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on 31 March 2013
This course is OK for beginners, especially if your main aim is to learn some straightforward Italian for travel purposes. But it has two main drawbacks. The first, and biggest, is that this 2012 edition lacks an Italian-English vocabulary: it has only English-Italian. And this despite the fact that the main text refers to an Italian-English vocabulary. Something has clearly gone badly wrong in the production of the book, and it means the book will need to be supplemented by a dictionary. It is a major irritation. The second is that the Italian in the audio is surrounded by too much English.
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on 6 May 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although this is a new edition, this is still a traditional book/audio language course. The 'Complete' title is (as always) a complete misnomer. This is generally an intermediate (though tourist-friendly) book. There is a lot of text and it's a weighty item, and not something you're going to carry around on holiday. There is quite a lot of emphasis on the specifics of language structure and grammar, which some people might find too heavy-going if you just want a course for a long holiday. The volume seems to have a lack of consistency in how things are presented and there are some references to things I can't locate in the package (which might be my fault, but it should be clearer). The audio is good and the accents clear and neutral. I have only really just started this and I expect it will take quite a while to work through even the basic units. You get a lot for your money. Talking of price, this is reasonable considering the content.

Overall, this is not a quick and easily guide to italian, it's a full educational course as you might study at nightschool. If you can commit to that amount of work, then this seems to be a decent product. If you are after a quick phrase guide, definitely look elsewhere.
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on 13 December 2010
I have used this series of Teach Yourself books in the past and have found them to be superb and this Italian one is no exception.

The CDs are extremely clear with explanations thoughout in English.

The chapters are gently graded and the help given is gradually withdrawn, making the student work a little bit harder. The vocabulary at the back of the book is comprehensive for the texts in each chapter and grammar points are introduced within each unit.

I find that the progress that you can make with this series of Teach Yourself books is extremely swift and they certainly thoroughly prepare the student for embarking upon GCSE classes and higher in the future.

My only slight criticism is that the verbs are not fully conjugated in the grammar section at the back of the book, as has been the case in other language books of the same series.

Nevertheless, the book and CDs come highly recommended as a course that is both interesting and a pleasure to learn from.
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on 29 March 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a fan of Teach Yourself stuff in general and this Complete Italian beginners course lives up to expectation. Ideal for initial travel learning it also goes into enough advanced territory to give you a deeper understanding and use of the language. You get a weighty 400 page book and two CDs which are clearly presented and very easy to use and work through. On the whole I found this an excellent introduction to the language and it gets you up and running quickly in a lively but focused way, and you get a feel for the culture that is soaked in the language too.

