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92 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trapper
I am someone who has spent 6 years in School learning French, 5 years learning German and 14 years learning Irish and I am rubbish at them all.
I heard about Michel Thomas from a friend learning Spanish and was very sceptical about her claims of how good he was. However I wanted to see if I was genetically capable of learning a language so I decided to go with Michel...
Published on 27 Mar 2006 by TCNadal

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232 of 233 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant method, but just an introduction
This eight hour course, just listen, no note-taking or memorising, teaches those tricky basics in a brilliantly effortless way, but buyers should be aware that even the 8-hour course is no more than a very useful introduction to the basics of the language and would be of very little use to the tourist or shopper in Italy. It's a great way for busy people or those who are...
Published on 1 Feb 2002 by Mandy Payne


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92 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trapper, 27 Mar 2006
I am someone who has spent 6 years in School learning French, 5 years learning German and 14 years learning Irish and I am rubbish at them all.
I heard about Michel Thomas from a friend learning Spanish and was very sceptical about her claims of how good he was. However I wanted to see if I was genetically capable of learning a language so I decided to go with Michel Thomas.
Some of the critisms listed by other reviewers are probably correct, lack of antive speaker, limited vocabularly, not suited to someone aiming to go on Holidays this summer. But from my stand point it was
1. Very easy to understand the points he is making.
2. The fact that it is not a native speaker makes it easier to grasp the pronuncation. Its like we're all starting from the same position.
3. The experience gives you a real sense of progression and achievement as you progress.
4. The real strength of this programme is that it gives you a sense of how to construct sentances and much more importantly it gives you the confidence to have a go.
Having recently travelled to Latino and Rome, I was really surprised at how much I could communicate and more importantly that I had the confidence to have a go. For me this programme has given me a great start and great confidence. Most of all it has given hugh enthusiam to progress even further.
Not perfect but I highly recommned to anyone.
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232 of 233 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant method, but just an introduction, 1 Feb 2002
By 
Mandy Payne (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This eight hour course, just listen, no note-taking or memorising, teaches those tricky basics in a brilliantly effortless way, but buyers should be aware that even the 8-hour course is no more than a very useful introduction to the basics of the language and would be of very little use to the tourist or shopper in Italy. It's a great way for busy people or those who are not good at languages to get past the tricky early stages of learning Italian - you just sit back and listen and it gets through, if not the first time just play that bit again and there you are. You will know how to put sentences together, how to use the most important of the different tenses of verbs, and more. BUT don't expect to be anywhere near conversational after 8 hours. There is very little essential vocabulary, you won't even learn how to count. This is not a criticism, just a caution that this course is not for those who want to get by on a holiday or business trip. As someone who used the course before moving to Italy I found it gave a jump-start to learning the language - I was way ahead of other beginners after just playing the CD's while doing the ironing. But it gives very little vocabulary, it won't teach you how to read and write Italian, and when you phrase your question in perfect Italian you can bet you won't understand the Italian reply. There's a lot more work to for you to do after completing the course.
Highly recommended for beginners but in the right context and with the right expectations.
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181 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seal of approval from a language teacher, 30 May 2001
By A Customer
I ama language teacher, teaching English in Italy. I found Thomas' course to be by far the finest self-study teaching aid I've yet found. It's important to explode a few myths: there's nothing 'magical' about Mr Thomas' method. He follows many universally-recognised language teaching axioms, chief among them that the student must PRODUCE the language (they're not really learning it if they don't produce it). The 'spin' Mr Thomas puts on his lessons is truly his own, however; I've never come across anything quite like it before. Also, Mr Thomas claims that you will not forget what you learn on his course - well, actually, you might; you can forget anything if you try hard enough! But the rate of recall after using this course is significantly - perhaps exponentially - higher than for traditional book-and-tape courses. Mr Thomas takes some amazing short cuts with the Italian language in his course; but all of them are justified, as the intelligent student will see. Anything he leaves out is easily slotted in later, into the structures he has already taught you. My advice is to listen to this course first, and then buy an 'ordinary' book and tape course, or go to conventional Italian lessons. Mr Thomas' course is not enough on its own, but it lays a foundation of a strength that, speaking as a language teacher, I find unbelieveable. I sincerely hope he brings out an Advanced Italian volume.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tried and Tested, 25 Nov 2002
I have never attempted to learn a language in my life and was tempted to attempt Italian due to a good holiday in Garda.
I was surprised how well put together this teaching is and it made me wonder if schools could not benefit from some of these lessons.
Very easy to follow , logical steps build up your confidence and skills.
So armed with one complete listen through of the 8 hours (admittedly I had a few run throughs of the first three hours or so) I headed of to Italy with my family who were unaware that I had being study the language.
I found that my Italian worked , in both Verona and Rome . The Italians loved to here someone attempting the language. in fact I had a great conversation in a shop with the daughter of the owner who was 10 and who could speak English as well as I could speak Italian. The Italians were helpful when I made a mistake politely correcting me sometimes .
Overall a great introduction to a wonderful language
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it has faults. Yes, it also works, 8 Dec 2005
By 
Smst1 (SW England) - See all my reviews
If you've read all the reviews of this course, you'll be aware of the good/bad points.
On the plus side, you do get an excellent grounding in Italian verb structure which Mr Thomas believes to be of key importance. There are something like 14 tenses in Italian grammar and although nothing like that number are covered by the course, the mostimportant/widely-used are.
On the minus side, even if you've absorbed all eight CDs fully, you still won't be able to hold much of a conversation. It's a genuine oversight I think in that the assorted verb drills could easily have been linked to a number of useful nouns/phrases/conversational situations.
I don't think the comments about Mr Thomas's accent or the presence of two 'students' are particularly relevant one way or another. Mr Thomas's accent is fairly idiocyncratic and you'll either find it a problem/not a problem. Ditto the 'students'. It's all completely subjective, as indeed are the voices on ANY language learning course.

