If you have been following this blog for a while now you know I have been active in reviewing our Spanish language courses, but we also offer resources for learning several other languages. This month I will be looking at Italian.
Have you ever thought about taking a trip to Italy? Connect more with your Italian heritage or work on genealogy for Italian relatives? Maybe you just want a new hobby? If so you then you might consider taking up Italian with Gale Course’s Instant Italian.
This class follows the same basic framework as the other Gale courses that I outlined in my previous post. A six week course with two lessons released every week, each containing five chapters, an FAQ, short five question quiz, an assignment that could be 30 minutes of immersion (TV, Songs, news articles, etc) or a game. The only graded assignment is an open book final exam with 36 question that can only be taken only once. Get 70% of them right and you pass the course!
This course is geared towards tourists planning a medium to long trip to Rome or other exciting locations in the boot shaped country. It covers several useful phrases for getting around and asking for directions, numbers, dates, time, shopping, finding a hotel or hostel, emergency situations, and best of all, dining out.
That said, I had several problems with the course:
- Does not stress grammar enough. Vocabulary and phrases are nice, but do not build fundamentals. It also does not stress immersion as much as I would like.
- Several of the assignments are flash-based, which are fine in theory, but look like they have not been updated in years and would often not work or break.
- The discussion section was dead. It depends on the instructor as well as the students to have a healthy rapport, but you will have to speak up if you have any questions about the material.
Still, the formalized structure is useful to introduce learners to the basics of Italian grammar and it will give tourists enough to bumble around Italy without too much trouble. Do your best and remember that this is just the start of learning a language. Make sure to practice every day using variety of sources such as books, movies, or songs. The ultimate goal of fluency will be harder to reach without other speakers to practice with so consider joining a club or hiring a tutor if you are hard up for conversation partners. The only thing limiting you is the time you plan to devote to studying.
Session Start Dates:
You can join the course through Gale Courses in our Eresources section under the lifelong learning tab, see:
Mango Languages – This service covers a number of languages, but its Italian section is fairly robust with 23 hours of content as well as several supplementary conversation examples and films. This is also found under the same section on our site as Gale Courses.
Duolingo – A free online service dedicated to making language learning accessible to everyone. It’s a more active alternative to Mango and geared towards daily practice. I use it extensively for studying both Italian and Spanish. They also host meet up groups for members to practice, check your area for more details.
Cooljugator – Simple online tool that will spit out a conjugation chart for every Italian verb!
Fluentin3months – A blog that hosts countless resources for learning a variety of languages, including Italian.
The library also offers a respectable amount of materials in Italian in our Foreign Language sections. Check with staff at the Media and Reference desk for more details.