Language courses are a very subjective area of learning- what's good for some, doesn't work so well for others- but I find this package accessible and more than adequate for my needs and not just that, gives a good grounding to move into more advanced learning. Well worth a try.
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on 1 August 2013
I have no complaints about the method used, and I am enjoying learning the language with it. This edition, though, suffers from a number of careless oversights which make the book unsatisfactory in some respects.
The worst failing is in the Test Your Italian section which begins on p.338. Here you are invited to answer and mark questions on the first six units, to find out if you are ready to move on to Unit 7. It says, "The answers are given in the Key to `Test your Italian', at the end of the book." But there is no Key at the end of the book, and none listed on the Contents page. There is a "Key to the Exercises" but that gives the answers to the questions at the end of each unit, which are different. So, having got to the end of Unit 6, I have no way of knowing whether I am ready to proceed to Unit 7.
There are similar faults throughout, e.g. several occasions where you are told to look up the Italian words you don't know in the vocabulary at the back of the book. The vocabulary, however, is only English-Italian. There is no way of looking up Italian words. Or you are told to "Look at the illustrations in Unit 1, after Dialogue 5d", but the dialogues are not numbered, so there is no way of finding which illustrations are meant.
I wrote to the publishers about this three months ago but have had no reply.
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on 13 October 2011
Expecting a superficial treatment of holiday Italian learned parrot-fashion I was quickly and pleasantly disabused. The user-friendly format with sections nicely spaced and the use of different fonts facilitated understanding. The dialogues,rich in useful words and phrases, are accompanied by a vocabulary list that enables the listener to comprehend a large part. Occasionally you will need to refer to a dictionary or the index but this helps to embed the words. There follows a substantial grammar section which explains the syntax,constructions etc. in the dialogues - and I have found it useful to read this first so as to understand the dialogues fully. The concluding practice sections are always interesting and challenging but never demoralising. They don't 'pile it on' by including material from earlier chapters but focus almost exclusively on what has just been introduced. The course has been cleverly constructed, especially the dialogues. I found that while talking French to relatives I was often able to supply,internally ,the equivalent Italian words and conversational phrases for ordinary everyday situations - and I'm just beginning. I was pleased all tenses were covered, excepting the pluperfect and subjunctive. You are led carefully through the tricky areas of pronouns and the imperative. Naturally you have to revise and consolidate before tackling intermediate and advanced, although this course does take you up to Level 4 (A level). I thoroughly recommend this course as an enjoyable and encouraging way of learning Italian.
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on 23 October 2010
I have the 2004 edition of this course, which in content is identical to this edition. It provides a sound basis for beginners in Italian, although I completely agree with reviewers who say that there is far too much English on the CDs. You don't NEED a narrator to read out the introductions to the dialogues. However, my main issue is with the claim that this course will take you to Level 4 (B2) of the European framework. There is no way that after completing this course you will be at that level; the course doesn't even begin to cover the subjunctive mood which is so common in Italian. At best, you will probably reach Level A2. Just bear this in mind when you consider buying this and keep your goals realistic.
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on 6 March 2011
I bought the Complete Italian book/CD pack when I signed up for a local language course and am finding it excellent. By playing the CD in my car, I'm hearing the language constantly and I find I'm picking up the pronunciation and rhythm of the language more easily than I thought I would. Each unit in the book deals with small chunks at a time so I don't feel overwhelmed by new aspects of grammar and vocabulary. I'm not there yet but I think this set is definitely a good buy and I'm optimistic about my chances of coming to grips with Italian.
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on 31 March 2013
This course is OK for beginners, especially if your main aim is to learn some straightforward Italian for travel purposes. But it has two main drawbacks. The first, and biggest, is that this 2012 edition lacks an Italian-English vocabulary: it has only English-Italian. And this despite the fact that the main text refers to an Italian-English vocabulary. Something has clearly gone badly wrong in the production of the book, and it means the book will need to be supplemented by a dictionary. It is a major irritation. The second is that the Italian in the audio is surrounded by too much English.
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on 22 March 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you are looking for an easy way to learn Italian, really learn Italian, then do not buy this Italian book/CD set. Despite what other reviewers have stated it is not aimed at beginners, it does not clearly explain what is being said in English, and it will not help you to master a new language. The only thing that can be obtained from this set is to learn set phrases...you won't have a clue what you're saying but they have told you that it means a certain thing so I guess they must be right!?!

I've recently been listening to a complete Spanish CD set in my car and it is really really good. It starts with the basics, common words, letters, numbers, pronunciation, it then moves on to scenes which you hear in their entirety before each part is broken down so that you can understand everything that is being said and why it is said in a certain way. Unfortunately this Italian set is absolutely nothing like that. The CD starts by throwing you straight into Italian, you listen to conversations, and every now and then you are asked to listen to the pronunciation of words and repeat them...with no idea of what they mean. Logic helps when you hear numbers and need to repeat those, but you are not actually given time to do so as it is expected that you stop the CD whenever you want to repeat something, again not helpful as you don't know what words mean what! The CD concentrates far too much on trying, and failing, to take you through a timeline of one person meeting another, who then goes somewhere and meets another person before having lunch and heading off to a hotel…blah blah. I don't want to attempt to visualise what is happening to people, I want to understand it.

The accompanying book is also really bad, but marginally better because it does have some English words written down...those I understand. However, as with the CD it concentrates far too much on following the mystical journey of a very boring person, and translating the words into everyday English is almost impossible, certainly for a beginner like me.

The addition of the Italian learning app seemed interesting and yet after installing it, surprise surprise, I realised what a huge waste of time that was too. It is a useful app that you can refer to for your stock phrases when you’re on the go as it pretty much follows the book and CD combined...hurrah I hear you cry! Well that is only true if you had the sense not to buy the book and CD set, choosing instead to pick the app alone. If you didn't, then you get the privilege of paying an additional £0.69 per unit, of which there are 25.

This book/CD set relies solely on tourist phrases and does not actually help you to speak Italian in any real way, unless you really are interested in where the shoe factory is...then you'll be fine. To label this product 'Complete' Italian is farcical! Why not label it as what it really is 'Learn Italian like a tourist'.
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