Italian Language and Culture: Beginner

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9/10 stars
based on  23 reviews
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Course Details

Cost

FREE

Upcoming Schedule

  • On demand

Course Provider

edX online courses
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Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

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24049 reviews

Course Description

Benvenuti e Benvenute! (Welcome!)

In this language course you will learn the four basic skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in the context of major themes in Italian culture. By the end of the course you will be able to describe people, events and situations, both in the present and the past, and you will have acquired the necessary vocabulary to communicate about everyday situations.

This course offers a variety of tools to help you learn “la lingua del sì” in different ways:

  • Situational videos (called Ciak!, which means “clapperboard” in Italian): you will follow eight Italian students in their daily lives and interactions on our campus. What a great way to learn authentic conversational Italian!
  • Downloadable Podcasts: become a participant in each Ciak! video and practice Italian when and where you want on your portable device!
  • Grammar charts, with or without audio files: study and review grammar throu...

Benvenuti e Benvenute! (Welcome!)

In this language course you will learn the four basic skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in the context of major themes in Italian culture. By the end of the course you will be able to describe people, events and situations, both in the present and the past, and you will have acquired the necessary vocabulary to communicate about everyday situations.

This course offers a variety of tools to help you learn “la lingua del sì” in different ways:

  • Situational videos (called Ciak!, which means “clapperboard” in Italian): you will follow eight Italian students in their daily lives and interactions on our campus. What a great way to learn authentic conversational Italian!
  • Downloadable Podcasts: become a participant in each Ciak! video and practice Italian when and where you want on your portable device!
  • Grammar charts, with or without audio files: study and review grammar through concise, clear and downloadable pdf files, and practice pronunciation with our embedded audio files.
  • Short video lessons: as if in a real classroom, learn each new topic with the instructor’s direct guidance.
  • Video interviews: learn from various native speakers as they talk about different aspects of Italian culture.
  • Short “Letture” (readings): practice reading comprehension while learning about Italian culture.
  • Discussion board: your chance to communicate (in Italian!) with other students on a variety of suggested topics.
  • Ready to test your skills? Practice and review with a variety of self-correcting activities.

Italian culture is also an integral part of this course. Through our interviews and readings you will learn about:

  • daily life in a small hill town in Northern Italy;
  • major differences between Italian and American universities;
  • Italian films that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film;
  • summer vacations in Italy;
  • Italian cuisine.

Whether you are a traditional, visual or auditory learner, you will find the tools that best fit your unique way to learn a foreign language.

This course has been successfully taught in different settings to more than 1,000 students: entirely online to Wellesley College alumnae and students, and as a mix of face-to-face and online instruction at Wellesley College and MIT. We are now proud to open it on edX, confident that your learning experience with this unique online course will be as enriching as it was for the many students who have already taken it.

Last but not least: as you progress in the course, remember to have fun!

After completing this course, continue learning Italian with Italian Language and Culture: Intermediate and Italian Language and Culture: Advanced.

Buon divertimento!

Thank you for the fantastic course. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the richness and depth of the material and the opportunity to learn and immerse ... I love Italy and the Italian language.” – Previous Student

Reviews 9/10 stars
23 Reviews for Italian Language and Culture: Beginner

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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Nate Mitchell profile image
Nate Mitchell profile image

Nate Mitchell

6/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 11 months ago
Overall: Highly recommended, enjoyable, efficiently organized, and well-paced. Could use some more reading exercises using authentic texts. Detail: First of all, I used this course for something of a unique purpose: to prepare for a reading comprehension exam in Italian as part of my graduate studies (I had never taken Italian before, though I had taken several years of Spanish so I was familiar with a lot of the grammatical constructions). As a result, I mostly ignored the Ciak! videos and exercises / exams. I also blew through all three levels in about 8 weeks, so I had to necessarily pass over a lot of practice and reinforcement. But, I am happy to say that thanks to the course I did pass my reading exam, and plan to review the materials I skipped to reinforce my knowledge. I have nothing but good things to say about the grammar explanation pages, videos, and vocabulary Quizlet pages. I don't think anything about these portions... Overall: Highly recommended, enjoyable, efficiently organized, and well-paced. Could use some more reading exercises using authentic texts. Detail: First of all, I used this course for something of a unique purpose: to prepare for a reading comprehension exam in Italian as part of my graduate studies (I had never taken Italian before, though I had taken several years of Spanish so I was familiar with a lot of the grammatical constructions). As a result, I mostly ignored the Ciak! videos and exercises / exams. I also blew through all three levels in about 8 weeks, so I had to necessarily pass over a lot of practice and reinforcement. But, I am happy to say that thanks to the course I did pass my reading exam, and plan to review the materials I skipped to reinforce my knowledge. I have nothing but good things to say about the grammar explanation pages, videos, and vocabulary Quizlet pages. I don't think anything about these portions of the course needs to change. If I had to recommend one area where things could be improved, it's in the reading comprehension department. The Lettura sections were nice for translation practice, but I think these could have been supplemented with passages taken from authentic Italian texts. I think this course could be significantly improved if occasionally we were given children's stories, nursery rhymes, news stories, television scripts, portions of famous speeches, play excerpts, poetry, etc. to read in addition to the Lettura exercises. As it stands, I had to find my own materials on this front, which was difficult in the early period of study since the excerpts weren't curated to match the specific grammar constructions and vocabulary I was familiar with. Nonetheless, this is a small suggestion for improving an otherwise highly enjoyable and useful course.
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student

