How to learn the lingo

Foreign language Italian courses in box, CD, and computer form

Free language lessons!
The venerable BBC provides free audio and video language courses at:
Rosetta Stone multimedia, CDs, DVDs, books, and interactive book/computer combos—whatever works best for you, use it to learn a bit of the local lingo before you travel (or during long plane and train rides).

Here are some popular choices:

Rosetta StoneRosetta Stone

Expensive, but wildly popular; used by the State Department and the U.S. Military to learn new languages. [from] Start speaking Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and over 20 other languages with ease using Rosetta Stone's innovative TOTALe system. You'll learn naturally with Rosetta Stone's award-winning PC and Macintosh software and proprietary speech-recognition technology. Then hone your skills online with native tutors and join an interactive community with your fellow learners. From Arabic to Korean, Spanish to Vietnamese, connect with the world around you with the unsurpassed Rosetta Stone Version 4 TOTALe.

Pimsleur Language Programs

PimsleurAvailable in 50 languages; many people swear by this system, which is available in three styles: Mp3 download & App (mobile); Interactive and Visual Software (desktop/laptop); and traditional CD & book (eyeballs and ears). As with Rosetta Stone, you can buy one level at a time, or bundle many levels together for a savings (and, like Rosetta Stone, you want the savings; it doesn't come cheap). [From the website:] Dr. Pimsleur's Method® has been trusted for 50 Years by U.S. government agencies, diplomats, corporations, and anyone who wants or needs to learn to speak a language quickly and effectively. Give us 30 minutes a day and we’ll have you speaking a new language in no time. Thirty minutes a day is all it takes to develop a near native accent and become proficient in your new language. Plus, Pimsleur’s portability makes it easy for you to find the time. Learn Spanish while you’re driving to work. Speak Italian while exercising. Study French while waiting for a plane. Practice Russian while walking the dog. Learn Mandarin in your living room. Pimsleur digital lessons play on your device of choice—computer, tablet, iPod or smartphone. If you’re more traditional, take our CDs with you on your drive or enjoy them at home.

Instant ImmersionInstant Immersion [Language]

A bit similar to Rosetta Stone, but way cheaper. Available for Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Hawaiian, and English for Spanish-speakers. [from] Spend less, learn more with Instant Immersion™! Learn with Ease: Instant Immersion™ uses natural image association techniques to help you learn as easily as you learned your first language. With Instant Immersion, you will have more fun, save money and reach your goals faster — guaranteed! Whether you're learning a new language for school, work or your next vacation, Instant Immersion's fun and effective exercises, interactive activities and challenging quizzes will help you achieve language fluency in less time than other language systems. You will think, read and speak your new language with ease. What You Get: • Level 1: This level teaches you the essential words and phrases you will need in order to get around with ease. Learn basic vocabulary and everyday phrases in no time! • Level 2: Learn more complex phrases, correct pronunciation and how to converse in your new language. Talk about sports and hobbies, family, friends, work and more! • Level 3: Reach your language learning goals by immersing yourself in advanced conversations that will refine your language skills and help you retain what you learned. Exclusive Features Included: Bonus Interactive DVD: Language learning on your TV! Instant Immersion™ I-DVD is a fun, interactive game for the whole family! Bonus Audio Disco: Learn on the go! The Instant Immersion™ audio CD easily transfers to your iPod® or MP3 player. It's perfect for students, vacationers or business travelers!

Living Language Platinum

Whether your goal is to make friends while traveling, speak the language of your parents or grandparents, or brush up on a language learned long ago, Living Language® Platinum will help you achieve it. At the heart of Platinum is the Living Language Method™, which combines proven learning techniques and the latest technologies. You learn how to really speak a language – not just recite memorized words. Curently available for Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese.

[Language] for Dummies

[from for the Spanish edition; also available for French, Italian, German, Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, and Latin:] The fast and painless way to learn to speak Spanish. Are you a student studying Spanish; a traveler gearing up for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country; or someone who simply wants to communicate with Spanish-speaking friends, neighbors, and colleagues? Spanish For Dummies® is your hands-on guide for quickly and painlessly grasping the basics of speaking Spanish. You'll get a handle on grammar, essential vocabulary, verb conjugations, and pronunciations in no time! Audio CD includes more than 30 conversations that reinforce lessons from the book • Spanish 101 — learn to recite the alphabet; pronounce words and phrases; and meet, greet, and exchange pleasantries with other Spanish speakers. • It's as easy as uno, dos, tres — discover how to ask key questions, chat about the weather, describe family members, order food, talk about where you live, and more. • Happy trails — take your Spanish on the road and discover how to plan a trip, exchange your money for local currency, get around with various modes of transportation, and check into a hotel. • Take care of business — grasp the essential Spanish language skills you need to talk on the phone and perform everyday tasks at the office.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning ItalianThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning [Language]

[from, for the Italian version, though there is also Spanish. German, French, Russian, Arabic, Latin, and Yiddish:] For anyone who wants to learn and enjoy the most expressive and romantic of languages, the third edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Italian is the first choice for a whole new generation of enthusiastic students of Italian. This updated edition includes two new quick references on verbs, grammar, and sentence structure; two new appendixes on Italian synonyms and popular idiomatic phrases; and updated business and money sections. Author Biography: Gabrielle Euvino has been teaching Italian since 1986. The president and founder of La Bella Lingua, an educational immersion program, she also teaches Italian at the Learning Annex in New York City.

Berlitz Rush Hour Italian: A Musical Language Course for People On the GoBerlitz Rush Hour: A Musical Language Course for People On the Go

[from] Rush Hour uses the power of catchy melodies and dynamic rhythms to introduce you to basic expressions and vocabulary for every day life. Follow the main character, Jon through all the events of his day - as he learns the language, so will you. HIGHLIGHTS: All-audio course - listen and learn at home, at the gym, in the car, on the plane 10 short lessons fit easily into you busy lifestyle Topics include: greetings, telling time, transportation, weather, jobs, food, shopping, sports, and leisure activities. Exciting storyline keeps you involved. Listener's guide helps you follow along with ease INCLUDES: 2 CDs of language-learning lessons set to lively music Bonus CD with popular Rush Hour songs; Listener's guide with a complete transcript of the audio course; Downloadable Rush Hour word game; Free sturdy case to hold your Rush Hour CDs. [user review:] My 3 year old and I zip around town listening to these CDs and love singing the catchy songs. It is a great way to pick up a couple of practical phrases while running errands. It has made my toddler and myself want to learn more and a great way to introduce people of all ages to Italian. I even think my 9 month old enjoys the songs and conversations because he seems pretty happy when they are playing. ;)

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.