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Learning Italian

Happy New Year - am traveling to Italy Oct 2015 - would like to learn to read basic Italian.
Does anyone have any recommendations? PS - I already have the RS Italian Phrase Book.

Posted by
685 posts

A good app for the Ipad/Iphone is Duolingo. Free, fun and easy to use to learn basic Italian.

Posted by
6107 posts

Several recommendations: the "30 Days to Great Italian," book from Living Language is informative and entertaining; my copy is older, but there's a website (, I think) with newer offerings. For interpreting basic signs, notices, and menus the RS phrasebook or any good guidebook will be useful. I think it would be a good idea to get a bit of a grasp of the spoken language, as well. I like the Pimsleur language system, as well as "Italian with Michel Thomas". Both are on CDs. The Michel Thomas is particularly good for a quick overview of Italian. Pimsleur now has interactive web-based programs, but I just check out the discs from my local library (always a great place to start.) And of course, there's Rosetta Stone, but I haven't tried that myself. Oh, the Living Language book I mentioned above also comes with an audio CD, with entertaining and useful dialogues. We have found that even a smattering of Italian pays off, and the Italians are much more forgiving than we are of clumsy language attempts. It's worth the effort. Have fun, and Buon viaggio!

Posted by
151 posts

Love Pimsleur - have been working on Italian I for months - I drive a two hour round trip to work and it's great. I have found it very easy to learn - Thanks for the information. Grazie Mille!!

Posted by
48 posts

Check to see if there is a conversational Italian class in your city. I did that years ago for French, and it was amazing how fast I learned enough phrases to get by. You might also take a class at a local community college if one near you offers the language. Another time I bought a CD series on Amazon that I listened to in my car while I drove to work and back. The Italian I learned wasn't much, but gave me confidence. The romance languages are similar and Spanish is spoken where I live in California, so I picked up enough Italian to order food, ask directions and be polite!