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Rosetta Stone

Hilton Head, South...
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Rosetta Stone

Has anyone used these CD's to learn basic Italian? We leave for Italy in September and want to learn some basics to help us get around for 3 weeks.

NY
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1. Re: Rosetta Stone

Rosetta is excellent, but also expensive, at least to us non Hilton Headers (just kidding) and mean an investment in time between now and September. It is usually good to start at least 6 months ahead, in my opinion.

There are other CD based courses that can also do a fairly good job with the basics, and some on line courses also.

And, it depends on where you are going. While it is good to learn something, in the tourist industry in Italy you will find many English speakers.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Rosetta Stone

We are using Rosetta Stone to learn French and love it -- it is excellent, but it takes a lot of commitment and effort -- and it is absolutely not designed for tourists.

You learn the language. But it takes awhile -- I would thnk at least 6 most -- maybe a year (at the rate I am going, it will be a year till I get through all levels) And the focus i on actually learning the language not on the phrases you will need to cope in a trip that is a month away.

There are many products designed to make people minimally competent for tourist travel. I used one over 25 years ago for Italian before our first trip to Italy. It was excellent. I was able to ask directions, order in restaurants, shop and be polite. It is available still with two cassettes rather than CDs unfortunately -- but if you have the capacity to play cassettes, it is well worth it. The set is called 'Getting by in Italian' by Barrons.

I loved their philosophy -- instead of long complex sentences to memorize, they teach you how to get by with the fewest words -- with zero Italian to start, we were able to cope while living in a village where no one spoke a word of English and 'get by'. Really a useful program for the first time tourist.

oh and the BBC has some free on line language programs that are also tourist oriented -- I haven't looked for Italian -- but that would also be useful. you do need even in tourist areas to be able to be polite in the local language and these programs are designed for this minimal competence.

Edited: 12 July 2011, 16:02
South Hadley...
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3. Re: Rosetta Stone

Before I learned Italian, I used the BBC website which has free Italian online courses. It's ideal if you're just looking to learn some quick phrases, and there is grammar but it's not very heavy. Here's the website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/italian/lj/

If you're leaving in September, you could try your hand at grammar, but I imagine you'll find the basic phrases and responses easiest/quickest for your trip. Have a great time! And if you're visiting major cities (Rome, Florence, Venice in particular), everyone speaks English anyway :)

Hilton Head, South...
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4. Re: Rosetta Stone

Thank you all soo much. I think I will check ou the BBC website.

Boston...
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5. Re: Rosetta Stone

Also, I'm sure your local public library has free language cd's. We're going in Sept also and I've been listening to Pimsleur's for the last 2 months in my car.

I used these cd's for France last year and did really well, but had taken French in school. Italian is beautiful but all the conjugations are hard. 4 years of Latin in highschool has not helped lol.

NY
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6. Re: Rosetta Stone

"Italian is beautiful but all the conjugations are hard"

Yeah, they have conjugations for conjugations ! I am sure/think even Italians don't use them all.

But, as other say, if you can learn at least some basic questions, and understand some basic answers, you will be doing well in the time you have. But listening and understanding is also difficult without a lot of practice as they speak so fast sometimes/usually, Also, you have to learn hand gestures of course, you can't speak Italian without using your hands.

We all laugh at some of the silly phrases in some of the travel books, but one I wished I had learned was "pardon me, but our toilet is leaking all over the bathroom" maybe "perdonatemi, ma il nostro WC perde tutto il bagno "

or somthing like that

Edited: 12 July 2011, 22:24
Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Rosetta Stone

yes on our first trip we wish we had learned 'I seem to have blown all the fuses by trying to boil water and dry my hair at the same time -- can you fix this?' -- it took us about 45 minutes to finally communicate this to the elderly caretaker of the enormous bishop's villa where we had a tiny apartment in a teensy village not too far from Siena. there was not a soul in town who spoke any English at all -- and we did fine until we knocked out the power.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Rosetta Stone

I tried Rosetta stone for Italian but ended up at my local TAFE doing more formal courses. Nick always teased me that I wouldn't need "l'aereo è giallo" but I saw a yellow plane just outside Florence, much to my joy.

For quick tourist phrases I was thrilled with the French Berlitz "Earworms" which were catchy, repetitive and useful. The Italian should also be useful. You can buy a CD or download on-line.

Virginia
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9. Re: Rosetta Stone

Like flannan, I've been listening to Pimsleur's CDs in my car for months. I believe I paid about $16 on Amazon for 10 lessons - very good deal! I think that the Pimsleur CDs are very helpful and make learning Italian somewhat easy. I'll find out how much I really learned when I try communicating in Italy in a few days!

Edited: 13 July 2011, 17:05
Boston...
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10. Re: Rosetta Stone

iao,

The issue that I see is this: it's realistic to think that you'd be able to learn a good number of Italian phrases using Rosetta/Pimsleur. The problem arises when the Italian person that you speak to gives you his/her response -- you're almost certain to be hearing a bunch of words that you hadn't learned, and just as importantly in an accent and cant that will be new to you.

A key is having a good set of expectations. Specifically, you can expect to be able to express yourself a bit, and you'll also be miles ahead of most other tourists coming to Italy. But if you expect to be able to communicate exclusively in Italian, you might be disappointed.

Don