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Italian Language and Culture: Beginner (2023-2024)
About this courseSkip About this course
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.
After completing this course, continue learning Italian with Italian Language and Culture: Intermediate and Italian Language and Culture: Advanced.
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- How to communicate in a variety of social situations, such as introducing yourself, talking about daily activities, describing what you do for work, writing and reading simple texts, such as an e-mail, giving and getting directions, asking about the weather and telling time.
- Basic grammatical structures such as articles and nouns, adjectives, present and past tenses of regular and irregular verbs.
- Italian culture, including daily life, film, cuisine, universities and vacationing.
Benvenute e Benvenuti!
Italian Language and Culture: Beginner is an introductory course that teaches the four basic skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in the context of major themes in Italian culture.
The course will stay open from February 12, 2023 until June 30, 2024 , as a self-paced course: this means that you can cover the material at your own speed within the time the course is open.
Although we estimate that, studying 3-4 hours per week, it will take you about 8 weeks to complete the course, you are under no obligation to finish within this time.
You may decide to study towards a Verified Certificate of Completion ($49), or to learn for your personal enrichment and pleasure.
To receive a Verified Certificate of Completion you must obtain a final score of 60% on Tests. You may drop 2 Tests.
The course consists of four Units.
Each Unit is broken down in 6-7 lessons (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.)
Each lesson presents its content in multiple ways. These can be viewed and studied in any order you prefer.
Below is a quick overview of the various components of each unit.
Ciak! videos : original videos shot on our campus with native and near native speakers of Italian. Each Ciak! video is followed by two downloadable Podcasts. These will be ideal for your on-the-go practice.
Grammar charts : grammar explanations, examples, and charts are available for review with audio files of each example and verb conjugation within the course, and can be downloaded in PDF file format.
Slide Shows with animation : grammar explanations with images and animation.
Videos (Slide Shows with Narration) : narrated grammar explanations.
Esercizi : online exercises with immediate feedback.
Vocaboli nuovi : new vocabulary lists are available as PDF files, slide show presentations, and videos with narration.
Discussione : creative writing prompts.
Lettura : readings delivered as PDF files, slide show presentations, and videos with narration.
Intervista : interview with a native speaker on a variety of cultural subjects.
Learner testimonialsSkip Learner testimonials
"Brilliantly structured, extremely engaging and very motivating course."
"It is like having a language lab right in my house."
"I'm learning Italian so easily and fast, with so much fun."
“Thank you for the fantastic course. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the richness and depth of the material and the opportunity to learn”
"I am constantly impressed by the freshness and challenge of the materials."
"I take language classes in school too and I can honestly say that this course far exceeds them."
"This is the first time I've been successful in learning a language. Thank you!"
About the instructors
Frequently Asked QuestionsSkip Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I enroll in more than one Italian course on edX? For example, can I enroll in the beginner and intermediate courses at the same time?
Yes, you may enroll in all three courses (beginner, intermediate, advanced) if you wish, and work towards a Verified Certificate of Completion for all or any of the three courses.
2. How can I determine the appropriate level (beginner, intermediate or advanced) to enroll in?
If you have never taken Italian, or if your knowledge of Italian is extremely limited - less than one semester in college or high school - you should enroll in Beginner.
Generally speaking, if you have completed one or two years of Italian in high school, or one or two semesters at the university level, you should be ready for the Intermediate course.
If you have completed two or three years at the high school level or three/four semesters at the university level you should be ready for the Advanced course.
If you are not sure, we recommend that you enroll in the Beginner or Intermediate level first, explore the content of that course, and decide whether you feel you are sufficiently familiar with that level to enroll in the higher level.
You may also decide to enroll in all three levels at the start, and proceed through each level at the same time if you wish to review material in depth.
3. Can I start at any level or must the three courses (beginner, intermediate, advanced) be taken consecutively?
You may start at any level. When you are finished with one level, you may or may not decide to enroll in the next level.
4. Can I enroll in the intermediate level without completing the beginner level, or in the advanced level without completing the intermediate level?
Yes, you may enroll and complete the courses in any order you wish.
5. Upon completion of the course, will I receive a Verified Certificate of completion?
You will receive a Verified Certificate of Completion provided you meet the course requirements (see syllabus by clicking the Syllabus tab at the top of the course page). You may decide to work towards a Verified Certificate of Completion at any point during the course by clicking "Upgrade to Verified" on your dashboard. The cost of the certificate is $49.
6. Can I receive a Verified Certificate of Completion after the course is archived?
No, enrollees are eligible to receive a Verified Certificate of Completion only during the period that the course is live on the edX platform (February 11th, 2019 - December 31st, 2020).