Saturday, May 8, 2010

An unusually useful free online Italian course

There is plenty of free language learning material on the Internet, as you may have noticed. But much of it is either limited or even wrong. And it is particularly difficult for the foreign student to assess the value of this kind of material, because by definition such students are not expert in the subject matter and will not perceive mistakes and shortcomings, big and small.

While perusing the Net for such materials I came upon this self-contained course prepared by Italians for immigrants to Italy. It is from the local government of Lombardy (the region of which Milan is the capital.) Specifically, it centers around a sitcom of a family in Brescia. Each episode is about 5-10 minutes long and there are twenty episodes. Every episode has plenty of supplementary material, including exercises in the green (easy) and red (harder) "notebooks." Unfortunately the exercises are not interactive at this point, and no key is provided. Other features are vocabulary lists and pronunciation practice, and a lesson about the epsiode with two teachers (one of whom is shown in the picture) who go over the language points.

I highly recommend this, although it will not be sufficient in itself to teach you Italian. Use it to complement your Italian classes or self-study.

The site is called L'Italiano in famiglia and can be found here.