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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great language learning experience from the LiveMocha series
As a complete beginner, I have found the Livemocha Active Italian language course to be a quick and easy way to learn the language from scratch.

The pack follows the same format as the other sets from the LiveMocha series, coming with 4 little books that follow the online based learning (accessed via an activation code included), that are divided into 6 units...
Published on 30 Mar. 2011 by Toast

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Left Me Somewhat Cold.
It's certainly slick. It's certainly good value. It's popular and apparently highly successful but I don't rate it highly. The big draw here is not the books. The books are pocket sized, easy to read but as random as you could get. Four pocket sized guides that, although supposedly sorted by level, jump from 'how to tell someone you like their dress' to 'I sleep naked. I...
Published on 23 Jun. 2011 by Mr. B. R. Good


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great language learning experience from the LiveMocha series, 30 Mar. 2011
By 
Toast (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a complete beginner, I have found the Livemocha Active Italian language course to be a quick and easy way to learn the language from scratch.

The pack follows the same format as the other sets from the LiveMocha series, coming with 4 little books that follow the online based learning (accessed via an activation code included), that are divided into 6 units containing two lessons and finishing with a test, mirroring what you encounter online.

Every lesson is composed of video dialog, grammar, vocabulary, writing and role play. Short sections make it is easy to progress to the next level and help to keep the interest high. What makes this language programme unique is the interactive element of learning i.e. the learner can submit some pieces of the coursework to the Livemocha community and native speakers will review your work and provide feedback.

The pack includes 6 months subscription to the online based content, which is rather short but for the price is actually very good when compared with similar products. Although the books have the same content as the web-based course, it is no substitution for the online experience, the online element making this something a bit more exciting. Although dragging and dropping words and phrases can become a bit tedious, overall the online experience is really engaging, making you quickly feel part of an online learning community as your work is reviewed by others and you begin to engage and help others learn your mother tongue too.

Overall a great way to learn Italian, I'm looking forward to testing out my Italian soon!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introductory Italian with Bonus Online Features, 29 Mar. 2011
By 
Jack Percival (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If your looking for introductory italian or even just for a few phrases before going on holiday then this is the set for you, combining online learning with four supplementary supplied books this pack gives a good overview of the language and helps you to get to grips with the basics before moving onto more advanced topics. While it wasn't as impressive, dynamic, intuitive or as easy to learn as Rosetta Stone Italian at a fraction of the cost it'll do you just fine if your dedicated to learning, wanting to pick up the basics or convert from another language.

The online features of this set are the real selling point as they give you access to the livemocha Active Italian course which complements the guides well. By being able to hear how the words are said through the use of online videos and being able to gain feedback on your pronunciation, construction, grammar and spelling by submitting it to other members of the livemocha community you certainly improve faster. While a number of features are available on the site for free (such as some peer reviewing) for the full learning experience and a structured course, this is currently the cheapest way to enrol even before providing the guides for when your our and about.

Overall, while this isn't groundbreaking and won't teach you as quickly or intuitively as the Rosetta Stone Series if you put in the time, use the online materials throughout the included 6-month subscription there's no doubt you'd be able to hold a conversation in time for your summer holidays.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great way of learning a new language for those who are prepared to work at it., 24 May 2011
By 
E. Heckingbottom "elaineheck143" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This really is a brillinat way of learning a new language. The online website allows you to link with natural speakers of the language, giving you an unbeatable level of support as you learn at a low percentage of the price of the courses produced by The Rosetta Staone; however, you have to be prepared to work at it. This is no laid back learning; it is aimed at those who want to put a little effort into learning the language.

If you have regular internet access and are prepared to put in the work, I highly recommend this scheme!

if you want a more laid back approach to learning, where all the work is oral, try the Italian With Michel Thomas Complete Course CD or Earworms Rapid Italian Vol. 1: 200+ Essential Words and Phrases Anchored into Your Long Term Memory with Great Music (Musical Brain Trainer)

