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If you want to travel to or live for a while in Italy, you need to learn how to speak and understand Italian as spoken on the street. Reading Dante like they do at the University is not what you want.
I started in Italy as the assistant to the director of an American university campus in Rome. Since then, I have returned a number of times to Italy for both business and personal trips. I am in the top 5 contributors for nearly 80 locations across Italy in answering travel questions in a well-known travel website.
Oh, want to study Latin instead? Latin is all over Italy, and I've studied not only "Church" Latin but also the abbreviations that make it possible to read inscriptions on walls and sarcophagi.
I know how to travel on my own in Italy, and I can help you do it, too. And having lived in Italy, I can help you learn what you need to know to spend more than just a 3 day trip there.
Learn with me what you need to know in terms of speaking and understanding Italian! Yes, there's grammar and vocabulary, but only in the service of learning how to communicate, not to get a good grade. No one on the streets of Rome or Florence or Venice will be grading your grammar - they will only care if they can understand you - I'll show you how.
P.S., if you have already studied another Romance language - you're in luck. I can show you how to jumpstart your Italian through your previous knowledge of Spanish or French or Portuguese or Latin or whatever!
First, I lived in Rome and worked for the University of Dallas on their Rome campus. Speaking Italian was a requirement. Second, I have traveled repeatedly to Italy for business and personal reasons. Third, I have taken several semesters of university level Italian - enough to see that academic Italian is not what the traveler to Italy needs. Fourth, I frequently research information at Italian language websites while answering travel-related questions at www.virtualtourist.com, where I am one of the highest rated contributors to the forums. Fifth, on occasion, I answer questions in Italian, if the original question was in Italian rather than English.
In short, I lived there, I had a job that required speaking Italian, I have university level courses, and I keep up with it on a weekly basis reading Italian content on the Web and answers questions about Italy.
My background is in "Vulgar" or "Church" Latin. I have had 3 years of Latin formal study, followed by a special study course in Rome on funerary inscriptions. At a young age, I had memorized the server portion of the Tridentine Mass in Latin, and still prefer Latin over English. I have lived in Rome where Latin still appears on walls and monuments, and find that my Italian reinforces my Latin, since it is quite possible to interchange words in the two languages. In addition, because of my background in other Indo-European languages, I can explain why Latin is the way it is to the modern English speaker.
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