Our book, Conversational Italian for Travelers is unique in that it functions both to teach the Italian language in a gradual, understandable way, and to serve as a reference book for important
travel phrases, basic and intermediate grammar, verb conjugations, numbers, and the idiomatic expressions spoken by real Italians today.
The idea is that the adult who is interested in learning a second language has specific needs to communicate with other adults and the world around him, and that these needs should be stressed. In fact, most adults try to learn a new language fairly quickly before they must visit, relocate, or do business in another country. This book is designed to focus on the vocabulary and grammar adults will most often encounter, while at the same time teaching the formal "rules" of the language. It is an instructional book that can be kept for later reference as well.
The material covered is from beginning to intermediate levels, and contains three units. The units describe the information covered: "Transportation," "City Life," and "Hotels and Restaurants" - with three full chapters on how to read those Italian menus!
Each unit is divided into six chapters, which each contain the following sections: "Dialogue, Vocabulary, Important Phrases, Cultural Note, Grammar, Verbs, Idiomatic Expressions, and Numbers," with each page color-coded and specifically organized to make visual learning easy. The book assumes some knowledge of English grammar and will be easiest to use by those who have already attempted to learn a second language at school, but was developed to be useful to adults of any education level or experience. The "Getting Started" section at the very beginning of the text can be used to introduce the Italian alphabet and idea of gender agreement for those who are entirely new to the romance languages.
There is an emphasis on using technology to one's best advantage in the world of travel today, with links to informational internet sites and tips on how to communicate internationally. The information is presented in an interesting way, as we follow our main character, Caterina, through her travels in Italy, with cultural notes about important places and events that she encounters during her trip.
Here is a summary of what can be learned from each unit:
The unit entitled, "Transportation," covers the Italian vocabulary/grammar/verbs needed to use the various modes of transportation in Italy to get from one place to the next - airplane, taxi, train,
and car travel are undertaken by Caterina for example phrases in our dialogues .
Important "Meeting and greeting" phrases are covered. The simple present tense, with most pronunciation and spelling exceptions, is gradually introduced throughout the unit. The final chapter also includes the present progressive tense.
The unit entitled, "City Life," covers the Italian vocabulary / grammar/ verbs needed to communicate with people the visitor may already know, such as relatives, or will get to know or meet while traveling in Italy. Reflexive verbs and object pronouns are covered in detail, as these are the verbs of relationships, along with the familiar command form. The simple past tense forms are also covered. Vocabulary and expressions needed for shopping are discussed in detail.
The unit entitled, "At the Hotel," covers the Italian vocabulary/grammar/verbs needed to communicate with people while staying at a hotel, as well as how make reservations and order at a restaurant, with the first three chapters devoted to Caterina's "trip within her trip" with her Italian family to the lakeside town of Stresa, and the last three to a celebratory meal she has at a restaurant in Stresa with her family. Imperfect past tense is introduced with examples of when this tense is needed, such as to discuss the weather. The future and conditional tenses are also covered in detail.
Here is a summary of the sections of each individual chapter:
1. "Dialogue" - The dialogues create a running story from one chapter to the next. We follow Caterina as she journeys to Italy, meets her relatives and their friends, and spends some vacation time at the beach. There are dialogues which focus on taking public transportation, as well as going to a party or meeting that special someone, making reservations and eating out in a restaurant.
2. "Vocabulary" - This section expands on the dialogue section before it; important vocabulary words from the dialogue are included, with additional words that can be used in a similar situation.
3. "Important Phrases" - The phrases covered in this section are important for travelers and can be used to create a "travel phrase book." The phrases included often have more complex verb use or sentence structure than are covered in the same or preceding chapters, but are short enough (and important enough) to be committed to memory without the background knowledge. This section will also have some relation to the subject matter of each chapter.
4. "Cultural Note" - Additional vocabulary and/or information is given in this section which relates to the chapter topic. For instance, for the chapter "Taking the train," the cultural note gives a description about how to use the train system in Italy to get from the major Italian airports to the actual city of destination. Excerpts from the cultural notes in the book can be found on this web site, www.StellaLucente.com and www.LearnTravelItalian.com.
5. "Grammar Note" - Grammar rules for beginning to intermediate sentence structure are given, with emphasis on gender and number agreement; definite articles and their nouns, indefinite articles, adjectives, adverbs, and cognates are discussed.
6. "Verbs" - Basic verb conjugation and rules for the present tense in Units 1 and 2, including a short section on the familiar command forms and extensive discussion of reflexive verbs and use of direct and indirect object pronouns. The last section of Unit 2 and the first section of Unit 3 cover the simple past tense, past participles, and imperfect past tense. The remainder of Unit 3 covers future and conditional tenses.
7. "Grammar Point" - Additional grammar information related to verbs
8. "Idiomatic Expressions" - More important phrases that are necessary to understand the way Italians speak today, which may not follow the specific rules of grammar previously outlined.
9. "Numbers" - Counting from zero to 100 in the first unit, and use of these numbers to tell time. Counting from 100 - 1,000,000,000 in the second and third units, and use of these numbers to give the date, pay for purchases, etc. A short discussion of Italian currency with pictures of the different denominations is also included.
Conversational Italian for Travelers can be ordered bound, as a
traditional textbook, or in loose-leaf form, with perforated holes for a spiral binder. Download single chapters or the entire book as well, to keep as notes in a spiral binder.
After reading each chapter through from beginning to end, the separate pages of the book can be reorganized to create individualized reference books.
The "Important Phrases" section of each chapter has been specifically created so that these pages can be removed and re-filed together to create a book of travel phrases! Use the second set of numbers in the bottom right hand of the page, which end in "IP" to keep the correct order, from 1(IP) in the first chapter to 18(IP) in the last.
And, of course, to keep those important travel tips near-by, pull all of the Cultural Note sections, numbered (CN) as an additional travel guide.
Need to have vocabulary, numbers, or idiomatic expressions close by? Re-organize those pages as needed with the (VO), (N) and (ID) pages.
Having trouble remembering all those verb conjugations and rules?
Make your own verb reference book for easy accessibility with the (V) numbers! Each section is color-coded as well, to help with creating these individual reference books.
The Conversational Italian for Travelers Audio Guide
is a separate textbook in two volumes (which can also be downloaded in MP3 format from this web site),
with material that corresponds to and expands each chapter in the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook. Listen as native speakers say simple and then ever more complex
sentences using the grammar and vocabulary appropriate for each section.
This is an especially useful aid for the study of verb conjugations, which is the main focus of the guide. The unique way each group of sentences builds upon the ones before in each section will allow for practice, practice, practice, conjugating those verbs, without the boredom that can otherwise come with the usual rote memorization.