Good luck with your learning of a new language!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Left Me Somewhat Cold., 23 Jun. 2011
By 
Mr. B. R. Good (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's certainly slick. It's certainly good value. It's popular and apparently highly successful but I don't rate it highly. The big draw here is not the books. The books are pocket sized, easy to read but as random as you could get. Four pocket sized guides that, although supposedly sorted by level, jump from 'how to tell someone you like their dress' to 'I sleep naked. I don't wear pyjamaz' (book 2, p.107). Each book is packed full of rather crass and unnecessary pictures of women looking pretty and men in tight t-shirts, an attempt to illustrate a topic but actually a waste of space. There appears to be no sensible layout and nothing flows. For example, on page 93 of book 4, 1/3 of a page is taken up with the picture of a young black athlete and his muscular legs, reaching the finish line - just to accompany the fact that a few phrases are about how 'to finish' something. In fact the more you read, the more messy and contrived the entire lesson appears to be. Book 1, part 3 begins with another picture of a womans legs, and the topic 'where are the stores'. We then find a video dialogue that consists of someone saying 'thanks for the tea, where is the bakery'.
The online access is equally contrived. Collins have introduced the ability to communicate with people who speak that language. This might sound like a good idea but in practice, it's just plain weird. The layout of the online tutorials is good and the videos are useful and well made. It's simply crammed with too much on one page and can be daunting. Culture notes and endless other buttons adorn the website. There is no discrimination between those wishing to be able to speak the language and 'get by' and those wasnting to know the written form, complete with complicated grammatical knowledge.
For those students, really keen to make the most of the pacakge, you can record your own voice in response to recorded prompts, then listen back.
Finally, a disapointing aspect is the speed at which the Italian is spoken. For a tutorial, they have failed to slow down enough so that beginners can really hear every word clearly.

In summary, for all that the internet and technology has revolutionalized learning, I still do not beleive there is anything to beat a text book and CD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good and engaging course and good value, 23 Jun. 2011
By 
D. Salmon "domski1969" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a casual speaker and regular visitor to Italy, I'm always on the lookout for something to help the language sink in, and this one's online features seemed to set it apart from the rest.
By entering a supplied code, you can access a good deal of free online content, allowing you to see videos of people actually walking through the lessons, and also to live chat and have your work appraised by native speakers.
This is in support to the bright and well illustrated printed materials.
I enjoyed using this guide. The books are clear and have a wealth of vocabulary matched to illustrations.
Using the online material is good, there's no substitute for BEING there and using your knowledge of course, but this is probably the next best thing. The online community angle is less easy to use as sometimes my work has taken a while to be reviewed, but it's still a nice and helpful touch.
On the minus side, I did find it a bit of a glorified phrase book at times. Some more hardcore grammar pointers would be helpful, so you actually understand more about how you are constructing phrases, rather than just repeating them. The cultural notes are good, but more linguistic information would help a deeper understanding. I understand they want the course to be engaging and immediate, but maybe a little more balance between learning by rote and a more structured progression would make this course unbeatable.
One REAL plus point is value, for your purchase, you get four books PLUS 6 months of online subscription. At its price it's a no-brainer to get, you can always supplement your learning with more academic style books to get to grips with grammar etc.
Overall, this is a great way to keep momentum in your learning, always the hardest thing to do, in a rewarding, easy and enagaging way, making this hard to beat for a casual speaker and pretty much essential for a beginner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent tuition tool for the beginner, 18 May 2011
By 
Mr BD - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A well constructed sequence to start the beginner on a course of language-learning.

This web-based course is activated with the code within the package you purchase. Interestingly you can choose the language upon application - it doesn't care what language you purchased, but the books within the package will be of little use for anything other than Italian!
The books reflect the on-line course work and are supposed to be used when you don't have internet access.
The web-site is well constructed and keeps a track of your progress. There are videos to watch, with related questions to answer. There are also explanations of the pronunciation and grammer of the language and the opportunity to record your own speaking and submit it for review.
The reviewers can be selected from a list, or just submitted to the LiveMocha community in general and a recording may well be posted back to you with the opinion of the person checking it and an example of how to speak the passage. In addition you can purchase credits for 'expert reviews'. In my case I have used this for subsequent attempts because the reviewers tend to leave comments in english too. My Italian isn't up to understanding the reviews left entirely in Italian! The credits can also be used to purchase additional course material in a variety of formats, including games.
Once you think your ready to try, you can also have interactive chats with native speakers.

An excellent package and at this price recommended to anyone who wants to give a go with a small initial outlay.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough & comprehensive, 3 May 2011
By 
White Eagle - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly you need an internet connection to use this course.
The pack contains 4 booklets which help you with the learning & guides you along with the online course which is very handy as it's essential to read & see the words.
You first activate your account via the code which is in the pack & register/create an account.