10/10 starsDropped
3 years, 5 months ago
I was enjoying the course but unfortually due to new job and health issues had to drop out of. I would like to redo if possible.
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Roberto Mendoza profile image
Roberto Mendoza profile image

Roberto Mendoza

8/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 6 months ago
L'ho appena finito, e mi ha sembrato un ottimo corso per imparare la lingua italiana, ma non é al livello della Dante principalmente perché questo é su Internet. Credo che é troppo migliore la formazione in aula, comunque sento che questo é molto buono per un MOOC.
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Ana Armijos profile image
Ana Armijos profile image

Ana Armijos

10/10 starsTaking Now
3 years, 6 months ago
Grazie mille per il sostegno enorme, più possibilità ho dovuto imparare a fondo l'italiano, Daniela Lei e' la miglior insegnante che abbia mai avuto. Ana
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Tara B profile image
Tara B profile image

Tara B

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 6 months ago
This course was extremely helpful for my knowledge of and ability to communicate in Italian. I have three kids, so in one year I was only able to get through the beginning course. I really hope it gets offered again so I can learn more and further my skills.
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Valerie Rhodes profile image
Valerie Rhodes profile image

Valerie Rhodes

8/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this course and all the content. I enjoyed being in a virtual classroom. I felt that the videos at the beginning of the course were rather too advanced for a beginner and would have liked to have had some more basic ones. I need to practise my speaking skills but that is over to me. Thank you to everyone involved in this course especially Professoress 'Milani'.
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Tatjana Jancić profile image
Tatjana Jancić profile image

Tatjana Jancić

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 8 months ago
Un corso meraviglioso! Grazie, Daniela, non vedo l'ora di iniziare il corso di livello intermedio! Mi piacevano moltissimo le interviste e le letture! Grazie mille!
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orlando solano profile image
orlando solano profile image

orlando solano

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 9 months ago
Contenidos, ayudas didácticas, ejercicios, quizzes,videos y presentaciones por los profesores, conforman una unidad maravillosa para la enseñanza del italiano. Es algo que merece todos los elogios. Estoy súper agradecido por la oportunidad que se me brindó.
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Annie Snijkers profile image
Annie Snijkers profile image

Annie Snijkers

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 9 months ago
I really enjoyed this course as it was very interesting and well presented. I had studied Italian 24 years ago during 9 months but hadn’t had the opportunity to practice afterwards. I was happy then to be able to start from the beginning and to be able to follow the lessons at my own pace. I loved the different presentations of the same unit: the video, the written text with and without translation, and the audio exercises on top of the written ones. The fact that all the audio files were spoken by native Italian speakers was very important to get the correct accent. A wonderful plus was the “quizlet” add-on which is very helpful to learn the vocabulary and the pronunciation of it. Grazie mile alla professoressa Milani!
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Eliane Prates-Svennesen profile image
Eliane Prates-Svennesen profile image

Eliane Prates-Svennesen

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 9 months ago
Grazie mille! Fantastico! This is a great course!!! I really feel this course exactly met my needs and it was beyond my expectations. It was challenging and I learned so much. Much better than the majority of other adult courses. As a visual person I am really happy with the transcriptions. I will keep checking this corse and after the end of my tests at university (March) I will be back to do the intermediate level for sure. Thank you so much!
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Marina Iasillo profile image
Marina Iasillo profile image

Marina Iasillo

10/10 starsTaking Now
3 years, 9 months ago
I loved this course. It has many learning tools. Unluckily I will not be able to finish it before January 25th, but all the same I loved it. Congrats Profesoressa Milani!!!!
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Monique MOURREGOT profile image
Monique MOURREGOT profile image

