What is the Michel Thomas Method?
The Michel Thomas Method teaches everyday conversational language that will allow you to communicate in a wide variety of situations, empowered by the ability to create your own sentences and use the language instinctively, having absorbed the vocabulary and grammatical structures. These all-audio courses were perfected over 25 years by gifted linguist and teacher Michel Thomas, and provide an accelerated method for language learning that is truly revolutionary.
Lessons 1-7, the beginner course: This course makes no assumption of knowledge of any language other than English and gives the beginner practical and functional use of the spoken language. It is also appropriate for anyone who has studied Italian before, but has forgotten much of it or does not have confidence in speaking. The Beginner course is designed to take you from complete beginner to intermediate level.
Lessons 8-11, the Intermediate course: This course is for those with an intermediate-level foundation in Italian, or those who have completed lessons 1-7 and want to take their learning to an advanced level and speak Italian proficiently and easily.
How does it work?
Unlike most language courses that focus around topics or grammar forms, the Michel Thomas Method works by breaking a language down into its component parts, enabling you to reconstruct the language yourself - to form your own sentences, to say what you want, when you want. Within the first 10 minutes of the course, you will be generating complete sentences on your own. It is important that you complete the lessons in order. The Method is successful because it builds on the language you learn in each lesson and "recycles" language taught in earlier lessons, allowing you to build ever-more complicated sentences. Because the Method is based on understanding, not memorisation, there is no set limit to the length of time that you should study each lesson. Once you feel you have a good grasp of the language taught in one lesson, you can move on to the next.
In lesson 1 of the Italian Beginner course, you'll learn how to make simple statements, talk about the future and ask questions with:
Similarities between Italian and English
Words ending in -ible and -able "possible", "probable", etc
"It is" and "it is not"
Prepositions "for": "for me", "for you", "for her"; "with": "with you", "with me"
Inflection for questions
Question words: "why?", "where?", "how much?", "what?", "when?", "at what time?", "how long?"
Linking words: "because", "if", "and"
"Like that"; "I'm sorry, but…"
English -ly ending: "possibly", "probably"
Useful words: "very", "more", "the same", "some", "too/too much", "in my/your opinion", "a little", "Italian", "French", "I'm hungry/thirsty", "house"
Adjectives: "expensive", "ready", "good", "busy", "tired"
Verbs: "it is", "I/you want", "to know", "to buy", "you/he/she can", "I am", "he/she/it is", "to stay", "to speak", "to eat", "to leave/depart", "to understand", "to see", "to go", "to come", "to take", "to prepare", "to have", "to drink", "to do/make", "I can", "to call"
Verb endings for "I", "you/he/she/it", the "whole verb"
"Thing", "the same thing", "something"
Pronouns: "I/me", "you", "her", "it", "him"
Time expressions: "late, later", "now", "right away", "hour", "time", "evening", "this evening/tonight", "tomorrow", "tomorrow morning/afternoon/evening"
Place expressions: "here", "at home"
The present tense
Expressing the future using the present tense
In the next lesson you'll learn how to say what you can and must do, what you're doing right now, what you are about to do, and what you will do in the future.
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Valuable but not up to his usual standard
I am a great fan of Michel Thomas method language learning. To me there are only two choices when starting to learn a language -Michel Thomas or Paul Noble (who uses as similar method). However this Italian course is by far the worst.
This course is conducted by Michel Thomas himself and other reviewers have commented on the poor Italian accent but that is not my complaint. Michel Thomas is useful to learn the structure of the language and the subtleties of accent are not that important at this stage. You can pick that up with other Italian language resources. My complaints are as follows ...
1. Poor explanations. Normally he explains things very clearly and unambiguously but on this course I kept finding myself unsure of certain aspects having to guess and confirm them over time. All became clear in the end but it is unnecessarily confusing.
2. Sloppy production. The editing of this course is unforgivably sloppy. At one point he even started teaching a whole new tense without any warning of explanation ... just launched into examples. Michel Thomas would not do this so it is down to very sloppy production.
3. Idiot students. A common complaint of Michel Thomas courses is that the stumblings of the participating students can be irritating. While this is true I find that their mistakes are a valuable teaching tool. However these students take it to a new level with long periods of silence (why were these not edited out?) while they plucked up courage to speak and panicky random blurtings.
Because of these flaws I cant really recommend this course and would steer people towards Paul Nobles course instead (which I have also bought/used).
However, having said all that, even with its flaws I personally still use it in preference to Paul Nobel who I find a little too slow moving for my taste.
It’s so pleasant this way
- Mihai Olaru