Here is a selection of testimonials from users of Fra Amici Italian Courses. These comprise comments from a range of people, from complete beginners in the Italian language to those with rusty Italian through to teachers of Italian.
Delighted with all I have learnt in such a short time! Nice & informal, fantastic materials & loved the variety - audio, printed, classes. Grazie!
~ Judith S
Excellent, so many resources, so much to learn. So enjoyable
~ Keryn Z
Fra Amici Beginners is a great start to learning a language, whether for students or travellers. I learned just what I needed for my trip and before we left I was able to send a few emails in basic Italian to book accommodation. the ability to communicate made a huge difference to our enjoyment of the entire Sicilian experience
~ Yvonne M
Once in Sicily my husband was impressed with my willingness to take the lead. Where normally I would hang back and let him do the talking, I was approaching railway ticket offices with confidence to purchase tickets and ordering our food and drinks in bars and restaurants.
I had always had a hankering to learn Italian. I had visited Italy a few times over the years for holidays and loved the country. In late 2009, my husband and I made plans to visit Sicily in September of the following year and I decided to enrol in an Italian course. Why did I choose Fra Amici? Juliana’s ad in the local paper… caught my eye.
I enrolled and purchased the downloadable online course. I downloaded the audio files on to my Zen (like an I Pod) and on to my digital radio. Listening to the dialogues (on CD1 ) while I did the ironing became a regular habit. The dialogues themselves are lively and entertaining. A variety of native speakers helped me to get used to the regional and individual differences encountered in Italy. Being able to follow the written words while listening to the dialogue gave me confidence and trained my ear. As well as the recorded dialogues, Fra Amici Beginners includes the supporting CDs 2 and 3 which encourage listeners to practice speaking.
The course emphasises conversation skills, with just the right amount of grammar introduced at various strategic points to aid understanding but not overwhelm. References in the Communication coursebook guide you to relevant sections of the Grammar. The Grammar Guide is logically and clearly arranged with extensive use of colour-coding to underscore patterns of word endings etc.
Fra Amici Beginners includes more than an introduction to the Italian language. The cultural and travel information is invaluable.
I would recommend Fra Amici 2 to any adult learner who is serious about learning Italian but who wants to have serious fun along the way
~ Yvonne M.
The decision to sign up for Fra Amici 2 was a relatively easy one for me. I had already completed the Fra Amici Beginners Italian Course for Students and Travellers and knew what to expect. What I learned from the first course was sufficient to have me communicating in basic travellers’ Italian during a trip to Sicily in 2010. But now I wanted more. Now I wanted to really learn to speak Italian. I knew that Fra Amici 2 would give me more of what I wanted from a language course and I was not disappointed. These are some of my favourite features:
Its comprehensive coverage. Almost everything you’d ever want to know in Italian is covered. A substantial Vocabulary Guide arranged into themes, includes topics as diverse as The Environment and Climate Change and the vocab of email and chat rooms.
The sheer volume of content is daunting but the materials are well organised. Consistent numbering systems and use of colour text and layout helps to guide you to the sections you want.
I love the scenes from real life in the Communication Modules. With audio recordings using a variety of native speakers, the interactions between people are contemporary and relevant. You can see yourself going shopping, hiring a car or visiting a doctor. Fra Amici 2 is not a dry course. There is humour in the written scenes from life and in the witty and charming cartoon illustrations. Characters are well drawn and we come to know their aspirations and idiosyncrasies. Who doesn’t want to know more about Il Signor James Vitale, the Australian businessman still searching for his donna ideale? or the lives of Luigi Parini, his wife, Anna and bambino, Pierino? Will the young honeymooners’ marriage last? And is that crazy taxi driver still ranting at everyone on the street?
The fictional scenarios are fun but what really sets Fra Amici 2 apart, and is perhaps my favourite feature, is the inclusion of audio and transcribed interviews conducted by Juliana with authentic native speakers of Italian, both in Italy and here in Australia. The interviews cover a variety of topics of interest, including food, sport, differences between Australia and Italy, family, work, fashion and the lives of young Italians. Speakers give their opinions on issues such as whether fashion has a negative or positive impact on young women and the importance of the “Made in Italy” label. The comprehension exercises and other suggested activities based on the interviews hold genuine interest and instil confidence that one is building relevant language skills and vocabulary.
Cultural, travel and tourism “extras” really enhance Fra Amici 2. Most of us want to go to Italy and Juliana’s thoughtful inclusion of photos, maps and authentic (up to date) documents really appeals. How reassuring to be able to study a ticket or timetable for the train from Genova to La Spezia and know that when we get to Italy we will be able to understand it. When you’re feeling tired and lazy, you can always look at the pictures and dream of future travels.
