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Just Listen 'N Learn Italian 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0844295992
ISBN-10: 084429599X
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Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Just Listen N' Learn
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (January 11, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084429599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844295992
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1.8 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,816,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found this course a little frustrating to use. It's interesting to hear the sounds of speakers over loudspeakers in the train stations and how "real" Italians might sound when they speak with each other on the tape. However, the tape and booklet do not always follow along with each other. In addition, if you want to learn to speak Italian, this is not the course for you. It's more about listening because words and phrases are spoken much to quickly for you to easily repeat them and to practice pronunciation. I not recommend this for someone who is starting from the very beginning in their Italian study.
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By A Customer on April 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I did not find this CD useful. It was advertised as listen and learn. I am going on a trip to Italy and I wanted to become familiar with the language. I have a 45-minute drive to work each day and wanted something to listen to on the way that would familiarize me with the language. This CD requires constant interaction with the book, which doesn't work well driving to work. Most the CD is in Italian, but without the book there is very little English translation.
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Format: Paperback
This is a well paced course suitable for someone just starting Italian. At first, the taped conversations can be frustrating, because most are recorded live "on location", using real native speakers in real life situations. However, there is a full transcript of each conversation, along with vocabulary and an explanation of grammatical points. (I actually ended up wishing that the book concentrated MORE on grammar, although most people probably prefer less.) One of the few improvements that could be made would be an explanation of the stress patterns in Italian words, which would make it easy for the reader to know exactly how to pronounce a word or verb form that appeared only in print, but not in the dialogues. This is NOT intended to teach you just a few "set" phrases for use during short trip to Italy or to an Italian restaurant. Instead, it's meant to help you understand and converse in Italian in real life situations.
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Format: Paperback
I have recommended, and even gifted, this set of tapes and its excellent course book to many friends - particularly those who wish to spend summers in Italy - running a house, dealing with local Italians, and travelling around by car. I also often quote from it - particularly the loving humour with which aspects of Italian life are explained.
It is true that sometimes you have to rewind frequently to match the words on the transcripts and the sounds on the tapes, but this has the pay-off in that it does simulate real-life situations and so prepare you for them. When you speak to someone in Italy, there usually is alot of noise, people have varying accents and there could, moreover, be someone impatient behind you in line who would not enjoy your asking everything to be repeated several times!
Each of the lessons not only deals with a specific situation, but is followed by a "Did You know?" section which explains various aspects of the Italian way of organizing things. These relate to the OCCASIONS on which you would use Italian in Italy: e.g. when buying a train ticket (or a 100 gms of coffee), when lost on the road, or in a garage with a car problem.
Having only got to lesson 6, I was able that summer to shop (and find out about discounts), buy opera tickets (and understand schedule information), and even make friends with people at cafes and in museums. I also knew I must always take a receipt (we're required to produce one by law, within 200 metres of a vendor's location) whenever I bought anything. In fact, I felt I had 'lived' in Italian, not just 'been and seen'.
I recommend this course thoroughly and only wish their CD versions were equally easily available.
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Format: Paperback
While it is true that you can't JUST 'Listen' to learn with these CDs (there is also an audio cassette version), I have found their method the most excellent and fun way to learn to use a language in the country where it is spoken.
The Italian lessons taught me not only the turns of phrase that Italians use (and which you will HEAR spoken in Italy) but also gave me a sense of typical situations and venues in which I would come across those phrases, concepts, and terminology. (A small example, I learnt that you don't always buy by the pound or even the kilogram at a grocers, but by the 100 grams, which are called "etti".)
Learning a language is not just learning how to substitute English words for a foreign one, it is to learn how to THINK and LIVE in a different way. These CDs go with an excellent book which not only gives transcripts of the conversations on which every lesson is organized, but also tells you alot about how shops, travel, food, and life in general is experienced in Italy.
While it would be great to be able to imbibe a language by just listening, the reality is that we learn languages by living in them - and these books guide you through the process of listening - to different accents in real life situations -, then figuring out what words, concepts and phrases people have used and, having understood these to be able to USE THEM ONESELF.
This simulates the process by which, over time, we learnt our native tongue (except we were children then, and MUCH more patient with and less demanding of ourselves). The course also organises the learning better than we would encounter in real life - once in a restaurant you stay there until you can wend your way through undertanding a menu, ordering, making special requests, and paying.
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