Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Latest Book Acquisitions in Italy

I was on a mission! I went to la Feltrinelli in Bari, Italy, with a few types of books in mind that I wish to buy such as dictionaries and language references. My mission was successful and I came home with some goodies. I've also included in this post some excerpts from the books and they are indicated in blue.

Here's my latest collection. Total damage: €33.70


BOOK 1: Corrispondenza commercial d’affari e di lavoro in inglese
(a cura di Clive)
What I liked about this book is that there is a side-by-side comparison and samples of English and Italian business letters in various situations. For the Italians, the business writing style is very different from casual settings, so I definitely need this book for review and study. For example,

In English (Job Interview Invitation): Dear Mr. Stephens, I acknowledge receipt of your letter and references of (date) concerning the vacant position of Manager in my shop. I should be pleased to discuss the matter personally with you, so please call my secretary, Mrs. Higgins, to fix an appointment. Yours sincerely,

In Italian (Invito al candidato a presentarsi per il colloquio): Egregio signor Stephens, Le confermo di aver ricevuto la Sua lettera del (data), con la lettera di referenze allegata, relativa alla posizione di Direttore del mio negozio. Sarò lieto di parlare direttamente con Lei a per questo Le chiedo di chiamare la mia segretaria, la signora Higgins, per fissare un appuntamento. Cordiali saluti

BOOK 2: Il tuo inglese senza errori (a cura di Adrian Wallwork)
What I liked about this book is that it groups similar words together—in alphabetical order—and explains them in Italian for learners of English. So, this book, in fact, is for Italians who wish to learn English. This enables me to reverse-counter-check my understanding and spot common errors and doubts in using the correct phrase or words for every situation. The only prerequisite in using this book is that you must already have a good comprehension of the Italian language. For example,

Original sample explanation in Italian: ANCHE PERCHÉ, ANCHE SE (p.8). L’inglese non ha un equivalente unico di anche perché. Questa espressione va resa in modi diversi a seconda del caso: se introduce il motivo principale per fare o non fare qualcosa ci vuole especially because, particularly because o qualcosa di simile. Se invece è solo uno dei motivi, si può ricorre a in any case, another reason is that, for one thing, partly because. Also because si dice di solito solo dopo and e but.

My translation into English: There is no single equivalent of anche perchè. This expression must be made in different ways, depending on the case: if introducing a principle motive to do or not to do something especially because, particularly because or something similar is needed. If it is used instead to express only one of the motives, one may use in any case, another reason is that, for one thing, partly because. Also because is used only after and and but.

Original sample sentence in Italian: Dovresti studiare su questo libro per poter superare l’esame ma anche perché credo che lo troveresti molto interessante. (In English: You need to study this book to pass the exam but also because I think you’d find it really interesting.)

Other examples of words include ANCORA, APPENA, GIÀ; ANDARE, TORNARE, USCIRE; FRA, TRA; LASCIARE, PARTIRE; METÀ, MEZZO; SOLO, UNICO; etc. It would be very good to know the differences and use the correct words in the right setting or situation. I find this book very useful!

NOTE: Another similar book that I bought while in Milan was Phrasal verbs compatto inglese italiano (di Laura Montixi Comoglio). This book tackles the differences and precise meaning of exactly what the title of the book is stating—phrasal verbs. For example, what is the difference between go out, get out, and get off? It is also a book for Italian learners of English, so you will require a good level of Italian to read this book as explanation is done in the language.

BOOK 3: The Rizzoli Larousse Mini Dictionary—Français-Italien, Italiano-Francese
This French-Italian dictionary is good for my attempt to easily compare words in the foreign language which I’m already familiar with i.e. Italian with the new one I’m currently learning i.e. French. It’s also easy to carry around due to its small size and lightness.

BOOK 4: The Rizzoli Larousse Mini Dictionary—Español-Italiano, Italiano-Spagnolo
In addition to sharing the same learning spirit as described in Book 3, I would also like to point out a feature I particularly liked in the Italian-Spanish section which is of GREAT help in my continuous learning of the Italian language. In the Italian-Spagnolo section, the Italian words are marked with a dot beneath a syllable each of word to show where to correctly accentuate or prolong the pronunciation.

My book acquisition is a little unconventional in the sense that 1) it involves getting books that Italian learners are using to learn English; and 2) mixing two foreign languages together but of which one I have more or less already mastered. I will not be as crazy as last year in Rome where I lugged home almost a full luggage of books when I returned to Malaysia. But still, it's too early to tell...

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