martedì, aprile 01, 2008


Concise Oxford-Paravia Italian Dictionary (I couldn't find the Penguin Concise Italian Dictionary for sale in the U.S.)

2. Complete Handbook of Italian Verbs by Angelo Guarnuccio.

3. Oxford Duden Pictorial Italian Dictonary

4. Schaum's Outline of Italian Grammar

5. Italian Verb Drills by Paola Nanni-Tate

6. L'Espresso magazine or La Repubblica newspaper (articles often have some of the latest idioms and expressions that might not be in dictionaries).

7. Music: Opera is difficult, especially if it's not sung by native singers. On the other hand I am pretty addicted to Zucchero and can actually follow what he's singing. Check out the main page of Impariamo.com for links to Zucchero, Eros, and Giorgia music CDs!

8. Interactive CDs: I just got "Learn Italian Now!" from Transparent Language. It's better than tapes, since I can type in any word and find out how it's pronounced, plus it has word games, language drills and little videos with people speaking in real time.

9. Online radio broadcasts. They run in real time and force you to concentrate without a dictionary.

10. This group! This is probably the best resource for learning Italian anywhere. Even if you never ever interact with the group, you could spend months just going through the files and bookmarks, they are an incredibly wonderful accumulation of information. But interacting with everyone here is also a wonderful thing. No lesson book on earth would give you so many views on how a sentence might be interpreted and translated. Let alone the information that our native Italian speakers can gives us. I don't think anyone would learn those in a regular classroom!

11. 501 Italian Verbs by Colaneri and Luciani - Absolutely indispensable.

12. A BIG dictionary. I like Harper Collins Sansoni Italian Unabridged.

13. A LITTLE dictionary. Harper Collins again. Their "Pocket Italian Dictionary" has more words in a more useful format than its four predecessors.

14. "2001 Italian and English Idioms" by Gobetti et al. This is the place to look up all those quirky sayings in either language. When someone tells you you are "proprio in gamba" you can figure out whether to be insulted or pleased. It is a lot of fun to just read this book. Our idioms are like a window into our cultures.

15. "English Grammar for Students of Italian" by Adorni and Primorac. Another essential resource. I think there are a lot of people on this list that swear by this little purple book. It's not a traditional Italian grammar book. It approaches grammar through English. For me, it's nearly impossible to learn when to use the subjunctive conditional in the dependent clause if I have no idea what those things are. Most of us aging Boomers had English grammar a long, long time ago. This is a great reminder.

16. "Italian Fundamentals - Basic Grammar & Vocabulary - Essential Verbs - Common Idioms" by Robert V. Piluso. This is a tri-fold, three 8-1/2 X 11 plasticized two-sided pages with holes punched for a binder. It summarizes just the key points of everything you want to know. You know those little index cards that some people make themselves that capture the key points? These three pages do that. The students that I study with say that if we just knew the material on these three pages, we'd know Italian ha ha ha.

17. "A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian" by Maiden and Robustelli. An advanced grammar that is over my head in many ways. But the extent of their explanations is so far superior to anything else that I have seen. Not just a summary with a few examples but pages and pages with very quirky examples. If you read the examples, you'd wonder what the heck these two authors do in their day jobs! The examples are full of weird references. Like, "She'd heard that I had been bringing in the cocaine" and "So who will they shoot? Me. Or maybe you." ha ha ha Or how about this one: "The illegal immigrants got throw into the sea without regard for children or pregnant women." Yikes!

18. "Using Italian Synonyms" by Moss and Motta. A big thick wonderful thesaurus organized in groups of related concepts and indexed by key words. An advanced reference. Features a rating system that tells you which of the alternatives is appropriate in formal settings or in casual or intimate settings. The authors say that more alternatives are displayed for concepts that have more words (makes sense) and that these are areas in which the Italian culture is particularly interested. So if there are twelve different ways of saying "thin", for example, the authors suggest that "thinness" is a value or a focus of attention in the Italian mind or culture. This is a unique book. I have never seen anything else like it in the stores.

19. Any CD by Andrea Bocelli! Pop or opera, Bocelli's diction is so wonderfully clear that you can understand every word. And each CD come with a booklet with all the lyrics. Or find the lyrics on this nice website: http://abmusica.home.mindspring.com/song_index.htm What a great way to practice while you are driving!

20. Master The Basics: Italian, 2nd Ed. Marcel Danesi, Ph.D.

21. Learning Italian CD/Cassette and Book programs: Living Language Series.

22. A Good Phrasebook: Rick Steves Italian Phrasebook; orItalian At A Glance by Barrons

23. A Good Textbook: Prego, 5th Ed.

24. Essentials Italian: Quick Access to Important Aspects of the Language and it's use, Reasearch and Education Association. (Sorry, I couldn’t find this one!)

25. A good attitude and the desire to learn is the best advice I can give you. You will become frustrated and overwhelmed when learning a new language, but remember Rome was not built in a day! Learning a new language takes years. You have to start at the very beginning (the basics) and work your way through. In bocca al lupo! Good Luck! Roby

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