Monique MOURREGOT

10/10 starsCompleted
3 years, 9 months ago
J'ai adoré suivre ce cours. Pédagogie parfaite. Les étudiantes vraiment adorables!!! J'ai suivi le niveau débutant pour réviser mes bases et ensuite le niveau intermédiaire. Je ne parle pas anglais et j'ai eu un peu de difficultés avec les textes anglais en particulier avec les exercices anglais-italien. Je vais souvent en Italie et mes amis vont pouvoir constater mes progrès.
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GANESH NARAYANAN profile image
GANESH NARAYANAN profile image

GANESH NARAYANAN

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years ago
E fantastico. sono Indiano ,abitante di chennai. Da molto tempo ,cercavo un corso du questo tipo,. Brillante e la parola ,.Ottima e la seconda ,. sono felice che Edx abbia trovato un meccanismo ..
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Kathy Dent profile image
Kathy Dent profile image

Kathy Dent

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years ago
At last! I have tried, off and on, to learn Italian for nearly twenty years, but I could never progress beyond the very basic level of asking for food, buying train tickets and booking hotel rooms because the grammar explanations given in 'teach yourself' type books were never clear enough for me to grasp. This course is what I've been looking for. The teacher gives full and detailed explanations and examples and these have enabled me to understand the logic behind how the grammar works. I am now confidently progressing on to the intermediate level of this course with the feeling that, for the first time, I can really get to grips with Italian to the level of reading newspapers, magazines and novels and even watching Italian TV. As a result of following this beginners course, I am both hopeful and ambitious. The nice thing about the arrangement of the content is that it is presented in a variety of different ways and the student is... At last! I have tried, off and on, to learn Italian for nearly twenty years, but I could never progress beyond the very basic level of asking for food, buying train tickets and booking hotel rooms because the grammar explanations given in 'teach yourself' type books were never clear enough for me to grasp. This course is what I've been looking for. The teacher gives full and detailed explanations and examples and these have enabled me to understand the logic behind how the grammar works. I am now confidently progressing on to the intermediate level of this course with the feeling that, for the first time, I can really get to grips with Italian to the level of reading newspapers, magazines and novels and even watching Italian TV. As a result of following this beginners course, I am both hopeful and ambitious. The nice thing about the arrangement of the content is that it is presented in a variety of different ways and the student is able to choose the presentation that best suits them (textual, audio, video, slide shows with and without commentary). I read someone else's review where they said they found the content too repititious, but I think the idea is that, as you become familiar with the course, you can actually skip some parts and go staight to the presentation method that suits you best. Personally, I really like the slide shows with commentary, where the teacher guides you through the grammar and exercises. I also like the reading exercises and interviews at the end of each section. I'm not so keen on the 'Ciak' videos of the students because I find the sound quality poor and the conversations rather fatuous. But for young people who want to pick up a lot of informal conversational idioms, I'm sure these videos would be helpful.
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Pilar Morales profile image
Pilar Morales profile image

Pilar Morales

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 1 month ago
Excelente curso, mi nivel de italiano se incrementó bastante, ahora puedo comprender mucho y comunicarme de manera básica pero con éxito. Muchas gracias!
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Patricia Frances Sandler profile image
Patricia Frances Sandler profile image

Patricia Frances Sandler

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 2 months ago
I have been studying Italian for about 25 years using various books, tapes and other educational material that I had found through Italian cultural groups and through the Internet. When I received the link to this course from an Italian acquaintance of mine, I was a little hesitant to start as I have not taken any tests or attended a formal course for years. However, I must say that this was fantastic. I completed the advanced course with a verified certificate and pieni voti, and now, I am using the audit function to review the intermediate course. Even though I am a commensurate self-directed student, the tips that Prof. Bartolesi-Graf gave were extremely helpful. Also, interacting with other students by posting on their discussion threads was really great. Sometimes, you can feel a little lonely studying "da sola." I have recommended the course to other friends in my various Italian groups. I would like to see a course lik... I have been studying Italian for about 25 years using various books, tapes and other educational material that I had found through Italian cultural groups and through the Internet. When I received the link to this course from an Italian acquaintance of mine, I was a little hesitant to start as I have not taken any tests or attended a formal course for years. However, I must say that this was fantastic. I completed the advanced course with a verified certificate and pieni voti, and now, I am using the audit function to review the intermediate course. Even though I am a commensurate self-directed student, the tips that Prof. Bartolesi-Graf gave were extremely helpful. Also, interacting with other students by posting on their discussion threads was really great. Sometimes, you can feel a little lonely studying "da sola." I have recommended the course to other friends in my various Italian groups. I would like to see a course like this for people who are planning to work in Italy. This would be very enjoyable to follow, and there would be a lot of important vocabulary words.
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Student profile image

