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on 20 April 2004
This course covers much more ground than the Michel Thomas course. After completing the MT 8-Hour and Language Builder, I found I was learning new material even in the introductory level of the "in your car" course. The package also includes intermediate and advanced levels, so if you complete the whole lot you will have learned probably ten times as much vocabulary as in the whole of MT.
How do they do it? Simply by cutting all the waffle. The CDs contain nothing but listening and speaking exercises. They soon get quite hard,and you will have to work through each one several times (unlike the MT course, which you would only want to use once). Complete transcripts and explanations of the grammar are in the accompanying booklets.
Unlike Michel Thomas's approach, you are not expected to use the pause button. The CDs have pauses for your responses, and these are deliberately quite short. You have to learn to respond quickly without stopping to think. Personally I approve of this, although I can understand those who say that this is mere "rote learning".
By the way, ignore the manufacturer's description of "leather CD wallet". It's plastic, obviously. Oh, and you may want to transcribe the CDs onto MP3 tracks for listening on the move, in which case you can convert to mono and avoid the irritation of "English in the left ear, Italian in the right".
Even at the new higher price, this is still good value, and will take your skills further than Michel Thomas at less cost. (MT is still a good introduction, though, and it's not a bad idea to use both courses: MT first, then this.)
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on 9 April 2011
I wrote a pretty scathing review of Learn In Your Car Italian when I first bought it a few month ago.
Now I have changed my opinion. I still agree with another reviewer that it is not really a "course". In particular, it explains NOTHING about grammar. Maybe you can infer the rules - but probably not. So I would definitely recommend starting with Michel Thomas and also Linguaphone to get started.

But where these 9 CDs come into their own is where they are intended to be used - in the car. The CDs are deliberetly structured to be played in the car without constantly reaching for the pause button. And actually it works pretty well. There is also a biggish amount of vocabulary that you will pick up bit by bit.

When I am alone in the car, I now listen to these (and join in of course - you don't learn just by listening, different part of the brain). It's a bit dull, but it does sink in.

If you are serious about learning a new language AND you drive a lot, this really is quite a useful tool to add to you collection. Just don't be naive enough to think this is all you need.
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on 6 September 2005
I would endorse all the comments made by Graham Phillips, who has made a good factual description of the product.
I spent a good deal of time going through all nine CD's and I have now just returned from Italy, having had the first chance to try my skills out. My impressions were as follows:
1. I can think of no other way of learning so much of the language without taking time out to do lessons or study books at home. Those 30-40 minutes a day in the car, every day, would be difficult to find otherwise.
2. You are learning to speak by listening and speaking out-loud, not by reading. This gives extra confidence in speaking. The repetition of listening to a native speaker over and over again gives you a good feel for the sounds of the language.
3. The continual repetition of set sentences forces you to think quickly and clearly, which is good in conversation.
4. Because it is based on repetition, it does not so much equip you for spontaneous expression and conversation. But neither does any other kind of book or CD-Rom.
5. Encourages clear, accurate pronunciation, and accurate grammar.
6. In no way helps writing or spelling. I have still never written a word in Italian. Even though the product comes with booklets, it's far from being a full grammar guide and I must say I barely used the booklets. I did however refer to another book when I was unsure of grammar points - I used Italian in Three Months for this purpose. It covers about the same amount of grammar and vocab.
When I went to Italy and spoke for the first time, everyone could understand clearly straightaway, and was happy to speak back in Italian. I could handle most general situations without difficulty. These CD's allowed to me to get to this level without any study time set aside. All I had to do was to use the CD's to and from work, rather than listening to radio or music.
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on 11 December 2005
When I started learning Italian I bought many books and software
programs before I got this, so I consider myself qualified to
give a comparative review. Books are good but you need several to
cover everything.. PC learning software is useful in it's
multi-media approach, but most of them have no concise guidance.
With this audio set, you just turn it on, listen and repeat.
The nine discs progress through, gradually introducing new
words, verbs, pronouns, nouns, etc incorporating the grammar
rules as you go. It is certainly the most satisfying and fun
way to learn that I have tried. I found it interesting to use
the things was already familiar with, but you could use it
without knowing anything and pick up a good working knowledge
of Italian.
In the set there are included 3 extra discs by the author about how
to approach learning any new language: very useful, although
the audio quality is somewhat " home-made ".
Like the name say's, it's for learning in your car. As explained
in another review, there's English in one ear and Italian in the other.
I found that O.K. I did find that the gaps left for
speaking are pretty short: you really need to think quick.This
may be deliberate, but sometimes I like to pause the player and
think about the answer. I transferred all my discs onto one
to avoid having to change them over.
One serious point: learning in your car can be distracting and
there are some safety implications to this: I’ll say no more.
In summary then, a very good buy for use on its own
or as a supplement to other material.
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on 7 November 2007
With a holiday to Italy coming up, preceded by several long car journeys, I bought three language CDs to listen to in the car: Earworms, Learn in Your Car Complete Language Course and BBC Quickstart and I'd rate them them in that order, Earworms being easily the best and getting 5 stars. I found all of them easy to use in the car, although in the end I felt they were better suited to short journeys rather than doing a lot in one go.

