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Modern Italian Grammar: A Practical Guide (2005)

Modern Italian Grammar: A Practical Guide

Author(s): Francesco Cardo, Anna Proudfoot

Series: Modern Grammars

Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2005

ISBN: 9780203423752,9780415098496,9780415098502,0203423755,0415098491,0415098505

I thoroughly agree with “A reader” right below — and this seems to pertain to the overall series (first I got me the French Practical Guide for a French refresher and didn’t like it for the same reasons as the “A reviewer” says he didn’t like the Italian one). The whole series is aiming at the beginner: be very clear on that.

However, unlike in the case of French, I’m only learning Italian, and, after having used this book for a couple of months can say that it’s been exceptionally useful. The book isn’t pedantic; every given rule is immediatly supported by a pile of examples; and, what I especially appreciate, the ambiguitiy of the language (inherent in _any_ human language, by the way) is made clear — a correct rule is given and then a note: but they also say it different on TV and in papers; here’s how it goes — this sort of thing.

I can hardly believe it myself, but after a couple of months of having this book (and I can study only in my spare time) I can read Italian text. I mean, my vocabulary is inadequate of course, but I have zero difficulty with the structure. My French helps I suppose, but still it’s exhilarating to gain a capacity to understand foreign text in such a short time.

That said, again: do not buy it if you already know Italian but need a refresher — this book is NOT structured as reference; _finding_ things in it is hard. These books, the whole series, are written to be read from cover to cover, maybe several times — and then that’s it: you will not return to them over and over again; long term you’ll need some concise, dry, table-happy and deeply indexed grammar reference (for the French, I got me le Petit Grevisse; I’m sure there’s something analogous in Italian, but I’m not ready for it yet).

Bottom line: you’ll love this book if you’re an absolute beginner; buy with confidence. Otherwise you won’t so get something else.