My first prototype of the XML Flashcards is online at XMLFlash

Right now it just has a text area for pasting code into. No error checking and it only generates one type of cards.

I want to learn Italian.

I have never had much luck with learning a new language. I’ve tried classes, tutors, self-paced books, tapes, and watching lots of TV en Espanol. I think of all the things I have tried, the semester of Latin helped the most. For one thing, I learned basic grammar. Something I was never really taught in school. Sure they went over it once or twice but somehow I managed to make it through school without really even understanding the basics.

So now I am beginning to study Italian. I want to pick it up as fast as I can.

I started listening to some tapes that my MIL had. But these don’t seem to be set up for rapid learning of vocabulary. I tried to use some interactive CD’s for computer self paced study. These are set up to be very easy. You mainly learn nouns. I can bluff my way through them too easily. I don’t feel like I am really learning.

When I was studying Latin, I found something called a ‘Reader’. I did not know what they were before then. It is a book that starts out with everything in the language you are learning. There is no English to help you figure out what they are saying. They typically start out with things like ‘Roma in Italia est.” Then build upon that simple foundation.

So for learning Italian I bought a reader. This one has a dictionary in the back and some English on the pages where appropriate. I also got a decent Italian/English dictionary and a 555 verb form book. I have stared going through the book, looking up every word that I do not know or have questions about. The first lesson took a while to get through, but I learned a lot.

One of the neat things about the verb book is that at the beginning it has the top 50 most used verbs listed. I am going to try to memorize all 50 of them.

Here is a list of the books I am using now:
Easy Italian Reader: by Riccarda Saggese
Websters New World Italian Dictionary
The Big Green Book of Italian Verbs
and Barron’s Italian At A Glance (A little phrasebook/ dictioanary)