The Spring Sale is over, thank goodness, as it was a lot of work. Thanks to everyone who supported us with lesson or ebook purchases.
So now we’re back to normal, right? Whatever normal is.
Actually, what IS normal around here? There seems to be some confusion.
If you’re reading this in an email rather than on the club website, as most people do, that’s because at some point you will have filled in a form, then clicked a link to give your permission to be contacted.
For instance on this page, which I put up back at the beginning of time and haven’t looked at since.
So what happens is that people see the captivating promise of ‘three free exercises a week’, fill in the form, click the permission link, then wait for the magic material to arrive. They’ll be learning Italian, for free, and without having to think for themselves!
Only to be sent an article featuring a moan from me, like this one, or worse, something commercial, like all the Spring Sale stuff recently.
They then fire off an email to tell me how ‘disappointed’ they are, how I promised three free exercises each week, and in fact have delivered nothing but advertising.
At my kitchen table I fume and spit, and complain to my wife that if I was trying to learn a language, for FREE, and came across a website (on the first page of Google, probably) that looked like it had lots of content, I wouldn’t just fill in a form and sit back and wait for them to email me.
Or maybe I would, but first, or later, I’d click around the site to see what’s there, and whether it looked like it might help me on my quest. The internet is big, the number of really useful destinations on it much smaller.
I’d discover the thousands of pages of free content, divided into six levels.
I’d notice that no registration or password is required to use any of it, so I’d browse the grammar section, maybe try my hand at a few listening tasks. Nothing to lose, right?
Being a history graduate, I might click on the history page, and so discover ninety chapters of Italian history (text plus audio). Yes, ninety, with thirty more due this summer (three a week…), and the final thirty in the summer of 2024.
Bored with history, I might lose myself in the pandemic-era ‘book clubs’, on the literature page.
Or, in an abundance of caution about giving away my email address to strangers, I might scroll down the recent articles page, checking to see what exactly I would be getting if I ‘joined’.
I would likely also discover the ‘Best of’ page, which would give me an overview of worthwhile content from 2012 to 2021 (ten years!)
Would I want to be part of this, I’d ask myself? Well why not, if it’s FREE.
But there, not everyone is like me.
So, succinctly, why no THREE FREE EXERCISES A WEEK (any more)?
- there are already loads of exercises on the website, divided into six levels, organised in a way that people can study from them at their own pace and setting their own priorities
- if I sent you an exercise now, today, in this email, it would likely be too easy or hard for you, so wasted
- in any case, we publish THREE FREE BULLETINS OF EASY ITALIAN NEWS A WEEK, see below, and yes, I know it’s a different site, but still, basically, us. When we’d run out of exercise ideas, we started doing that, instead. It’s much, much more useful than random grammar teasers, and significantly more expensive to produce, too
- and there’ll be the free Summer Series, from July to September. Thirty more history articles, as mentioned above. No registration or passwords required…
Usually I reply to the ‘disappointed’ people suggesting they click a few links on the website, which I provide. Rarely do I get a ‘grazie’, but neither do they come back with further complaints.
E poi, there are the hundreds of people each month that join us (maybe because their college teacher told them to, or something), get one email, read one line of it (if that), then unsubscribe.
Which is fine – I always encourage people to unsubscribe (there’s a link in the footer). Keeping a big list for the club costs me hundreds of US dollars each month. What’s the point if it’s just, or mainly, people who aren’t interested?
Which reminds me – every six months, I ‘clean the list’, which basically means asking the system to show me any club members who joined at least six months ago but never (as far as the system knows) opened any emails from us.
Those people then get deleted, to make space for new ‘disappointeds’ while keeping my monthly bills reasonable.
That will happen Friday morning, just so you know, but if you’re reading this and want to stay a member, then you probably don’t need to worry. You have, after all, opened an email in the last six months, right?
The soon-to-be-deleted (joined 6 months+ ago, never opened an email in that time, remember?) are only about 5% of the total. That’s probably not you, so no need to write to me today to ask (please…)
But if the system does happen to include you in the spring cleaning, and you miss hearing from me, there’s nothing to stop you going to the club website and joining again, with my apologies for your inconvenience.
And while you’re there, why not click around a bit, see what you can find that might help you progress with your Italian?
Did you read/listen to Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
It’s FREE, as is subscribing.
And there’ll be another tomorrow (Thursday), and another on Saturday morning.
Why not try to make a habit of it?
OnlineItalianClub.com | EasyItalianNews.com | Shop (ebooks) | Shop (online lessons)
Kathy Simpson says
As someone of a similar age, there’s nothing I enjoy more than reading your moans Daniel!
Also, your insights into language learning have slowly changed my mindset from reciting verb conjugations at school to listening more and speaking at every opportunity.
It’s been a long road to realising that it’s all about communication. It doesn’t really matter if you use the wrong preposition as long as you convey the right meaning. If you practise often enough, you learn the correct preposition eventually.
And who wants perfection? My English, my mother tongue, isn’t perfect. I spelt “convey” incorrectly in the paragraph above, at first.
Thank you Daniel.
Prego. You’re more than welcome!
But wouldn’t it be good if state school teachers could adopt a communication-centred approach to ‘teaching’ foreign languages? Bet the kids would learn more from a few years of TV series than a few years of grammar.
Sadly, the language teaching industry is slow to change. Teachers have to ‘teach’, it seems, no matter the damage done.
April Munday says
Thank you for reminding me why I signed up for the emails. I’ve been enjoying them so much that I forgot about all the learning Italian stuff.
What nice feedback, April. Grazie!
Thank you Daniel. Yours is a great website which I discovered years ago when there wasn’t very much Italian help on the internet! I now have a great Italian teacher I wouldn’t have found it it hadn’t been for your website … and Lucia ! So, thank you again!