Then you start each activity in sections & are guided through but I found it a bit too fast to start the activity with a video dialogue in which they speak in native language very fast & then get tested on it staright away! But if you read the booklet which is the same then you might have a better chance to understand what they're saying. I have used this for a beginner Italian but they're straight away throwing me into a dialogue between natives & then testing me on different words I've never heard of!
There are 6 Units & each have activities to do.
Each Unit has different learning situations such as saying hello, coffee shop,bus or subway etc.
So each Activity has:
-Video Dailogue
-Grammer (inc. where & when to use the words & in what situations, like a native)
-Vocabulary
-Reading
-Role play
& you're quizzed in each section & scored.
You are also given a chance to interact with others doing the same course
It's too fast for me in that it asks you about things you haven't been taught & expects you to know a bit of Italian to start with I think.
Also, is a bit too compliacted for myself as I like things well organised & simple but I find this is not as well organised as I'd like but if you stick to it & do your research then it's a good course & definitely good value for money.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the price, 4 April 2011
By 
Ms. M. Cheung (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This course is easy to use and nicely presented. You enter the code given in the box and then you can access the online lessons, which feature videos of native speakers having conversations and audio recordings of vocabulary and grammar lessons. All the lessons are included in the four textbooks that come with the set, but of course if you just use the books without going online you will not have the benefit of hearing native speakers reading the dialogue.

You then carry out some drag and drop exercises (e.g. choose the correct word ending), answer comprehension questions on a short video or piece of writing, perhaps do a short written exercise of your own, and then record one character's part of the dialogue in a video using your computer's microphone. The written exercises and your recorded dialogue are submitted online to the LiveMocha community for review by speakers of the language you are learning (Italian in this case). The other members give you feedback about how well (or not!) you did, and how to improve. In my case a lot of the feedback was given in Italian, but luckily there's a "translate" button in the feedback window so you can read it all in English. (Perhaps when my Italian improves I won't need this facility!)

The LiveMocha community is a big part of this course. You rely on them to give you feedback on how well you are doing, and you can do the same for others using the languages you are fluent in. Also, you can meet and befriend other members, and there is even a chat facility so that you can arrange to have conversations with those members who are fluent in the language you are learning, so making it easier to improve your language skills.

OK, now onto drawbacks that I've found. The quality of feedback varies widely, due to the fact that the people giving the feedback are LiveMocha members just like you - the vast majority are not professional teachers. Sometimes the feedback is not useful at all, at other times it is barely comprehensible.

Also, I found it quite annoying that things aren't explained properly, I had to complete the 1st lesson and go on to the 2nd before finding out what I/you/he/she/it were. There's no translation for all the different words, it would have been so much better if you could click on one word to have the meaning displayed.

What was also irritating was the audio - it reads out the lesson to you, but there is no way of clicking just on the Italian words to hear the pronunciation again, and there is no fast forward or skip, so if you want to hear a certain word again you have to sit through the whole page again.

The LiveMocha course is definitely not the same as attending a class with a real teacher, you can muddle along without improving at all and there's really no one to help you, but on the other hand this system has definite advantages over just using a CD language course. The cost of membership if you pay online is $149 a year, reduced to $99 if you click on one of those ads in the background, so it's actually cheaper to buy this set from Amazon. For the money, this seems to be a good deal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 28 Mar. 2011
By 
T. Bently "tbently" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've only spent an hour with this interactive course but already I can see it is much more effective than other similar products I've used.

What I particularly like is the high quality of the little video segments. Both the sounds and pictures clearly emphasise how to pronounce the words and phrases without overdoing things.

Obviously, only time will tell if my language skills really do improve significantly and, as ever, with these things willpower is needed, but the initial signs are very encouraging.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A really good idea, 29 April 2011
By 
Pete in Wiltshire (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collins Livemocha Active Italian (Collins Active/Livemocha) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product struck me as a really good idea. Forget the books, this is all about joining a web site, doing online tutorials and tests, and submitting your work for review. There are two types of reviews - by their professionals (which costs extra) or by peer review, where you're dependent on the goodwill of another site user to comment on your efforts. Of course, you are able to reciprocate when people throughout the world submit things in English. This "peer review" aspect is really what makes the site tick.

Another plus is that the site will hook into the microphone on your pc, so its not just visual, its aural too.

For all this, however, I must admit to not having used this all that much. A lost opportunity for me, perhaps, but I think if you're prepared to stick at it it's a good way of picking up a foreign language.
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