Grammar is explained simply and clearly with lots of examples given to demonstrate the rule or pattern. Juliana uses colour-coding to highlight the patterns on the page, e.g. red for feminine, blue for masculine and green for masculine/feminine; and signature colours for 1st, 2ndand 3rd persons. The introduction of memory aids is very helpful; for example, using the letter Q to illustrate uses of the Perfect and Imperfect Tenses (as on page 2 of Guida Alla Grammatica G13-2). That Q always come to mind now.
Flexibility. Sometimes as adults with busy lives we get sidetracked and the luxury of spending time learning a language eludes us. This course can cope with that. It allows you to go at your own pace and, if you have to drop it for a while, to pick up where you left off, or revisit earlier sections until confidence returns. I missed the first three weeks of the course and on my return knew exactly what I had missed and where to find it.
Though ideal for the independent learner, Fra Amici 2 also caters really well for teachers to use with classes of Years 11 and 12. Juliana has made sure contents are relevant and appealing to teenagers, for example by including topics such as study, fashion and dating. In my Fra Amici 2 class, ages range from 15/16 years of age to our oldest classmate who is 82.
Fra Amici 2 is packed with worksheets and activities. I like being able to really practice a point of learning and to test myself. Worksheets are thoughtfully provided in WORD so you don’t have to print them out to complete them unless you want to.
Value for money. Fra Amici 2 is not a cheap product but it is great value for money. Juliana has made it a labour of love and we benefit – no commercial publisher would produce materials of this quality at these prices.
Juliana Pupazzoni Burman has invested a huge amount of time and effort in designing a course using a functional/situational approach to language learning which particularly equips travellers to Italy with the vital language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing needed when travelling
~ Eleanor K.
The Fra Amici Intermediate/Advanced Course was a most enjoyable and valuable learning experience for me.
Included with materials provided in the course is a very useful travel language conversation guide called the ‘Quick Access Phrasebook’ which provides key sentence structures and important vocabulary in a variety of everyday situations. A unique feature of this phrasebook is the colour coding used for quick access both to the topics and their relevant language as well as a pronunciation guide. Although the colour coding is valuable in both the areas mentioned, it is particularly valuable in the section on pronunciation to help students recall the correct use of the often confusing pronunciation of Italian consonants according to the vowel which follows.
In addition to language learning for travellers, the section of the course material providing extensive grammatical content with accompanying exercises makes it an excellent way to learn the Italian language no matter what a student’s motivation may be.
A further positive aspect of this course was its delivery in very relaxed circumstances in the teacher’s own home with a half-time break for coffee and delicious Italian cakes, giving the students a wonderful conversational opportunity to practise what they had learnt.
This book is a fun way to learn Italian which is practical and I can't wait to finish working my way through it and begin with the next course. I feel very confident of making myself understood without resorting to hand signals when we next return to Italy and I will have "Fra Amici" to thank for that
~ Meg D.
I began using "Fra Amici-A First Course in Italian" as an auxiliary resource to a text book I am using for an Italian course. That text book is all in Italian, making the exercises and the understanding of the grammatical points extremely difficult, especially at the beginning of the course. Thank heavens for "Fra Amici".
This book, plus the CD's and the small, traveller friendly "Survival Italian for Travellers" is, as it says-a comprehensive communication course for beginners. From the Introduction to the Language Study Units, this book is easy to follow and packed full of appropriate information. Simple written conversations, vocabulary lists, written and oral activities and conversation guides are interspersed with recipes, games and cultural notes. At the end of each chapter there is a self assessment list to help monitor your progress.
I have found the written activities extremely helpful in reinforcing the topics presented and the CDs have helped me with pronunciation. The activities on the CDs force you to think quickly by putting you 'on the spot', just like you would be in Italy in shops, at tourist attractions and using public transport. I found this challenging but very, very helpful.
The setting out of the chapters makes it easy to study in 'bites'. I take my "Fra Amici" with me on the train to work and also use it while riding my exercise bike. It is amazing how quickly the time on the bike flashes by with the CD on and the book open.
The grammar sections at the back of the book are logically and simply set out. Again, written exercises reinforce the grammatical points being made. The chapters on verbs have been particularly helpful. The lists are clear and extensive and the explanations for usage are easily understood.
Fra Amici has left me armed to experience Italy and its culture to the fullest
~ Simone F