the back that's broken into food and drink, so you'll have a good idea what you're ordering at a restaurant without cluttering the rest of the dictionary with food-related words.

Another nice bonus is the free audio downloads that you can get from [...] You don't even have to own the book to download them, but the book has the written transcripts so you can follow along. I'm a visual learner, so that really helps me.

I also bought Teach Yourself Conversational Italian before going to Italy and found that was extremely helpful (though very lacking in verb conjugation on the CDs). I mostly listened to the CDs repeatedly and didn't look at the textbook much, but it's good to hear Italian spoken before you go attempting it yourself. I don't think the Rough Guide audio files alone would have been enough to make me comfortable speaking the language, but the phrase book really is a fabulous reference.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good info; a little hard to read, April 28, 2010
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
This phrasebook accomplishes its task of providing a good selection of words and phrases for travel. The arrangement is fine and the pocket size appropriate, but because of the way the book is printed, it can be hard to read in low light. Some of the paper is light blue with the Italian words printed in white, and in the dictionary sections for translating words "from" one language "to" the other, the words in the "to" language are printed in blue on white paper. Fortunately, the phonetic spelling for the Italian is in black print. Some readers might want to take the readability into consideration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent content, partly unreadable, January 14, 2011
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
The content and size of the book are ideal for traveling. It includes an English-Italian dictionary, an Italian-English dictionary, a separate Italian-English dictionary of food and beverage items, and a brief but valuable grammar. Unfortunately, the type is one size too small for easy reading, especially in dim light.

In the front of the book are two pages of basic phrases. The text of these is even smaller and less readable. This is followed by a short section of phrases for specific situations. This section is printed with black and white type on a grey background. It is utterly unreadable without bright light or a magnifying glass.

All the parts of the book have separate phonetic renderings of the Italian words. This is an essential feature because Italian pronunciation is radically different from English.

In summary, the last 90% of the book, which is the most readable, makes it a fine travel aid.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works For Me, July 11, 2008
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A. Todd (Cambridge, MA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
I bought this book in preparation for our trip to Italy, based on the previous reviews. I wasn't disappointed. I like the way it's organized, it was generally pretty easy to find what I was looking for, and it covered all the bases. It's small enough to carry around, and I was glad to have it on our trip.
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5.0 out of 5 stars rough guides, February 9, 2012
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Mary J Davis (DODGE CITY, KS, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
I bought the rough guide to Mexican Spanish before traveling to Mexico several years ago. It was really good so I bought the Italian one before going to Italy. It has a very useful format. I liked them so well I bought the Dutch, German, and I think Welsh ones for my daughter when she studied abroad.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good quite useful guide, October 6, 2011
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
The Rough Guide Phrasebook Italian.
I bought this guide hoping to get a useful list of phrases. After all, that's why it is called a phrasebook, isn't it?
The book pocket size itself is very comfortable, 4 by 6 in, binding is sewn (so the pages are not going to fall out). It has 268 pages. I'd like to point out that out of those 268 pages 18 (eighteen!) are pages of phrases! That's it.

Here how the guide is done:
* 2 pages of Basic Phrases (like Goodbye, Good night, Can I have..., Do you speak English, etc)
* 16 pages of scenarios (phrases by theme). One page per theme. The themes are: Accommodation, Banks, Booking a Room, Car hire, Communications, Direction, Emergencies, Friends, Health, Language difficulties, Meeting people, Post offices, Restaurants, Shopping, Sightseeing, Trains.
* 91 pages of English-Italian dictionary;
* 76 pages of Italian-English dictionary;
* 21 pages of Menu reader: Food;
* 5 pages of Menu reader: Drink
* 31 pages of How the Language Works

Those 16 scenarios are not broken down in the Table of Content. So you have to memorize what those themes are or just keep flipping pages every time you need to find something. Sooner or later you'll know it heard (it is, after all, only 16 pages).

Why and how it works for me.
1. Scenarios. Let's say we want to ask direction to the nearest Post Office. The Direction scenario is on page 18 (you have to go through all scenarios to find it - well, they are listed alphabetically, so you will have to go from A to D only). Once you found the scenario, you pick up there a part of the phrase "Hi, I'm looking for...", then find the Post Office scenario or just go to the English-Italian dictionary and find Post Office.
Ooops, this example might not be the best. The Post Office scenario translates post office as la posta. The dictionary, however, translates it as l'ufficio postale. My guess is either one might be easily understood by Italians, but I'm not quite sure.
Anyway, you got the picture. Consider the guide mainly as a dictionary with a few bonus phrase pages.

2. Dictionary pages also have some phrases. For example, you want to ask "How old are you?". You can quickly check Meeting People or Friends scenarios. The phrase you need is not there. Then you go to Dictionary part, find "Old" and there you are: between words "old" and "old-fashioned" there is a Dialogue insert with three phrases in English and Italian: "How old are you? - I am twenty five - and you?" So it is not difficult to find the word you need AND to use it in the phrase.

3. How the Language works section is really useful, especially for those who stays in Italy more then a week or two. The section covers Pronunciation, nouns, verb, questions, dates, day and so on. You can get a decent overview of Italian language.

4. Free MP3 downloads of all 16 scenarios (24 for the newest guide edition). The files are between 1.5 to 2 MB is size. Personally I think they are the most important part of the guide. Learn to speak Italian as an Italian! Well, maybe not, but at least you can try.

Conclusion: I found the guide quite useful. There is not a single book that can totally satisfy all the needs of those who trying to grab at least the basics of the foreign language. Sometime later, if you want, you can get yourself a 700 pages dictionary, an Italian language textbook, or even a Rosetta Stone program. But for the beginning, this Rough Guide will do just fine.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate graphic design, September 24, 2011
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
What were they thinking? White text on light blue is exceedingly difficult to read. This foolish graphic design decision makes no sense and spoils what would otherwise be a somewhat useful Italian phrase book. Why such an easily avoidable mistake was made here is unfathomable. Furthermore, the section of the book dealing with phrases comprises a mere 18 pages. By comparison, an old Berlitz phrase book has 115 pages of phrases in 18 sections. On the plus side, the free audio downloads are helpful.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, August 9, 2008
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Italian Dictionary Phrasebook 3 (Rough Guide Phrasebooks) (Paperback)
Very helpful. Has a good span of vocabulary in it and it is small enough to put in a pocket or purse.
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