Easy Immersion Italian Lab Software
I bought the Lab version of the Easy Immersion Italian language software, there's a Pro version ($10 cheaper) that lacks the audio CD and the quick reference book. For the sake of an extra $10 (£5 for those from the UK like me) I'd suggest going for the Lab version since the audio CD is well worth the extra charge.
Italian Language Course Contents
MLS Easy Immersion Italian Pro Software CD
MLS Easy Immersion Italian Pro Audio CD
MLS Easy Immersion Italian Pro Story/Quick Reference book
From MLS website got a list of the courses features:
10 Levels of Italian vocabulary
Italian Voice Recognition Software
16 Levels of Italian grammar
Talking Italian Dictionary
3 Learning modes to choose from
Auto Learn with progress tracking
Over 60 hours of Italian language instruction
the Italian course has localizations for the following native speakers:
Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese and Welsh speakers
Why I want to Speak Italian
I travel to Italy once every few years to vacation with Italian relatives and have always wanted to be able to communicate with them in fluent Italian. Before buying the Italian language course I could speak basic Italian phrases, but a real conversation with a native Italian speaker wasn't really possible: I could get by for a 2 week vacation to Italy, but that was about it.
My next Italian vacation will be Christmas 2008 (3 weeks this time) and really want to surprise my Italian relatives with what I've learnt (and will learn). I've had the course almost 3 months and have put a reasonable amount of my time into studying the course materials (around 3 hours a week).
I've progressed significantly with my ability to both understand the Italian language (written and spoken) and speak Italian more fluently! I had to purchase something for work from an Italian company last week and I was able to hold a conversation with a native speaking Italian lady: she mentioned my accent was quite good as well which was great feedback :)
The part of the course I've found most helpful is the voice recognition software with the built in pronunciation module. Basically you say something in Italian, the software records it and compares it to what it should sound like (something about comparing waveforms, no idea what that is, but it works). By using this feature you can quite quickly improve your Italian accent since your given a visual representation of what you sound like and what a real native Italian sounds like and through practice you can adapt your accent to closely match a native Italian speaker.
You can purchase the course for ~$60 at buy Lab version of Easy Immersion Italian or for $10 less the buy Pro version of Easy Immersion Italian: remember you don't get the audio CD and reference book and I think these are worth the $10 extra.