Italian 4, Phases 1-4-
A new 30-unit course designed to be completed after Italian Phase 3 (replaces Italian Phase 4, Units 1-10 course). Thirty 30-minute lessons totaling 15 hours of spoken Italian language learning, plus one hour of reading lessons designed to expand your vocabulary, expose you to a variety of cultural events, and give you practice reading and hearing Italian.
You'll be speaking and understanding Italian with near-fluency and with a broad range of conversational skills. In Phase 4 the pace and conversation moves more rapidly, accelerating exposure to new vocabulary and structures, and approaching native speed and comprehension.
You’ll learn to speak about your profession, needs, likes and dislikes, and to create complex sentences discussing the past, present, and future. A few of the topics included in Italian Phase 4:
Speak with a natural-sounding, near-native accent. No mindless repetition! Converse with native speakers in natural and useful conversations at a high-intermediate level. Easy, fast, fun and effective - we guarantee satisfaction and a measurable level of spoken proficiency (rules and regulations apply, see http://www.pimsleur.com/Proficiency-Guarantee for more details). Learn any time, anywhere. No computer necessary!
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"Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other language programs we reviewed." (AudioFile magazine)
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.
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.
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.
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