Based on the above, I'd normally have given this product a solid 3 stars - but there's a VERY big plus point: this course actually does seem to work.
Over a three month period prior to an Italian holiday last year, I worked through 7 of the 8 CDs based on one hour's study one night a week when I was away from home on business. I found my concentration wavering after an hour and needed somewhere without distractions toget the full benefit. I didn't start from the basis of being an absolute complete novice - I studied Italian for O-level 30-odd years ago. A few fragments remained. But not much. Once in Italy after the Thomas course - and with a very good pocket dictionary - I got on reasonably well. Certainly far better than if I hadn't done the course.

Last week, in preparartion for this year's Italian holiday, I began working my way through the course again from Disc 1 and was stunned at how much I remembered after a 6-month gap. Words and phrases were effortlessly recalled and I'm now looking to move on to a self-learn system that deals with the conversational/colloquial side of Italian.

This is the only Italian language course I've taken so have no idea of its effectiveness when compared to others. I can only report my own experience in that although what is taught on this course is by no means perfect, (though it's still an essential stepping stone towards learning Italian), it does actually seem to stick in your memory and on that basis alone, I'd unhesitatingly recommend it

2 Feb 07
Having worked through this course. And the 4-disc Advanced course. And the 2-disc Language Builder (thanks to ebay). And become moderately proficient in Italian, I went right back and started at disc 1 on the main course. I zipped through this - and subsequent discs - pretty rapidly, but there were a significant number of odd bits/pieces that hadn't really registered first time around, but did this time. So don't think that once you've done the course - that's it. It repays return visits.

A couple of observations - don't waste your money on the 2-disc 'introductory course'. These 2 discs are the first two parts of the basic 8-disc course.
I found it more helpful to do the 4-disc course and then the 2-disc Language Builder after the basic 8-disc course - rather than the other way round.
You MUST have a decent dictionary, because you WILL want to look things up.
Yes - the students on the basic course become intensely irritating. They're replaced by two new students on the 4-disc course. They're actually quite proficient. Better than you at any rate. And that makes them even MORE irritating.

