The best language combination! (for me...)


I’m new here and have just started learning Italian (and Spanish which is ridiculously similar lol) and wanted to let you know what I’m using to do it because it seems to be a good combination.

What I’m doing is two fold.

  1. I use the Michel Thomas stuff for learning the language structure and how to “think”, speak and formulate sentences in Italian

  2. I then use the iSpeak Italian to practice my pronunciation.

I don’t know how many of you have used the Michel Thomas stuff, but for me it works better than anything else I’ve tried. I listen to one 20 minute audio session and I haven’t just learn a new set of words, but a whole new possibility of phrases and sentence which can be put together.

If anyone likes maths then the learning seems to be Exponential, as in You learn X in session one and X in session two and you end up with not X + X but X multiplied by X.

I tried Pimsleurs as well but the Michel Thomas course seems to get you on your feet and running very quickly. The main difference is that MT (Michel Thomas) starts by connecting parts of your English vocabulary to what you will learn.

For example, “Probable” in Italian is simply “prob-arb-el-ay” and “Probably” is “Prob-arb-el-ay-ment-ay” and this is the same pattern for lots of words.

Then he gives you key words from which you can start building your own sentences: What, Why, Would, Could, Should, Want, I, You.
And then begins to introduce verbs like “buy” and “go” (I hope this is right lol)

I’m really impressed and excited by how easy it is.

The only problem is that MT has/had (He is dead now) a part polish accent. His pronunciation is still clear and I’d say its correct but he has that inclination towards the polish inflections.

So I go back and practice my pronunciation with the iSpeak audio phrase books.
These are great as well. Copy the CD to your Itunes folder and you can find the phrase you want and both hear AND see the Italian equivalent.

I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language.

So what sort of programs are you all using and how are they working for you?


p.s. In case you are unaware, MT is quite famous for having taught a class of primary school kids to speak French to a fluent conversational level in just 5 days! He also worked with a lot of celebrities and even a few dignitaries. This is why I tried his stuff.

I prefer to use the US Foreign Service Institute courses that can be bought in various forms at stores or online. Some of them can be downloaded free at

These FSI courses teach formal language that may on rare occasions be a little out of date, but they really help your spoken fluency.

There are good competitors to Pimsleur courses for Spanish and Italian, which are called “Learning Spanish Like Crazy” and “Learning Italian Like Crazy”. Their approach is very much like Pimsleur, but they cover more grammar. They also teach the vocabulary more or less from the FSI courses, which is good, because Pimsleur doesn’t give you much of a vocabulary load.

There is an update of the FSI Spanish program called “Platiquemos”, which is also very good. It even includes songs – good ones, not crummy textbook songs.

thanks for the information.

In my profession, every week I am meeting many Chinese counterparts online…I only greet them in Chinese " [color=blue]Ni hao…" (same as good day or how are you…) and then continue in English…

Actually I hope that I can manage the business transactions [color=blue]more successfully if I know a little (spoken) Chinese…

What would be the best method to learn the spoken Chinese by just sparing [color=blue]an hour to the most every day online…

can anyone suggest me websites that offer [color=blue]vocal practices…or materials as [color=blue]sound files…

thanks for your kindness and your proper guidance is [color=blue]highly appreciated…

Sahid, here is a website where you can download some very thorough self-teaching courses for Chinese, and they are all free and legal: … courses-3/

thank you Jamie (K)…

I will use it for my Chinese learning…

The best languages to learn are Englilsh, German and French. You can go everywhere in the world and get information in theese languages. If you visit a museum in Poland for exemaple they have information in at last one of these languages.

If you go to Switzerland or Austria it’s almost a nessisarily to know German but you can make yourself understood in English too in most places.


So if you go to china, which language will you use? And if you go to Arabia Saudita? Brazil? There are no important languages than others. Healey, you don’t need to follow what the theoryes say. Spanish and italian are close languages and very easy to learn. Try to learn in normal way, speaking with native speakers, reading newspapers or visiting local websites. No hablo perfectamente español, pero la mayor parte de las palabras que conoce aprendí en foros, chat y nos jornales. Hace lo mismo y en poco tiempo estarás hablando como una nativa. :wink: