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Il Mio Treo Parla Italiano

In a couple of weeks I’ll be spending a long weekend with friends in Italy and the planning of this little trip has proven to be the perfect opportunity to get started with something that I’ve been meaning to do for years.  Namely, improve my basic knowledge of the Italian language.

My first thought was that an audiobook would prove to be an ideal first step and so I headed over to Audible, browsed and listened to a few sample selections and eventually settled on a beginners title called “Rapid Italian” which is presented as fun audio learning by using specially composed melodies with rhythmic repetitions of Italian and English – it’s a bit like a DJ mixing tunes to teach you a language which I can listen to with my retractable headsets while on the go.


The audiobook also included a free PDF booklet which I first tried to view on my Treo using the latest Documents ToGo 9.0 but I eventually copy/pasted the PDF contents and instead created a list in ListPro that I could more effectively use to test my increasing language skills.

The next logical step for me was to get a good English-Italian dictionary and after some research and evaluations I settled on the excellent BEIKS Italian/English/Italian Dictionary (which includes over 30,000 translations) combined with the equally useful BEIKS Talking English-Italian Dictionary Phrasebook (which includes 256 essential phrases organized in 14 categories and the actual sound pronounciation of each phrase).


Finally, I also added a bookmark in Blazer to Altavista’s terrific Babelfish online translation service which allows me to very quickly translate any phrases (even entire website URL’s) into any one of 11 languages including Chinese, Greek, Russian and Spanish.


Needless to say I have found it extremely practical to now have all of these Italian tools installed on my Treo and readily accessible at the press of a button anywhere I go.  However, I also have to admit that I am somewhat disappointed that no developer has yet released a more interactive all-in-one Treo language learning application that could make use of the Treo’s audio, video, photos and text capabilities – hopefully this will come at some point…

In the meantime, augurando a tutto il Treonauts un divertimento e distendendosi fine settimana lungo!

Treonauts are always looking to learn something new

Posted by Andrew on February 16, 2007 at 08:51 AM

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by ekauq | Feb 16, 2007 9:16:23 AM

ah babel.altavista.com is so much fun to play with :)

using that to translate the italian back to english gives you this :)

"auguring to all the Treonauts a divertimento and stretching fine long week!"

by Corey Gomel | Feb 16, 2007 9:49:36 AM

more of a question, I saw the story on the new GPS for the treo and my question is Why would the Treo need a tom tom device? I thought there was enough information with all the cell towers that the phone would know where it was without that device? Like all we would need is a mapping program. I guess the treo 850 will have the GPS built in. Also, I'm thinking about buying the 750, can it (or is there a program I can buy) that would allow me to see who has left voice mail messages and allow me to listen to the ones I want in any order - like the iPhone?


by Guido | Feb 16, 2007 10:37:33 AM

Enjoy Italy! It's a wonderful country.

And I'll save you some time. Here's the only phrase you'll need while you're there: "Un espresso stretissimo per favore."

by Paolo | Feb 16, 2007 1:26:21 PM

The last sentence should be: "Augurando a tutti i Treonauts del mondo buon divertimento e un lungo e rilassante fine settimana!".

by Andrew | Feb 16, 2007 2:59:57 PM

Paolo - thanks... That just goes to show that I still have a way to go to perfect my Italian ;-) It's probably too many espresso stretissimi...

Cheers, A.

by James | Feb 17, 2007 12:10:10 AM

The screenshot of the Audible.com player looks nothing like what it is on my 650. Looks like much more Treo-friendly with five-way navigation. Maybe I need to upgrade my player.

by Cripple | Feb 18, 2007 5:28:20 PM

Highly recommend PalmPDF http://software.treonauts.com/product.asp?id=5714 instead of DTG for reading PDFs.

by Joe Mefford | Feb 20, 2007 7:47:19 AM

There's a great series for the Palm called Before You Know It that will teach you the first 500 or so words in Italian (and many other languages). Basically, they are electronic flash cards but done in an entertaining way. I'm not sure the website but I'm sure Google does.

by Howard | Feb 21, 2007 11:05:58 PM

Andrew - I'd highly recommend the podcast series / site http://www.learnitalianpod.com/ The podcast series if 'free' and consists of 10 - 12 minute 'episodes' I listened to Lessons 1 - 10 before a trip to Italy last April and was reasonably fluent on arrival. I'm planning another trip in May of this year and I'm planning to continue learning this way. I download the podcasts and listen to them with my headset(s) and Pocket-Tunes Deluxe.

by Andrew | Feb 22, 2007 7:41:19 AM

Howard - thank you very much for the tip! Those podcasts look absolutely great and I'm starting to download them now.

Cheers, A.

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