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Speak Italian With Michel Thomas

Book Review

 

Title:

Speak Italian With Michel Thomas

Author:

Michel Thomas

Publisher:

NTC Publishing Group, Lincolnwood, IL

ISBN:

0-658-00810-2

Reviewed By:

Frank Fogg

Review Date:

October, 2000

Rating:

Speak Italian With Michel Thomas is  a fast track program to learn to speak Italian. The course consists of two audio CD disks packaged in a petite bookshelf style case. A small paper insert is  included to tell the user about Michel Thomas and what should be expected from  the course.

This program is an all-audio course -- there is no workbook or script included with it. All learning is accomplished by listening and repeating what is being discussed. What makes this course different from others is the learning format that is utilized. The student is not supposed to take any notes or try to remember what is being taught. As the lessons are being presented, two students in the audio program learn the material at the same time as the listener. Perhaps this is done to build confidence since they make many of the same mistakes a beginner makes when learning a language.

ama-0658008102.jpg (3911 bytes)What makes this program succeed as a learning vehicle is the amount of interaction that is required to use the course. Mr. Thomas requests at the beginning of the program to use the pause button each time a response is needed. The student then takes whatever amount of time is necessary to formulate an answer. Then the audio program is resumed so that the student can compare his answer to the correct one. Each successive concept builds upon the previous lessons so that the listener is soon required to begin speaking more complex sentences. Very little of the material is reviewed -- instead, it is expanded upon as the student takes sentences and combines them or substitutes newer phrases into previous material.

There is no doubt that the method Michel Thomas uses to teach the language is effective. I only regretted not buying the deluxe edition of this course that included eight disks instead of this basic edition with two disks. My only complaint about the course is the audio quality. Although all of the speakers can be understood, the recording itself has a muddy tonal quality. In the car, this required increasing the volume control several notches and adjusting the tone controls to get a comfortable listening level. When wearing earphones or at home, the audio quality did not interfere with the learning process as much.

This program is ideal for somebody desiring to get a basic grasp of spoken Italian. The program is fast paced, but the retention of the material is improved by Michel Thomas' tried and proven method. The deluxe version of this program should be considered for serious  students of the language since it is priced lower than other similar deluxe product offerings by competitors.

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