It’s the last day of our UK holiday today and, of course, it’s going to rain.
Tomorrow we’ll be piling into our rental car and heading for the airport.
Tuesday evening we’ll be back in Italy, where the newspapers promise us sweltering heat and delays at passport control.
Oh well, at least the cat will be pleased to see us back!
So, today I have an easy (and free) Italian listening comprehension exercise for you.
Just for a change!
This one’s from a series we did a few years back, each audio/transcript being designed to illustrate a certain area of grammar.
Today’s focuses on ‘Il superlativo‘ – the topic is ‘elephants’.
Now I already knew the word ‘zampe’.
Our black cat, Thelma, has four of them, one at the end of each leg.
But, to the best of my knowledge, I’d never heard or seen the word ‘zanne’.
No matter, as this one was a classic example of how easy it can be to guess meaning from context:
L’elefante inoltre ha delle zanne d’avorio lunghissime.
If you know the OTHER words, it should be obvious what the unknown item refers to.
If not, I’ll give you a clue: elephants have two of them, Thelma has none.
That should narrow it down a bit!
Including reading and listening in your study program has many benefits, one of which is precisely this type of opportunity to learn things from context.
Seeing or hearing words in context helps you learn them because of the associations with other words: elefante > avorio > zanne.
But it also gives you valuable information on frequency, and so usefulness.
The fact that ‘zanne’ hasn’t previously cropped up in twenty years of me reading Italian is a good indication that it’s not one I really need to stress about remembering…
The words that you come across frequently will be both useful (because they’re frequent) and easy to learn (because you get context each time you see them.)
While the rarer words, though potentially learnable, get flagged by your brain as a low priority and put on the back-burner until or unless they pop up again elsewhere.
Only reading and listening can give your brain this type of input, so allowing it to learn autonomously and efficiently in the background.
Here’s that link again: Il superlativo
And you’ll find thousands more pages of free material, along with hundreds of audios, on the club website.