13 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
II - a continuation of the BEST !!, April 28, 2001
Pimsleur II will begin to take you beyond the very basics of Italian conversation. By no means will you be fluent; but if forced, you will be able to converse in a manner that natives will begin to understand. While level I introduces you with a solid foundation, Level II begins to add some weight to your Italian language skills.
When I completed Level II, I felt much more confident in my approach to Italian conversation. To provide the reader with an English equivalent - Level I brings you to this level of fluency: "Excuse me, my name is Tom. Where is the road to Rome? On the left, and straight ahead? Thanks so much!" Of course there is a bit more fluency than that, but that is about the level of conversation you can expect to be comfortable with. In level II, however, you will be brought to the following level of conversational skill: "Hi Mary! How are you? Do you know what time the department stores close today? I want to buy something for my daughter. I'm leaving Rome in a week. I really like it here in Rome. I went to the Vatican today, and now I need to go buy something for my oldest daughter." Again, that is a sample- you will have more fluency than that.
If you're considering Pimsleur II, you probably already know that this method is one that doesn't rely on books, other than some very minor reading, which is less than 5% of the course. The Pimsleur method gets you familiar with the language, and has a unique way of getting you to think in the language. You will find yourself automatically responding to the oral cues, which is truly encouraging! This means you're learning- and not memorizing! I found that spacing my lessons apart helped my comprehension greatly. Instead of repeating a lesson immediately that I did not feel totally comfortable with, I put the Cd away and repated the lesson again the next day. I found in doing this, things came much more naturally and easily (rather than straining to master 1 lesson each day). Some of the lessons are very easy (1 session), while others will require 2, 3, or rarely 4 sessions. The majority took me 2 attempts before I felt satisfied with my progress. I spent about 75-80 days on this level. (Including an occasion day off about every 5-6 days)
You certainly pay more for Pimsleur- but I assure you, if you want to be more than a tourist in vocabulary and command of Italian language, this is an enjoyable and rewarding investment. Consider listening to Italian radio on the internet, watching Italian movies subtitled into English, and trying out Italian chat rooms. It is also extremely valuable to learn the basics (the bare basics) of Italian vocabulary before you jump into this Italian language quest. I have found this to be a tremendous advantage in combination with the Pimsleur method.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
to learn Italian by talking to yourself, October 29, 2000
This is the second Pimsleur tape series I have purchased. I bought the first through Sybervision (the company that advertises in airline inflight magazines). The Sybervision introduction to Italian doesn't appear to exist anymore, although I've tried to find it. This is a pity, because it takes the best of the Pimsleur method and weaves it around a goofy but engaging storyline of a British husband and wife taking an Italian vacation.
Unfortunately, Italian II skips the story and gets right to the learning. The result is that this version is as dry as a summer brushfire in Campania, but it still delivers the best system for learning to speak a foreign language that I have yet encountered (you will learn nothing about how to write or read it, by the way.)
What makes the Pimsleur method special? For my taste, the Pimsleur method of self-learning is far and away the best because of its graduated approach and outstanding use of English and Italian to prompt your answers and confirm your comprehension. Fundamentally, the Pimsleur method introduces vocabulary and then tries to spring a quick quiz on you when you least expect it. Either you know the answer or you don't. When you can't immediately recall the right answer, you know it's time to go back and review.
The Sybervision-Pimsleur Level I program I started learning Italian with had the virtue of being mildly entertaining while it taught. This level II course is all business. It is grunt work slogging through it, but it packs the same rewards as the Sybervision version. If you apply yourself, you will learn a lot of Italian and pronounce it well.
The proof of any language course is in the pudding, and I spent two weeks in Italy this summer after having drilled myself on Italian II. All my practice came during several months on my morning commute on the train to Manhattan. From the moment we arrived in Italy, my ability far exceeded my self-confidence. I was able to speak almost effortlessly to cab drivers, waiters, hotel employees, and most importantly, my wife's relatives. My new Italian friends couldn't believe I learned the language from tapes.
