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Carla Larese Riga and Chiara Maria Dal Martello. Ciao.

Carla Larese Riga and Chiara Maria Dal Martello. Ciao. Sixth Ed. Boston: Thomson-Heinle, 2007.

Thomson and Heinle presents its sixth edition of Ciao, a functional Italian grammar for beginners, well suited for college and university courses. Ciao is designed to stimulate the student's four language skills: listening, reading, writing and comprehension.

Each chapter opens with a section entitled Punti di vista, which is made up of an extensive dialogue containing the grammatical structures and lexical themes of that specific chapter. Every dialogue is accompanied by questions that will test the student's comprehension abilities. The student's reading and comprehension abilities are also tested at the end of each chapter in a section entitled Per finire, where chapter structures are reviewed before moving on to the next. This section is not just followed by comprehension questions but also by conversation questions, that allow students to express their own opinions and share their experiences with the entire class.

The grammar is introduced in a very clear and well organized manner in the Punti grammaticali section of each chapter. In the 6th edition some of the grammatical topics have been re-arranged and re-grouped to make the learning process more logical. Some grammar explanations are also accompanied with various drawings, to be able to appeal to the different types of learners (ex: visual, audio, etc.). Following each grammatical point are a series of exercises that allow the student to practice the new grammatical structures.

What makes this textbook very unique is its highly cultural content. Every chapter, in fact, has a contemporary cultural theme. For example chapter one deals with the theme of the city, chapter two with people and personality, etc. This textbook thus will allow the student to become familiar with not only the Italian language, but also with many aspects of Italian culture like the Italian people and way of life. The cultural element is present throughout the entire chapter, but more specifically in a section titled Vedute d'Italia, which includes various cultural readings. In the sixth edition these sections have been revised and updated to keep in touch with the current Italian trends. Some of the themes present in these sections are Italian cuisine, social changes going on in the country, experiences in the workplace, and many more. One very interesting activity that follows these readings is the Culture a confronto, where students are asked questions that engage them in comparison between their own North-American culture and the Italian culture.

One other cultural element is the presence of the Intermezzo musicale section in every other chapter. Each section introduces an Italian singer and is accompanied by an audio CD with a song by that singer. The songs that have been chosen range from the 1940s to today, giving the students a comprehensive taste of Italian music from jazz to popular music.

Aside from the musical CD, the sixth edition of Ciao is also accompanied by an audio CD in which native speakers of Italian read out the dialogues that belong to the Punti di vista section, and by a DVD that shows Italians involved in the everyday situations discussed in each chapter. Ciao is also accompanied by a new and revised workbook and lab manual with extra grammar, vocabulary and cultural exercises to expand on, and by a lab audio CD.

Extra activities can also be found on the book's website at the following address:


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Author:Sansalone, Christine
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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