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learning a little Italian

any suggestions out there for an affordable, just the basics CD set to learn a little Italian?

Posted by
3 posts

I found "one-day italian" by elisabeth smith quite good, it is set during a flight so the basics are covered within a conversation The scenerio is that an Italian resident offers to teach a hopeless tourist 60 words of italian and a few helpful sentences during the flight.
Easy to listen to whilst walking or jogging

Posted by
1826 posts

The cheapest and one of the best ways to learn some basic Italian is to download a Podcast - if you have an iPod or other MP3 player.

There is a great one by a Scottish guy...You work on one lesson a day....and they progress a bit. It will really teach you the basics. The lessons are not long...3-4 min each, but you listen and learn a lot...and it's totally free.

I have tons of lessons loaded on my iPod and work on them when I'm at the gym, walking...and on the plane heading over to Italy!

Just do a search on iTunes for languages. These are also available for German, etc.

Posted by
525 posts

Chere, do a google search for audio Italian lessons. There are several that you can sit at your computer and hear the words in English first then Italian and you can practice saying the word or phrase. is one; is another.

Posted by
31592 posts

Chere, there are LOTS of language training systems available. If you do a search of the net, I'm sure you'll find numerous possibilities.

One of the best systems I've found is the Pimsleur system. I believe they have a simple beginnners course, in addition to the more elaborate Level I, II & III courses. Check out for further information. I use the Bookchips in a PDA (always with me!).

Also have a look at Rosetta Stone - it's a computer based learning system (might be available for loan at your local Library)?

You might also check local language training schools in your area, as they might have night school courses or whatever (that's how I started learning Italian, but unfortunately the local Instructor isn't offering the courses any more). I've found this to be the most effective method, as feedback from a native Italian speaker is the best way to learn. If you're close to Seattle, check out the Seattle Language Academy.

Buona Fortuna!

Posted by
221 posts

thanks everyone. I work and live in a smaller city and Italian classes aren't an option. it was my guess that there are tons of products out there, that is why I went the lazy route to get some feedback. I didn't think about pod casts or audio downloading, I am still a little green at that. have figured out how to load music from CD's to my MP3 player but not podcasts. I'll have one of my kids show me how to do that, also you can load an audio tour from Rick for some of his self guided walks and I want to do that. But I don't have an Ipod, I have a Samsung MP3 player. anyway thanks everyone!

Posted by
1449 posts

I can recommend the Pimsleur Italian course. There are 90 lessons in all, the course is packaged in sets of 30. It is VERY expensive to buy and I don't recommend that, but your library may have a copy either in stock or that it can borrow from an affiliated library. I listened to the 1st 30 before a trip to Italy last fall. With 15 hours of training you can't expect to have conversations (and I didn't) but I knew the polite greetings, numbers, could order in restaurants, ask at hotels if they had rooms available, etc.

Another resource I know about (but have not used) is at It is free to listen to their audio, but you'll probably need their transcripts to make best use of the course (at $10/mos to subscribe).

Posted by
269 posts

I used Drive Time Italian . 4 hours of lessons on 4 CD's. I learned enough Italian to converse with a local Italian geocacher to find a geocache we both were looking for.

Posted by
84 posts

Search for this podcast in iTunes...hey, it's free!

My Daily Phrase Italian

A fun little thing is the Italian, which has a phrase or word of the day and other fun stuff:

Posted by
934 posts

I have found that the phrases in the back of Rick Steves guidbooks give you pretty much what you need.Polite words,information words including food helps.Ive never needed anything more.

Posted by
206 posts

We just returned from two weeks in Italy. Before going, I used "my daily phrase,Italian" which I downloaded for free on itunes. I don't have an ipod (and my kids weren't interested in sharing), so I listened to most on the computer. I did put some onto CD's for the car. I found the lessons quite practical, and am glad I did that before my trip. The whole course is supposed to last 20 weeks (100 lessons five days a week). Since I started too late I did the whole thing in about 10 weeks.

Posted by
221 posts

thanks everyone, I bought Italian for Dummies off Amazon and have been listening to it on my commute. I think it will be a great help and I like the way it is organized although they have some sections that will be of no use to me (like career/business vocab) wish it had more travel related phrases, but over all I am pleased with the product and it was affordable. I will download it to my mp3 player before I go.