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Pimsleur Italian was the third piece of software I tried in my attempt to try and learn Italian. It is a very simple product - it is simply a CD with lots of thirty minute lessons on it. The CD slowly teaches you new sentances, constantly asking you about previous sentances and testing you on how you think you would say something. The narrator has a very clear and easily understandable voice so it is easy to follow and listen to.
Pimsleur had an immediate advantage over other products that I chose - it immediatley taught me something that I might actually one day need to choose! So many products teach you the most useless statements that you will never need to say in English, let alone Italian - but Pimsleur actually begins by telling you how to tell someone that you don't understand or that you don't speak Italian very well, followed shortly by lessons teaching you how to ask for directions and how to ask how someone is - and how to answer it as well!
The program begins by telling you how to say something. Immediatley after telling you the full sentance, it will break it down into the individual sounds for you, which you repeat. You feel like a bit of an idiot basically making gorilla noises as you say each individual part, but it really is very helpful - and it's quite amazing how much you mishear the words without it broken down into tiny parts for you! Once you can say the full sentance it will ask you to repeat it a few times, before asking you again. Then it will begin to add variations to the sentance - for example, once you know how to say that you would like to eat something, it begins to tell you how to say that you would like to drink something, followed by how to ask if you would like to drink something specific like wine, etc. Each lesson begins by asking you to listen to a conversation using vocabulary you have previously learnt, and many of the lessons end in a similar way, only with you responding to someone else. Whenever it asks you to say something there is a pause for you to say it, followed by what you should have said, so it is helpful in drilling it into your head.
The only problem with this program is that it is very targetted towards Americans; but that's okay. For example, in the first lesson you learn how to state that you are American, but not how to say that you are English or anything like that. Later on there is also a section where you can discuss how many dollars you have (I don't know why you would be carrying dollars around Italy, no matter where you're from...) and it is a bit outdated in this area as it also talks about Lihre rather than about Euros.
Overall I have found this product very useful and have stuck with it! It can get a bit irritating at times, especially on lessons that you just can't seem to grasp, but I appreciate it for the fact that it teaches you statements that you will actually use in Italy.
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