These intensive programs are complete language immersion courses, and were created by the federal agency that trains U.S. government personnel in foreign language proficiency. They start with grammar and vocabulary basics, then bring students to proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. This program contains a grammar textbook plus fifteen compact discs.
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Mastering Italian: with 15 Compact Discs based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
This must have been developed for bureaucrats who mastered and prefer rote learning without a shred of imagination. Whenever I listen to it, the advancement from question to question is so miniscule that I am bored stiff after three pages. I have no idea how anyone could make it through all the cds (or tapes). Do you really need to know the syntactical name of the sounds you're learning to learn it (semi-vowels, etc.). The whole concept of this book and audio is muddled! How were you supposed to use it to any useful end? Someone reads the identical sentences you're already reading in the book. This might help for word recognition but when it comes to Italian words, they spell out pronunciations instead of using the actual spelling. Like you will ever recognize words that way. Then, with little warning, as you're following along a question is asked and the answer is alway right in front of you. The book is as ugly as any book could be. Fact after fact for hundreds of pages. The text is as ugly and lifeless as an employed-for-life drone could muster, and it's use is non-sensical. Spend a hundred bucks on anything but this. This is teaching from a hundred unimaginative years ago.
Having just returned from Italy, where I put more than half of this program to work in conversational Italian, I would recommend you look elsewhere for a way to learn Italian. I really like the way the course introduces pronounciation, and that seems very accurate. When it comes to spelling and usage within the book, you'll find increasing numbers of errors as you listen to the CDs. The number of bewildered looks I got from Italians when I used phrases I'd learned from the book were infuriating. An example...the book tells you to use 'mi porti un po di pane' to say 'I'd like some bread.' There are multiple sets of drills that reinforce this phraseology. In Italy, I was told that this sentence structure was blatantly incorrect. It says, more or less, 'me bring some bread.' If this is the course being used to teach our diplomatic corps Italian (as claimed on its cover), the diplomatic messes we see happening are much easier to understand!