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Learn Italian with your pet!

With travelling abroad becoming a possibility again, the author of an unusual new handy pocket-sized phrasebook is hoping to use humour to inspire people to learn some simple Italian phrases. Unlike many traditional phrasebooks, Teach Your Dog Italian (Y Lolfa) shows that learning useful expressions doesn’t have to be boring or daunting, and makes picking up a few basics accessible to everyone.

Every phrase is shown in both Italian and English as well as help with the Italian pronunciation. There are over 60 expressions to practise, from phrases such as ‘Vieni qui’ (‘Come here’) and ‘Vuoi giocare?’(‘Do you want to play?’) to general phrases such as ‘Come va?’ (‘How’s it going?’). The phrases are accompanied by appealing 1950s-style retro illustrations, including fun illustrations of some well-known places in Italy, such as the Cathedral in Milan and the Tower of Pisa. 

“I studied languages at school, but found it difficult to pick them up as I hadn’t been to the country, and didn’t get the chance to practise. I’d love to go back in time and give this book to the teenage me.”

The book is part of a series designed to help you learn a language while engaging with your pet, and was inspired by illustrator Anne Cakebread’s bestseller Teach Your Dog Welsh (Y Lolfa, 2018).

“When I moved to Pembrokeshire in Wales, I adopted Frieda, a rescue whippet who only understood Welsh. Slowly, whilst dealing with Frieda, I realised that I was overcoming my nerves about speaking Welsh aloud, and my Welsh was improving as a result – this gave me the idea of creating a series of books to help others learn. The popularity of the series has been amazing and it’s wonderful to see the series growing! Hopefully this book will encourage people to learn a little Italian – you don’t even have to go abroad to practise: just have fun learning and speaking a new language!” said Anne Cakebread.

Summoning up the confidence to use a language you’re learning can be intimidating at first. A number of books are available to help with vocabulary and pronunciation, but the light-hearted context and the beautiful illustrations mean that this book is a bit out of the ordinary. It will especially appeal to people who haven’t had much success with languages in the past.

Carolyn Hodges, Head of English Publishing at Y Lolfa, who developed market-leading language-teaching materials for Oxford University Press for many years, said: “One of the key factors in motivating someone to start learning and using a new language is to make it enjoyable.”