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Living Italian: a grammar-based course (LL) Paperback – 26 Jun 2009


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This title will be released on September 10, 2015.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; 5 edition (26 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340990724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340990728
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'this is one of the best language books that I've ever seen' (amazonco.uk user review)

'[I] am constantly buying myself a new copy as I often "lend" out my copy which regularly doesn't get returned!' (amazonc.co.uk user review)

'it has a nice tone, is a pleasure to work through, and is thorough' (amazon.co.uk user review)

Book Description

The original grammar-based course

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Sheehy on 10 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
I haven't finished this book, but I would definitely give it a thumbs up. I've been in Italy for about 4 months (more or less) and although have been attending classes for foreigners in Italian, you really need a guide like this to talk you through everything as well. The exercises are pretty good too, and although sometimes I feel lazy and don't wanat to do them, when you're done there's good sense of accomplishment and your brain feels like it's had a nice workout.
Sometimes the language seems a bit tough for me to get through (as in the English descriptions), as it is written by a university professor, but I find if you just go over it several times you can understand what they mean, and then it's good because the explanations are pretty specific. It's also got a nice guide in the back with some key words and all their tenses; I haven't had to use this yet but am pretty sure it's going to come in handy. :)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Emidio Myskow on 29 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to teach themselves Italian. It has all of the answers to the exercises in the back. Just do one exercise a week and in 30 weeks you will have a comprehensive understanding of how the language is spoken. The CD contains all of the Vocabulary passages so Pronunciation is not a problem. You will be able to converse in italian in many situations and the grammer exercises are thorough enough to enable the student to progress further. I can confidently ask about things people places etc. I can make my own sentences up. And be understood This is not a phrase book. This is a great learning book. Well worth the money.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shane on 2 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first saw this book on Amazon, I was suspicious of all the five star reviews. I really thought the publisher must have been on the site, writing recommendations! Well, having bought the book and being half-way through the course at the moment, I'm no longer surprised by the rave reviews. The course is excellent.

When I learned languages at school, the dominant teaching method was the one described by other reviewers as "by osmosis": the teacher would show us a flash card with, let's say, a picture of a storm cloud on it and repeat the phrase for "It is stormy". None of the grammar would be explained at all. That teaching method just doesn't work for me: I need to know how the language works, how it fits together, and how to use it. That's exactly what this book teaches you. I've learned more in a couple of months doing this course than I did with five years of 'osmosis' teaching methods at school.

It may be that this style of learning isn't for everyone: some people might just do better with a less structured or less grammatically based approach. But if you're one of those who needs more than a picture of a cloud accompanied by the phrase, "It is cloudy", you can't do better than this book. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Fortune on 11 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This is no shortcut and if you are looking for a book that will teach you enough to get you through your holiday, then you will be better off with something like the BBC Language books. However, if you want to build a solid foundation in the traditional way,then this course is ideal. It builds your vocabulary while guiding you through the various grammer exercises. The accompanying CD is very useful, as you can hear the text and correct your pronunciation and then copy it, and answer the questions as asked. All in all a very useful resource for anyone who is serious about learning a language.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matteo_B on 4 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't be put off by the fact that the title says "Grammar-based course". Yes there is grammar but it is presented in an easily understood and practical way along with plenty of vocabulary. The book has you translating and understanding from the very first leson and the CD is an excellent addition too. I would say this is the best introduction to Italian I have come across and fills in a lot of the holes that I found with Michel Thomas' otherwise excellent (but pricey) audio course. All in all thoroughly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on 31 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've used several books over the last few years whilst teaching myself Italian at home, but this book stands out as the best by a mile. It follows the traditional method, with each of the 30 chapters following the pattern of: grammar; vocabulary; reading passage; exercises. (There is also a CD with it.)

It is very thorough: you start off with the definite article and end up covering the imperfect subjunctive and its uses. As other reviewers have pointed out, there is no "easy" way to learn a language, and this book does the job properly.

One of this book's rivals, "Contatti", might have trendier reading passages and exercises, but, in the name of "immersing" you in the language, "Contatti" is written almost entirely in Italian, even to the point of explaining the grammar in Italian (except for an appendix). Now if you're like me, you want the Italian subjunctive explaining in English, not in the language you're trying to learn! "Contatti" is also largely designed for group use in classes, whereas "Living Italian" is much better if you're studying alone. "Living Italian" also includes the answers to the exercises, whereas with "Contatti 2", you have to go to an on-line supplement for the answers to the exercises and for the transcripts of the CDs.

One final point in favour of "Living Italian": it helps you with pronunciation by printing in italics the syllable which is stressed if it is not the normal one. A very nice touch which most other books miss out on.
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