I’m going to take a break from writing today and instead prepare the Christmas lunch – that’ll be tortellini in brodo followed by lenticchie and cotechino, then a dessert with mascarpone (desserts are my wife’s department). None of that’s suitable for vegans, by the way, but sadly our vegan is stuck in the UK due to the new virus variant scare. That’s simplified the catering a great deal, however…
Hopefully you too will be having something nice for lunch, ideally with family and/or friends (though in a responsible way, right?)
E poi, così. There’s the rest of Christmas day to get through, then Boxing Day, which has got to be the most boring day of the year in assoluto, and then, to cap it all, Sunday. And not just any Sunday, but an ‘all the shops are closed so stay at home’ red day Sunday. I don’t remember the last time I was so looking forward to Monday morning!
And talking of Mondays, this coming one, besides being an orange day – meaning that I’ll be able to go outside legally, at last – is also the start of our January Sale. There’ll be a coupon code (existing students should have already received it – if not, write to Lucia) with which to save a generous 20% on the cost of everything in our online shop, so ebooks, online lessons, whatever you might need to improve your Italian (and other languages?) in the coming year.
Me? I’ll be making good use of my Le Monde and El Pais subscriptions over the next couple of days, while things are quiet, to continue improving my French and Spanish. Plus listening to FranceInfo and RTVE.es Radio 5 thanks to apps on my smartphone, while I busy myself boiling brodo and trying to make lenticchie look appetizing.
I find a combination of newspapers and radio works better than the sum of its parts, if you see what I mean. What I hear about in the morning’s newspaper headlines tends to be discussed on the radio, and vice versa. I build my vocabulary, grammar and knowledge of what’s being talked about by reading, then actually get to hear people discussing events live and in real time. Which is excellent preparation for weekly conversation sessions with club teachers.
By the way, listening skills, people, are the FOUNDATION STONES of all successful spoken interactions. Where else have you heard that? Ah… nowhere. Because everyone else writing about language learning seems to be, erroneously, obsessed with boring grammar explanations or techniques for memorising new words. It’s fundamental that you conjugate your verbs correctly! No matter if you have zero chance whatsoever of understanding what’s said to you in return.
Don’t take my word for it, though. About the news artice / radio technique, I mean. Go try it for yourself. You’ll have time over the next few days, too much of it, probably.
Rainews.it is a reliable news website, updated at least daily with the main stories (read, or at least scan the headlines first.) While Raiplayradio.it has all the Italian state’s radio channels to listen to. I can’t say which you might like best, as I rarely listen to Italian myself, but that’s part of the fun with radio – sorting through the various options until you find one that suits you.
Gotta go – the kids are finally out of bed and my wife is agitating to start opening the presents piled up around the Christmas tree.
Buon Natale a tutti!
For those of you who don’t feel ready for ‘authentic’ texts, there is of course EasyItalianNews.com, which we have created specifically to help people transition from not reading/listening to Italian much or at all, to getting to the point at which, in a future moment, they feel confident to give real world media a try.
It’s totally free, and my suggestions on how best to use it are here. There was a bulletin yesterday, there’ll be another tomorrow, and yet another on Tuesday.
Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, until you’re well into the habit of reading and listening. At which point your brain does the learning-Italian part more or less automatically and you can concentrate on something else.
Subscribe (for free), open the emails you receive with the bulletins, and read/listen to them. The only way this will NOT work to improve your Italian in 2021 (I personally guarantee it) is if:
1.) You don’t begin at all
2.) You begin but fail to make a habit of it
Other than that, it’s a dead cert.
Read Italian, listen to Italian (both of which can be totally free) for a couple of months at least. Then – if you can afford it – take a few conversation lessons to ‘activate’ what you’ve learnt and get you used to interacting with native speakers in real time.