There's no question that buying Pimsleur's Italian II is a significant investment. But I guarantee if you stick with it you'll surprise yourself, your traveling companions, and the wonderful people you'll meet in Italy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Very Convenient Way to Learn Italian, August 26, 2003
I do a lot of driving around and I feel I am making good use of my time. I don't have experience with other tapes, but the Pimsleur method seems good. One point that I would like to make is that you must listen to the tapes many times to really grasp what you have learned. Some lessons that involve conjugating in the past tense must be repeated over and over to catch the verb tenses. I use 501 Italian verbs as a point of reference, which I think is necessary to get the whole picture of what Pimsluer is teaching. This is the third foreign language that I have learned. At the stage of life I am at (kids, carpools) sitting in a classroom is out of the question. I consider Pimsleur a good way of learning, but I do agree that it lacks tourist situations. However I feel I have gained the tools to figure out what I need to know when I return to Italy.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
MORE familiar (tu) conjugations, August 19, 2002
Other than that this is a pretty good way to learn a language (yes, a short grammar guide/word list would have been awesome). I recommend "Italian Verb Drills" and "Teach Yourself Italian"-- which is this cute if antiquated book (replace all the "egli" and "essa" with "lui" and "lei" if you're trying to learn how to speak). For vocabulary, do the Vocabulearn series. Do get a grammar book, it helps with the prepositions etc. which can be tricky.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful:
Better Tourist Orientation, December 15, 2001
I have used Pimsler for both Italian and French to the II level. The formats are identical. They're easy to listen to driving back and forth to work, especially if your trip happens to be 30 minutes each way. The Pimsler method of repetition and reinforcement seems to work well enough, but it doesn't leave you with a vocabulary suited to tourism. You get a good sense or "feel" for how the language is spoken; you get essential verbs but not a very extensive vocabulary.
I really felt there was an excessive emphasis on "familiar" (use only to friends, relatives, small children) verb forms. Nobody who uses this course will end up "conversational" in the sense that they'll be pleasantly chatting with Italian friends. So the familiar verb forms are not likely to be anything a tourist or businessman will either hear or speak. Those situations will necessarily call for "formal" verb forms.
My daughter is taking advanced level Italian language courses at the University of Colorado, and she states that familiar verb forms are barely mentioned, because they aren't useful to someone at that level of proficiency.
I'm a tourist with foreseeable needs in Italy like making my way around airports, train stations, markets and museums, renting a hotel room or car, ordering in a restaurant and forth. At the end of Italian II, I should have a vocabulary and dialogues at least minimally suited for those kinds of purposes, but I don't. The course has no "tourist" vocabulary or outlook at all. The focus is more on things like playing tennis with "friends" and other improbable "familiar" situations that are essentially useless to someone focused on traveling.
But I'm buying Italian III anyway because I've come this far with the Pimsler system and it seems to work with the above limitations. If you're planning to use this course to prepare for travel in Italy, you should also carry a Rough Guide dictionary phrasebood ("Italian - A Rough Guide Phrasebood," ...) available through Amazon. It contains "dialogues" more relevant to the traveler, which you can readily adopt after completing Pimsler Italian II.
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
few tips, November 27, 2001
I'm currently using Pimsleur to learn Japanese and Cantonese, and I'm thrilled with my progress. Pimsleur has a truly effective system for learning language painlessly and effectively.
I've noticed, though, that on many Pimsleur reviews here on
Amazon, people say they needed to listen to each tape 2-5 times
before they felt they knew the material. Fortunately, that's not
necessary. Here's how to make equal progress on just one listening:
Each time you're prompted to come up with an answer on your own,
*stop the tape* and give yourself time to think before you get
interrupted by the soundtrack. If the tape gives you the answer
before you've come up with an answer yourself, you haven't learned
anything (. . .)