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How the course works

This course is addressed to learners without any prior knowledge of Italian. It aims to help you reach at least a lower beginner level (the A1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference).

After the course, you should be able to understand and use familiar everyday expressions to introduce yourself, talk about the place you come from, describe the place where you live, talk about your occupation, order something in a restaurant, etc.

  1. The course is organized around 18 video clips which are short stories with three main characters (Mike, Anna and Lisa). Each week there are three video clips with related activities. The dialogues contained in the video clips are the starting points for your learning paths.

  2. Each video clip has an Introduction, a short video in English that gives you the main information about the story you are going to watch.

  3. Then you will watch the video clip and you will do the Comprehension quiz.

  4. After the comprehension quiz you will find three different paths, each one aiming to look at a different aspect of the videoclip. We have called these three points:
    • Focus on Communication
    • Focus on Vocabulary
    • Focus on Grammar

      In Focus on Communication you’ll learn expressions to communicate in specific situations, for example “how to ask for a cup of coffee or for the bill in a coffee shop”.

      In Focus on Vocabulary you’ll learn the vocabulary that is useful to interact in that same situation.

      In Focus on Grammar you’ll learn a few grammar structures used in the dialogue.

      Don’t worry if you find grammar difficult! The main aim is to use Italian and become familiar with the language, not to be completely accurate. So, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes!
  5. After the three Focuses you will find the section Exploring Italian which is an expansion of the linguistic aspects you found in the video clip.

  6. Finally, at the end of each week, you will find the section Discussion Point, Here you have the chance to write a short text in Italian, to practice what you have learnt during the week. For example, describe yourself or the place where you live etc.

    Remember, before starting your work on the Discussion Point you should have finished all the points and videos of the week.

  7. The week ends with a video Summary where you can find all the elements presented during the week.

How to manage the dialogues in the video clips

Since the dialogues are in Italian, you might find them a bit hard to understand at the beginning. For this reason we would like to suggest two possible approaches, one easier and one more challenging.

  • Easy: before you watch the video clip, read the English translation of the dialogue, then read the transcription of the dialogue in Italian. Then watch the video clip with subtitles in Italian or in English as you prefer.

  • Challenging: watch the video clip in Italian, then watch it again with Italian subtitles and if necessary watch it once more with English subtitles.

Please remember that the English translation of the dialogues is not a word-for-word translation.

If you start with the “easy” approach, we suggest that you switch to the “challenging” one after a few video clips or whenever you feel comfortable.

If you want to practice listening and pronunciation, you can download the MP3 version of the dialogues. You can read the transcription of the dialogues while listening to them, so you can stop and repeat fragments of the audio. You can also record your voice, (for example on Vocaroo.com) and then listen again.

How to make better use of this course

The course will engage you for about three hours a week. Learning a language is not only a matter of memory or perfect comprehension. It’s absolutely normal to forget words you have just learnt and go back and forth to review forms and rules. Learning a language also means being patient. So don’t get stressed trying to remember every single word or form you find in the dialogues.

Instead we strongly suggest that you interact in the community to answer questions, help other learners and talk about Italy and its culture without any fear of making mistakes.

The educators will give you feedback on what you post whenever possible, we will do our best to answer all your questions and help you. For this reason it is a good idea to follow all the educators so you can be sure to not miss any important information and be part of the community.

We hope you will enjoy the course, have fun and learn something about our language and culture. Buon lavoro!

Don’t forget to follow us also on Twitter! #FLLearnItalian.

The Introduction to Italian Team

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Italian

Università per Stranieri di Siena (UniStraSi)

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