Most importantly, don't think that after taking and retaking all the courses that you'll speak perfect Italian. You won't. You WILL speak perfectly understandable - but not necessarily grammatically correct - Italian, with a vocabulary that's really down to you to acquire. Unlike the French, who tend to feign incomprehension at the slightest excuse, Italians seem endlessly accommodating and encouraging to your efforts.
Oh - and you won't be able to READ that much Italian either.

But don't let that put you off. Nothing beats 'total immersion' for learning a language - but this is actually pretty damn good.

Saluti !
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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars title, 29 Sep 2002
By A Customer
Don't make the same mistake everyone else does! Read the instructions first! It will not help as much if you just listen to the lessons in the car or at home as it would if you were to follow the rules. You have to be able to pause the CD all the time, don't try to remember... just pause and think of an answer if you don't know the answer don't worry press play ... Try to imagine its some sort of pub quiz or something, the further you go the more surprised you will be to find out that you know the answer. You will have to go and learn vocabulary and grammar and probably you'll use some other materials at the later stages but Michel Thomas will give you an express ticket into the language, so that you are one foot there without even knowing it. I am Lithuanian myself and Italian was my fifth but not the last language so I think I know a thing or two about learning languages, and Michel Thomas knows a thing or two about teaching ...but its not a magic formula all depends on you, no watching football or having sex while listening, do not buy introductory package as I did at first, go for the 8CD one, then sit-down, relax, get a drink in one hand, a finger on a pause button with the other, close your eyes and off you go!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michel Thomas Italian 8 Hour Course - Excellent!, 3 Mar 2006
By A Customer
I first got the course a few months before going on holiday to Italy and must admit I didn't find it as useful as I had hoped as it did not give much vocabulary.
However, I then decided to learn Italian at night school and am now into my second year - I have realised I am way ahead of the other students because of the insights into grammar and structure that Michel Thomas provides and the confidence that this has given me.
The course is particularly useful to anyone who has very little time to sit down with a book or a computer but who does spend a large amount of time driving!
I am not going to give up night classes as it is a refreshing change to talk Italian with a person rather than a CD player. But I will be getting the Advanced Language Course and try and progress further.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to speaking Italian, 13 Jun 2000
I was recommended this course by a friend and have since turned evangelical about the method to all and sundry. The format of the course is very simple; Michel Thomas conducts a lesson with two other students and you listen and then answer the questions he asks. This methodology has been done a thousand times before. But what makes Michel Thomas' unique - in my experience - is that he teaches useful phrases that you can use to build up into sentences. As you learn more and more of these phrases then so you begin to be able to construct sentences that make sense. Within a couple of hours I was able to ask and answer simple questions in Italian. It's fantastic and the interactive element really seems to work. Highly recommended.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tried and tested in Rome, to great success!, 3 Aug 2002
By 
Vole (London, UK) - See all my reviews
I discovered Michel Thomas's Italian Course only a week before going on holiday to Rome, so I only had time to do the first three hours, but amazingly I was able to put this very new knowledge to the test quickly, and to great effect! One small example - I was able to explain in Italian to a non-English speaking waiter that my meal was unacceptable to me as it was cold! He complimented me on my ability to speak Italian! Also, I had the confidence to get by in shops, theatres and on the phone - confidence is the keyword here! The biggest difference between Michel's course and others on the market is that you will be able to work out what is being said back to you - unlike with other courses, where you are ok as long as the response you are given back is the same one as written in your course book! I wouldn't hesitate to buy this course if I were you! But one tip - do not buy the introductory 2 hour course first, as these 2 hours are included in the full course.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Easy !, 10 July 2003
By A Customer
I've learned a number of languages over the years by the traditional classroom or book method and this has definitely been the most enjoyable. Just by listening to the CDs an hour each day in the car to work I felt confident enough to start using the language within a matter of weeks and put sentences together to talk to Italian colleagues. Despite the cheesy photo, Michel Thomas is an excellent teacher and I just can't fault this programme. My one complaint is that he only does the 3 languages. Highly recommended !
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Michel Thomas Foundation Course: Italian (Michel Thomas Series)
Michel Thomas Foundation Course: Italian (Michel Thomas Series) by Michel Thomas (Audio CD - 29 Sep 2006)
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