Student

4/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 2 months ago
I wasn't really satisfied with the course. I took it just to see what my level of Italian was (I wish there was a test before the first lesson in order to check that, not to have to take the whole course!). But I found that many lessons were repeating over and over again, so I lost interest pretty quickly. Too much things crammed in a lesson, too much things on the course pages, too much clicking all the time. I also didn't like the main stories of each lesson, I found the girls annoying and irritating. The professor is a nice lady, she really tries and is very patient, so I have nothing bad to say about her. It's the course I didn't like. It's like an old-school course from the 1980s. Sorry.
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Deborah Perrotta profile image
Deborah Perrotta profile image

Deborah Perrotta

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 5 months ago
Excellent course, lots of material both written and audio. The situational videos are great, and the explanatory ones are also very useful. Advancing now to the Intermediate level.
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Jörg Kowalski profile image
Jörg Kowalski profile image

Jörg Kowalski

10/10 starsCompleted
4 years, 6 months ago
Congratulations! This has indeed been the best course to learn a foreign language I've ever done. Simply the best course I know. I'm stoked. From a knowledge zero to really a good basis of the Italian language I especially enjoyed the videos spoken in original speed (listened to them several times) as well as I watched the following clips and presentations with really good explanations of grammatical problems, just what you really must get aware of, with very utile examples. The vocal explanations in the exercise clips are great, I like the ones spoken in Italian. Many times I listened to them. Very good and rather sophisticated as well are all exercises. Learning each part I felt how deep the developers of this course had immersed themselves into the students’ thoughts, questions and problems while those are being studying all stuff. Self-paced I spent about 5 weeks for this part 1 doing all tests and exercises. Dopo di questo corso... Congratulations! This has indeed been the best course to learn a foreign language I've ever done. Simply the best course I know. I'm stoked. From a knowledge zero to really a good basis of the Italian language I especially enjoyed the videos spoken in original speed (listened to them several times) as well as I watched the following clips and presentations with really good explanations of grammatical problems, just what you really must get aware of, with very utile examples. The vocal explanations in the exercise clips are great, I like the ones spoken in Italian. Many times I listened to them. Very good and rather sophisticated as well are all exercises. Learning each part I felt how deep the developers of this course had immersed themselves into the students’ thoughts, questions and problems while those are being studying all stuff. Self-paced I spent about 5 weeks for this part 1 doing all tests and exercises. Dopo di questo corso posso già leggere molti testi che sono scritti nei giornali o capire molte notizie (euronews etc.) scritte in italiano - incredibile! Sí, non capisco ancora tutto dei testi, lo dipende dal contenuto, dai 60 ai quasi 100 %. L'anno scorso sono stato in Italia, in Umbria, e non sapevo parlare con gli italiani; solo conoscevo poche parole e non avevo nessuna idea della grammatica italiana. Adesso invece di fatto so già parlare un po' e anche scrivere dei testi corti in italiano. Mille grazie per questo corso esemplare! Vado a continuare con i corsi seguenti. I will recommend this course to all who want to learn Italian! Tanti saluti dalla Germania a tutto lo staff, particolarmente alla signora Daniela Bartalesi-Graf
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Cyriel van Velzen profile image
Cyriel van Velzen profile image

Cyriel van Velzen

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 6 months ago
Firstly, I simply want to thank you for offering this course for free. I have wanted to learn some Italian for a longer time and when I found this course here on edX I was delighted. I think the balance between the four 'basic skills' is very good and the information and content are very elaborate and clear. I hope my basic knowledge of the beautiful Italian language will come in handy when I am in Italy. I will definitely finish this course soon and afterwards follow the Intermediate level course .
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Judy Dienstag profile image
Judy Dienstag profile image

Judy Dienstag

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 7 months ago
I love this course! I have learned so much about the structure of Italian (I had previously studied French and Russian)
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Student

10/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 9 months ago
Very useful, and comprehensive beginner's class. I like the little video scenes to help you practice. Does indeed feel like a college introductory course, not a breeze at all!
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Patricio Acosta profile image
Patricio Acosta profile image

Patricio Acosta

8/10 starsTaking Now
4 years, 9 months ago
Ciao. This is a good course. It's really clear and understandable with funny activities. I hope to learn a lot of things of this language.
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