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I do love what I have seen of Italy and I am keen to learn the language. Admittedly, it isn't going great and I have barely picked up what I would class as a good level of basic skills but, hopefully one day I will get better. However, I was very pleased indeed when my lonely planet magazine included this talk fast guide as a free gift and have used it frequently since receiving it.
Lonely planet are a huge company that are well known within the travel industry. They are publishers of guides, books and magazines. I have been a subscriber to their magazine for some time now and have also used various guides for my own trips. They have offices in the UK, USA and Australia.
Small and compact at just 96 pages long and only 4 inches in height, it is the perfect little book to slip in your hand luggage or even your pocket as it has a nice paperback cover too. The title says it all really as it comes under 'Essential language for short trips - fast talk'. Covering the basics and a little more, it is really quite a handy guide and one that I have come to love carrying around with me on trips.
Categories and more:
The book has eleven categories under which words and phrases are listed - these are listed on the contents page for ease of reference. These are:
Eat and Drink
The advantage of having the categories means that if you need to look at a particular subject for conversation or require a certain word it is easier to find as you can relate it to a subject. Also just after the contents page there is a small introduction which details a few important notes which may help users when trying to speak the language such as pronunciation and also abbreviations used such as when they have stated a word is plural or singular.
The back of the book contains the always useful index which some may find easier if they are unsure what category their word may come under and also useful to note is the rather helpful English to Italian and Italian to English dictionary so not only can you use it to translate words to make yourself known but, also use it to understand the ones speaking to you or maybe even signs where there is nobody to ask.
What I love most about this little book and why it has become so indispensable for me is the fact that it gives the pronunciation. It helps that I have started to try and understand the accent and how things are said because of the accent but, the book kindly has the actual pronunciation in blue next to the word broken down into syllables and this is really a rather great tool; I find that practising the pronunciation slowly is a good way to start to grasp the words to then get used to saying them faster until you sound less like a robot and more human!
Overall, the layout of the book and the words followed by the polite and informal versions of ways to say them are rather handy indeed as well as the female and male differences.
I was lucky enough to receive this book completely free as part of my subscription to Lonely Planet magazine and I have to say it has certainly been used and will continue to be used so I feel it was a great gift to receive. However, if you wish to purchase the book yourself, you can do from the Lonely Planet website where it retails for just £2.50 although you will pay postage of £2.75 or alternatively, you can buy from Amazon where it retails for slightly less at £2.38 and although you again would pay delivery on this, you can get free delivery of you spend over a fiver and get something else with it whereas on the Lonely planet website you will pay delivery even on higher spends.
I have used my book on many occasions and even sometimes just flick through it to try and learn words! Occasionally I will be watching something on TV or somebody will say something I will use this to find the Italian phrase or word as I find this is the best way for me to pick up words and get them to stick in my mind.
I think for the money it is a bargain - for such a little amount you can equip yourself with a very handy book indeed and although it may not contain every single scenario or word you will need, it certainly covers enough that you could get by on a trip to Italy. I find it indispensable and think anyone would be pleased to have this in their pocket
A basic travel phrasebook for Italian translation