Berlitz Italian Vocabulary Study Cards
September 19, 2013
Publisher Berlitz Publishing
Publication Date 2011
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
These Italian vocabulary study cards from Berlitz were a pleasant surprise. I liked the choice of words included; they are of general interest, varied, not too specialized.
Buy them and you will learn things like “lip” (il labbro), “ugly” (brutto/a), “plastic” (la plastica), “elephant” (l’elefante), “cucumber” (il cetriolo), “carpenter” (il falegname), and my personal favorite, “toilet paper” (la carta igienica).
The content on each card is minimal, as is appropriate for flashcards. You are not given the plurals for nouns—only the singular form, accompanied by the definite article—with one exception I noticed, where there were separate cards for “pill” (la pillola), and “pills” (le pillole).
Odd. But I suppose we do live in a pharmaceutical age.
The design is cheerful (blue on the English side, white on the Italian side), the cards are a reasonable size, and they come in a sturdy box for storage. They are in fact very similar to the Italian flashcards from SparkNotes that I really liked but that are now out of print.
One gripe for me about these flashcards, though, is that the English and Italian content on each card is oriented in the same direction. I believe it to be an inviolable principle of flashcard design that you must flip the word orientation on the back; if the English on the front points north, the Italian on the back must point south. The flipping ergonomics are just better that way.
If you’re under 25, you probably won’t care, but I am not, and just before writing this review, I went through all 1,000 cards in the box. Now my right forearm hurts from the repetitive sideways twisting motion.
Still, Berlitz got the content and general design right, and it’s a cute box of language to have on your shelf. The company offers flashcards in this same series for French, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese, which I will try to review for this site shortly.