Unlike the other two, which are aimed at the holiday goer, Learn in Your Car is a complete language course, just as it says on the cover, and is good value for money. However, I can't review it thoroughly, because I never got past the first disc. It's basically a little dull, just lists of vocab. The lessons follow themes eg travelling but they don't appear to be interlinked so the first list to learn is: I, you, he, she, we etc but then it never turns up again - well, not on Disc 1 anyway. Having said that, the speakers had pleasant voices (although the English is American English) and I liked the way they switched between a man and a woman speaking. It's certainly easy to use in the car, if a bit relentless. One person says the word in English, there's a gap in case you can remember the translation, then the Italian speaker says it in Italian, another gap for you, then again in Italian, then a third gap. They say you should be able to remember all of the words before moving on to the next lesson, but as they weren't interlinked, in fact you could listen to the whole CD without needing to remember anything. if you stuck it out, I'm sure it would give a more complete grounding in Italian than Earworms, but for a holiday, Earworms is the one to go for.
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on 23 April 2005
Here are a few extra comments to help avoid misunderstanding.
Grammar. The course does cover Italian grammar. Each lesson (there are over a hundred in all) illustrates one or a few grammatical points. These are (quite sensibly) explained in the accompanying booklets rather than on the CDs. The course does not go into great detail, and you may want to get another grammar book as well.
Vocabulary. Certainly this course emphasises vocabulary. Some other courses cover far fewer words, with the consequence that you can find yourself in Italy confident of your imperfect subjunctives but unable to ask where the bathroom is. Learning vocab is a necessary part of learning a language, and this course makes the process less painful than most.
Context. As the booklet explains, no sentence introduces more than one new word. There are some lessons that just have a list of words, but these are soon built up into meaningful sentences. The first lesson starts with the word "I"; lesson 2 starts with "I want"; lesson 6 has "I would like to make a reservation" and by lesson 30 you have sentences like "he wants a ticket for the train that leaves for Naples at ten o'clock in the morning".
Themes. Each lesson has a title and a theme. Sometimes these are real-life themes, like hotels, shopping or transport, and sometimes they are grammatical themes like prepositional pronouns or the verb "Essere", imperfect tense. Some lessons have "ragbag" themes like "Some important concepts" or "Common expressions".
Repetition. Each word or phrase or sentence is spoken first in English then (after a pause) in Italian and then (after another pause) in Italian again. You have three opportunities to say the Italian. The instructions suggest that you work through the first lesson repeatedly until you know it pretty well, then add the second lesson similarly, then the third, etc, frequently going back to revise earlier lessons. Obviously you can't learn the language simply by playing through the CDs once (if only!).
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on 18 September 2002
A course that teaches you just through listening and repeating that you can easily do in the car. You do however have to revise the lessons if you want to continue to the next level but this is easy as each lesson has its own small book (that you can easily put in a small handbag or pocket!!) which is simple to follow. The course does go very fast though and if you havent learnt another language before it may be difficult to follow after the second cassette. Overall good for people who are used to learning languages
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on 29 July 2009
This is the first audio book I ever purchased and I'm quite pleased with it. I've been studying Italian on "on and off" basis for couple years now and I wanted something to listen to while driving and refresh my memory. I wouldn't say it's for a complete beginner as many things aren't explained (the little books provided may help here but not too much) but I would definately say it's brilliant for revision especially if you ever attended any course because it's structured similarly.
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on 14 February 2006
I bought these CDs second hand thinking they would help to supplement other learning materials as I am studying for the Italian GCSE, but in comparison to other audio courses I found this very dull and not a good way of learning at all. It is just words and phrases which you are given a very short time to repeat and that's the last you hear of them!! As mentioned before, you are given no chance to repeat again so nothing goes in (I found!). It's not fun at all and could send me to sleep which is never a good thing when you are driving!! I am working my way through 'Pimsleur speak and read essential Italian I, II and II' and they are simply awesome. You wouldn't use them in the car because you do need to concentrate and use the pause button but I have learnt so much from them in just a few weeks. I can also recommend the Michel Thomas language course and Linguaphone All-Talk (this latter is perfect for the car). I'm sorry to be negative but language learning needs to be stimulating and fun and this really wasn't.
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on 14 March 2005
I might have misunderstood what a language is but, I thought that a language is not just a set of words. This product is not a language course at all. It is just a list of italian words with english equivalents. Whithout even repetitions. No grammar whatsoever, no situations to associate with, no explanations, no words semantics (the only thing that you actually need from language learning). Just a list of words recorder on a tape. Why don't I just record them myself with microphone and a dictionary like "my first 1000 words in Italian" and listen to it in a car for free. Why bother buying?
The description of the course is very misleading. They forgot to mention that it doesn't teach and that it is not a course. It cannot even be used as a complimentary tool. Because if you want a word drill you need repetitions. My personal opition is that drills and repetitions are bad thing for language learning. But this product is even worse. The only good point I can see is that all words are grouped in topics - is it a good reason to buy? Judge for yourself.
You can learn much faster and better if the words are actually practised and exercises are given. Try rather, for example, Linguaphone audio courses - they teach words/phrases/grammar in situations and they do actually force you to use language, althought the total number of words is less, But hey, why don't you just read a dictionary?
There are many other language courses available - don't waste your money and motivation!
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