One of the nice things about running the club is getting emails from people around the world.
Everyone in Australia seems to be a member, which is nice.
Plus, we have lots of people from other English-speaking countries: the USA, the UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Chastise me if I’ve missed any.
And there are enthusiastic students of Italian in an A-Z of other countries, too!
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, via (to pick out just a few) Belarus, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Guatemala, and so on.
So it wasn’t a big surprise to get an email from Kathy in Juneau, Alaska, who has this to say:
First of all, I am enjoying listening to Easy Italian News – thank you for starting that up! I especially like that it has several brief segments about non-American news. (I listen to News in Slow Italian, also, but it is such a different beast!)
Your comment about not knowing that Coffee Break Italian existed makes me wonder what other resources are out there for Italian language learners. Would you be willing to have readers write in with their suggestions? And maybe even compile responses onto a page?
I’ve got several podcasts that I listen to regularly, but I understand if it were a conflict of interest or you to list other sites’ works. Nevertheless, I’m curious what others have discovered that I don’t know about.
I, like you, am a hare (No, I’m a turtle! Slow and steady… Daniel). Perhaps when I, too, retire, I’ll shift gears. In the meantime, I’m plugging away at an enjoyable pace, amazed at what I have learned so far. I am at the point where, just the other night, I realized that the book I was reading (“L’isola nel sole”, sulla isola d’Ischia) had become genuinely enjoyable. I still can’t speak very fluidly, but when I was in Bologna at Madrelingua, last spring (which I loved! But I don’t think I ever wrote a review for, now that I think about it), I realized that it didn’t take long for speech to bubble up. The base exists, it just needs use.
Thank you for all your hard work!
Now, years back I did an article called something like ‘Where are all the good sites for learning Italian?‘.
If you click the link (don’t bother) you’ll see that, in 2012, there weren’t any.
Since then of course, the world has flipped on its head – a rush of venture-capital money has lead to the creation of all sorts of magical beasts, while the daggy years of the global financial crisis drove no-hopers like me onto the Internet in search of some way to earn a crust.
Insomma, there’s now masses of stuff to choose from.
I haven’t revisted the article because it seemed that club members managed well-enough to find alternative resources on their own.
And for the obvious reason that I don’t actually study Italian myself, and so tend to focus on what’s out there for the languages that I AM learning.
However, to Kathy’s suggestion:
Would you be willing to have readers write in with their suggestions? And maybe even compile responses onto a page?
Well of course! What a good idea.
If nothing else, it’ll save me some work, and will likely provide inspiration.
You guys send in your suggestions – with no limits, in the sense that if you son works for a startup and you want to help him out, send the link.
I’ll then take a look at all the ideas and compile some sort of list cum road map for club members.
So, what to look for?
Here are some ideas:
- WEBSITES, like the club
- APPS, Duolingo has a nice one. There are many others. Some are rubbish, some are good (which?)
- VIDEOS, Youtube has millions. Again, the quality varies. Help us find the gems!
- PODCASTS, a lot of people don’t know about these
- TRADITIONAL MEDIA, newspapers, magazines, TV channels, radios, etc.
- SIMPLIFIED MEDIA, like our very own Easy Italian News…
- ONLINE TEACHERS/LESSONS, and why not give our competitors a plug?
- BOOKS & EBOOKS, reluctant as I am to promote the mighty Amazon…
- COURSES, Moocs and stuff, things people may not have heard of
OK, I’ve thought of one restriction.
Maybe, given the A-Z thing, we should exclude anything that needs you to be in a particular place, such as a traditional course or language school, or meet-up-to-speak-Italian groups?
After all, we already have a ‘Schools‘ page…
So, wanna help?
Add your ideas as a comment to this post (so everyone can see them and we avoid duplication). Or, if you really must, then email them in.
But the comment thing is better – more fun for you and much less work for me – so do give it a try.
P.S. x 2
1.) Have you listened to Thursday’s Easy Italian News, yet?
Regular reading and listening practice will make all the difference to your studies. People send grateful emails to tell me so all the time.
That said, someone wrote in this week to say she tried once but didn’t understand anything…
Which was exactly where I was with my Swedish a year ago.
Compared to now, when I can understand about 80% of the simplified news on the easy Swedish news site (which inspired ours.)
What happened to make the difference?
Time passed, basically.
The trick is to forget about understanding, and just do the work, put in the hours.
At the start, understanding should NOT be your goal.
Instead, the objective should be to just read/listen, all the way through to the end.
Without stopping to look things up, because if you do, you’ll never finish…
Read and listen from start to finish a set number of times. I always do my Swedish news broadcast three times, for example.
The understanding part comes later, when your brain begins to tune in, when you start to recognise the style and the topics, when certain keywords become so obvious you can’t help but know them.
Build the habit first, to create understanding later.
It sounds back to front, but it isn’t really.
How do children learn?
Exactly like that.
Our job with Easy Italian News is to provide the resources, three times a week, for free, on which you can build a habit that will fast-track your learning.
And if/when you don’t understand, just chill, get to the end, repeat at least once, ideally twice if you have time, and you’re done!
Set a reminder to do the same for the following edition, and the one after.
Each Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, you read and listen and don’t fret about not understanding.
Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday.
Then, after a month or so, write me to say how it really works!
I know that already, of course.
But it’s nice to get the emails, in return for the time and money I’m spending.
2.) And talking of money, here’s a final reminder regarding this week’s new Italian easy-reader ebook, Valeria, Michele e le maschere.
The special launch price, – 25% off the usual easy reader ebook price, ends on Sunday night.
After which, Valeria, Michele e le maschere will sell for £7.99.
A lunedì, allora.