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What made the experience of listening to Italian Phase 4, Units 1-30 the most enjoyable?
As always, Pimsleur materials are high quality and well structured. Phase 4 introduces a more conversational grasp of the past and future tenses, as well as personal interaction beyond, "I like to play tennis. Do you like to play tennis?" I recommend it for anyone looking to speak and understand Italian.
What was most disappointing about Pimsleur’s story?
But also as always, the program will stress new words, like "sito del web," spending a lot of time sounding out "see-toh, see-toh del, see-toh del web," while completely ignoring all the little words that run together to create that real conversational tone. I think most Italians would understand the words website and blog, even if you just said them straight out in English. It's all the "dellas" and "L'ho me hanno dettos" that are sped over. Also, although it's antithetical to Pimsleur's method, a written guide would be nice.
What does Pimsleur bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
With the Pimsleur method, you really can't go wrong. I've used it for French and Hindi, and native speakers of both languages have praised my pronunciation and grammar (disclosure, I learned French when I was little, and I did a lot of extra Hindi reading and learning beyond Pimsleur). If you combine Byki, Pimsleur and daily reading in the language, you'll be proficient in no time. While I speak Portuguese and French, Italian has been hard to master for a number of reasons--first, it's hard to believe that the language actually sounds like you think it does--my fave quote from Phase 4 is "La nostra mostra ha un piccolo problemma." Second, it is so reflexive that unless you really understand the mechanics of grammar (which I don't, despite my love of speaking different languages), it's easy to get lost in conjugation. And that's one major reason to use Pimsleur. Instead of trying to memorize 501 Italian Verbs and their conjugations, just learning what to say is totally worthwhile.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I really like the way these lessons are structured, with lots of repetition, and one thing building on another. I wish, though, that the vocabulary were more useful for a beginner - like colors, parts of the body, and clothing rather than lesson after lesson about playing tennis and golf, and about opera singers, painters, and art reviews. I'm all in favor of the arts, but I'd first like to know words that are more basic to daily life, and more broadly useful.