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Living Italian: a grammar-based course (LL) [Paperback]

Maria Valgimigli , Rev. Derek Aust
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Living Italian: A Grammar-based Course: 6th edition Living Italian: A Grammar-based Course: 6th edition 4.5 out of 5 stars (27)
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Book Description

26 Jun. 2009 0340990724 978-0340990728 5
Do you want to learn Italian or brush up what you know already? Are you planning a holiday in Italy or preparing for an exam? Are you looking for a course with a traditional approach to language learning, based on solid grammatical foundations, translation skills and practical vocabulary? If so, this is the course for you. The material covers a variety of everyday topics in a simple, concise manner. There are plenty of examples and explanations to illustrate how the language works and to build confidence. Each unit, designed to build systematically on what you have already learned, contains: - clear grammar explanations - vocabulary lists - reading material consisting of a story, dialogue or letter - questions for speaking practice - exercises There are also revision units to help you practise what you are learning. At the back of the book, an exercise key enables you to check your answers while grammar and vocabulary sections provide a useful reference. The accompanying CD will help you with listening and speaking. In addition to a full pronunciation section, it contains reading passages or dialogues from the course book, followed by comprehension questions in Italian, together with model answers.

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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: 477,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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

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

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

Book Description

The original grammar-based course

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Top Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ea yet Corehesive Intro to Italian 29 Sept. 2009
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tis brilliant 10 Jan. 2010
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money 2 Sept. 2010
By Shane
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good comprehensive grammer course. 11 May 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Supurb introduction to Italian 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very Good
Published 20 months ago by t barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars A rasping learning tool
An essential book for learning Italian. Starting at basics and threading you through the complexities of grammar. An Essential companion
Published 21 months ago by TimboSlackonovski
5.0 out of 5 stars Living Italian
Easy to understand, and set out clearly. The verbs and nouns are presented in a way that makes revision easier. The reading passages are adult enough for all ages. Read more
Published on 16 Aug. 2013 by Mrs. Angela C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This is exactly what I was looking for. Not a few phrases to use on holiday but a grammar based book teaching you the fundamentals of the Italian language so you can then formulate... Read more
Published on 9 Jun. 2012 by photogirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, logical and thorough
If you went to school in the eighties or earlier you'll probably feel right at home with this, it seems like a traditional text book which has been condensed down to the essence of... Read more
Published on 25 Feb. 2012 by P. Bradley
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn Italian
Very good book for beginners to get under way on the road to learning Italian, goes at just the right speed to keep you on your toes without bogging you down.
Published on 5 Feb. 2012 by GS
4.0 out of 5 stars old fashioned, so it works
Although it has been updated the original was written some years ago.At its core is an understanding of Italian grammar, so right from the start you learn Italian properly with an... Read more
Published on 24 Nov. 2011 by hamloy
5.0 out of 5 stars living italian
I bought this book 4 years ago, and i recommended many for others. I love this little book and will not part with it. Read more
Published on 5 Jun. 2011 by jules
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful little book
This is proving to be a very useful book in improving my Italian. I'm using this between Italian lessons and really enjoying going through and completing the exercises. Read more
Published on 29 Mar. 2011 by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars Builds on the original
I bought this as an update to the orignal edition which I still own. The course is as good as ever and is a good complement to the more communicative courses around today. Read more
Published on 3 Feb. 2011 by Mr. Davide Mazzetti
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