Many thanks to Tim, who wrote this week to point out a problem with our newest, ‘easy reader’ ebook, Colpa della terra, Libro 1, Colpa della terra.
Anyone who’s already bought it will want to know this, and maybe others too, as it concerns the dreaded ‘pronomi’!
Tim wrote (in italiano, bravo Tim!):
C’è un piccolo problema in ‘Colpo della terra’ libro 1. Nel esercizio del capitolo 4, le parole da sostituire dai pronomi non sono identificate dalla sottolineatura come affermato, e quindi il compito è difficile/ una ‘congettura ’. Forse potresti elencare le 9 parole nella tua e-mail venerdì?
Basically, the exercise said to replace the underlined words with appropriate pronouns, and yet, bummer, there were no underlined words!!
How did this happen? How is it possible? I raged (not at Tim, obviously. We like Tim.)
Well, basically, our writers hadn’t used an exercise of that type before, and the processes we use, when taking the raw text from the writer and, over multiple stages taking several months, turning it into a finished ebook, ready to sell to you guys, begin with one FUNDAMENTAL step:
1.) Cancel all formatting added by the writer!!!!
The words ‘writer’ and ‘formatting’ merit a skull and cross bones icon, so here’s one:
What we do is copy the whole text from whatever exotic Microsoft, Google, Apple file the writer sent it in (maybe from their phone, or from some trendy app, who knows) into a very simple, no frills at all, .txt file.
That copy and paste, at a stroke, deletes bolding, italics, underlining, centering and so on and so forth. Every bit of fancy, GONE, in the blink of an eye.
Though then we have to manually go through the .txt file to delete the hundreds, or even thousands, of extra lines, spaces, and random junk that the writer has helpfully thought to include, so as to make things look nice.
It takes time, it’s a pain in the nether regions, and you might think we’re making life harder for ourselves, creating unnecessary extra work.
Because there are no two people on the planet capable of formatting a text to standard specifications, precisely, every time (even when following clear instructions.)
And certainly no two writers, every single one of whom has their own way of doing things.
Glossary items, for example:
sedere = butt, bum
sedere: butt, bum
sedere : butt, bum
Sedere – Butt, Bum
and so on. Play with the punctuation marks, spacing and capitals I’ve used there and I bet you could come up with fifty or so variations.
I’ve seen all fifty, sometimes in same text…
I confess, it makes me froth at the mouth when writers capitalise words that aren’t proper nouns or positioned at the beginning of a sentence (i.e. in a glossary, see above)
And I absolutely SPIT when people use capitalisation for titles, which is an execrable Italian habit.
So imagine my face when I get to
CAPITOLO 1 IL PORTO
and have to carefully retype it as:
Capitolo 1. Il porto
adding a full stop, being sure not to use a P in ‘porto’, and knowing that I will have to do exactly the same thing for the other seven chapters (editors and proof-readers can be inconsistent too, though we try hard not to be!)
Beh, you get the idea. Writers write, they have ideas, do research, develop plot lines, do sparkling dialogue, and, hey, maybe tug a little on readers’ heart strings, which sells ebooks.
They can’t be expected to mess about with punctuation and formatting, can they?
Except that the buggers do precisely that, though in their own idiosynchratic and inconsistent way.
Teachers can’t fill in class registers, or be expected to start/finish their lessons on time, but are often loved despite these flaws. Same principle.
Where was I?
Ah, yes. So we stripped out all the lovingly-inserted, but personalised and, at times, random formatting so as to ensure the final product would be, at the very least, consistent in itself and with our other publications.
And on this occasion that deleted information which was vital to the reader.
No matter, there followed multiple stages of formatting, editing, audio recording, and proof-reading!
But, and here’s a glitch that I can’t blame on the writer, it turns out that the (Italian) editor thought the proof-reader would check the exercises, and the proof-reader (me) thought the editor had done it.
Anyway, here’s our first ever errata-corrige (actually, it’s just an erratum according to Wikipedia), which should show Exercise 4 in all its glory, underlined words included. Thanks Tim!
And the answers?
Anyone who bought the ebook will already have those, of course, but dai – it’s Friday!
So here they are for grammar fiends who think £5.99 is too much for an ebook:
1. Gli avevo subito confessato che mi piaceva Agata.
2. Lui si era fatto da parte.
3. La mia famiglia ha più soldi della sua.
4. Santo aggiunge: “Quando non avrai più tempo per me, dovrò trovarmi
5. La bocca di Agata era piena di frutta e i suoi denti bianchi erano sporchi.
6. Mia sorella ha un vestito nuovo e io userò il suo vecchio.
7. Il papà di Santo gli ha comprato dei vestiti nuovi.
8. Mia sorella si fa i vestiti da sola e anche io li so fare bene.
9. Mio fratello è più piccolo ma io sono più magro di lui.
A lunedì, allora!
Here’s a final reminder about this week’s launch offer on Colpa della terra, Libro 1, Colpa della terra, the first in a new, five-part series of ‘easy reader’ ebooks about an Italian family that emigrates to the USA at the end of the nineteenth century.
We have Libro 1 this week, and for those who enjoy it, Libro 2 on Monday.
Libri 3 and 4 are scheduled for publication in May, and the final one in June.
An original Italian easy reader by Francesca Colombo
The first in a series of five ‘easy reader’ ebooks which tells the story of three generations of an Italian family that emigrates to the USA.
Libro 1 begins in 1895, in the village of Siano, Salerno. The narrator is Santo, a father of three who has fallen on hard times. The story opens as Santo welcomes home his childhood friend (and former rival in love), Cristiano, who after nine years has returned from across the ocean with tales of opportunity…
Cristiano sta appoggiato con la schiena a un muro e mastica un paletto. Non è cambiato quasi per nulla fisicamente, ma ha delle occhiaie più profonde, qualche capello grigio e un nuovo taglio, i baffi più sottili e dei vestiti nuovi. Sono contento di vederlo, dopo nove anni che manca dal paese. Mi è quasi preso un infarto quando mio fratello mi ha detto di averlo visto in piazza. “Pensavo che non tornavi più, Cristià!” gli dico correndogli incontro.
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to!
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
How do I access my ebook?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook (.mobi/Kindle-compatible, .epub) cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them.
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