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I not too long ago got the chance to look over this book in Carolyn Woods’ “Lightning-fast” language series. These books allow moms to teach their family a foreign language while doing daily activities – even if they don’t speak it themselves!
I was selected to try out the Italian book, though Chinese and German were on my wishlist as well!
One thing I like about this book, and which is probably a part of all the other books as well is the section on HOW to use the book. It’s nice to have a general idea of where to take the lessons into your day to day life. The grammar notes are nice too, but there is something missing…
A general pronunciation guide to certain things feels like it would be helpful here. Particularly the vowels. As sometimes the phonetic write up next to the word can be a bit.. hmm.. misleading? Or maybe it’s just because I wasn’t taught to read phonetically that it comes across as strange to me. Though the phonetic writings try, I ended up needing to google sound files of someone speaking Italian just to get it.
Once I did though, it sort of became obvious that the vowels in Italian are pretty similar to the Japanese. A = Ah, I = E, U = Oo, E = Eh, O = Oh. Also, Italian tends to flip/roll their R’s, at least according to the samples I’ve heard!
Anyway, back to the book the general idea is good, but I still got hung up on the written out pronunciation. For example Blouse, which is La Camicetta is written out as ca-mea-chay-ttah, but when I googled sound files, I came out hearing ca-me-cheht-tah pronunciation. Where to me mea looks like you’d say “me-ah” and cetta’s needing to sound more like the name Chet with tah right after, instead of a Chay-ttah.
Perhaps it makes more sense to other people, but once I got a general idea of the vowels, and that fact that C in Italian is pronounced Ch and Z is Ts (like in Chinese), I was able to get along just fine. It was probably just a personality quirk with trying to work with the book, I am not fully saying this is a bad thing. For many this is likely a plus, it was just a downside for me.
Right, so, after the initial shock wore off I could move onto the lessons in the book for the kids. Thankfully the kids didn’t look at me like I had two heads when I started working on this book with them. In fact the kids were easily able to understand “Indossi i calzini?” Which is me asking them if they’re wearing socks.
Really, they picked this us all fairly easy as I started throwing it into daily conversation little by little. Kind of like I’ve been doing with Japanese over the years though at a quicker pace since I was needing to a review, instead of being my usual slower paced self with things.
The games and activities were really helpful in cementing the words into the kids heads and mine a bit, though I’ll be honest that I had to keep the book nearby so I didn’t mess anything up! They seem to learn languages a lot faster than I do. Likely an age thing? Who knows. @_@
In the end I’d really recommend these books to anyone who wants a quick and easy way to incorporate a new language into their and their kids’ lives. Though to be honest even if you don’t have kids you could do this with your friends/partner/siblings/parents/etc and still get good results!
You can find out more about the author Carolyn Woods at the following places:
Her books can be purchased on Amazon for $15 each (as of this writing), but today… you have the chance to win whichever book you’d like! Quick and easy rafflecopter form below, and please do share with your friends! Good luck all!