There’s a project I’ve had in my head for ages now. I even hired someone to take it forward, but sadly, she quit. So, now it’s just us.
Anyway, I’ve been working on this a bit in my free time of late and I’ve made enough progress to know that this is not going to make me any money at all.
And certainly not enough to pay a graphic designer.
What are we talking about?
Did the cover myself. What do you think??
Here’s a cut and paste from the intro which should explain what it’s all about:
How (and why) to use this simplified book
Though I’m a professional language teacher, I have to admit to being a terrible student. I have little patience, and lose interest quickly.
Therefore, I never took an Italian course, thinking that it would be a waste of time and money.
Instead, I learnt Italian by reading detective fiction, “gialli” (detective novels have yellow covers in Italy), which I used to buy from the newsagents.
But of course I didn’t just pick up a novel and start reading, understanding everything (though if you already know Spanish or French, you probably could do, and get the general idea.)
I began with simplified books, which were specially produced for learners and had a limited number of words and grammar structures.
Usually there was a cassette tape of the story to listen to (this was a long time ago), so I listened to the story first, following the text with my finger. That helped me get the general idea of what the story was all about, and ensured I got through to the end of the story pretty quickly before I lost interest.
Then, maybe another day, I would re-read the text more slowly, trying to understand it better.
I’d always try NOT to use a dictionary. I found that really slowed me down, and I figured my objective was to create a habit of reading, rather than to learn the thousands of words I didn’t know.
Finally, when I was ready, I would listen again, often several times. With, and later without, the text.
And when I was bored, I went back to the bookshop to look for another one. Maybe a level up.
15 years later, I’m proud to be publishing our first simplified book. It’s a project I really believe in, and I hope that you’ll find that reading this story will help you develop the confidence to read in Italian, as it did for me.
The truth is that if you read in Italian because you are interested in the content, and if you can make a habit of reading in Italian, you’ll find the grammar and vocabulary of the languages will come naturally to you.
Understanding the exact use of grammar and vocabulary has a lot to do with context. And reading provides context, lots of it.
It’s also a lot less boring that poring over your grammar boook
Got the idea?
So, here I have the “bozza” (draft) of the book. Probably I could finish it off in a few hours and stick it in the shop.
But it’s not really ready. And I’m not sure exactly what it needs to finish it, or anyway, if anyone is really interested.
So, here’s the deal.
If you think simplified books are a great idea and would like to help on this project, just e-mail me, and I’ll send you the “bozza”, completely free of charge. Take a week or so, however long you need, and give me some feedback/suggestions/criticisms…
This is my first simplified book publishing project and I could really use some help.
Poi, “Il fu Mattia” is a good story, and you might enjoy a break from the grammar books.
So e-mail me. The first 10 responders get to be honorary members of the editorial team!!
Buon fine settimana.
Gina Harris says
I also am impatient and have been looking for a book that is, as you put it, “simplified”, and would enjoy reading the draft of your book and providing feedback.
Gina. : )
There are “physical” simplified books available, but they’re quite expensive.
I’ll send you my draft, Gina. Thanks for offering to help!
Sergey Trofimov says
Yes, I think it’s a good idea to make a simplified book, at least it is good for learners (I don’t know how good it will be for you from the commercial standpoint). When I learned German I used to read such books in Internet and I found it rather efficient for studying. So I would be very glad to get the opportunity to read such book in Italian.
Sergey Trofimov, Russia.
Thanks Sergey, I’ll send you the draft.
John Thomson says
Anche io vorrei essere una parte del tuo progetto. I do not know the italian for “to be involved in ” and my dictionary has been temporarily assigned to the bin. You get my meaning though.
I am sorry for the length of this post, on reading it I hope you will understand why this is,
All I have to work on, so far, is the title “Il fu Mattia Pascal” di Luigi Pirandello
O.K. “il” = “the” “di” = “of” but in the context of an author it could mean “by”
so far “the something somebody” by Luigi Pirandello
I feel safe to write “somebody” because of the upper case
“fu” i seem to remember that “fu” was 3rd person singular of the passato remoto of “essere” but that is a verb which is not the case here because it is “il fu” so “fu” must be a noun
Guessing from the context ( a graveyard) it could be “death, end, grave”
So the best I can do is “the death Mattia Pascal” by Luigi Pirandello. but where is the “of” – of Mattia Pascal ?
Your book cover is pertinent to me, my grandfather and father were monumental masons so, as a student at St. Andrews, I was dragged round all the cemeteries in Fife as an unpaid labourer
One last comment, you know my biggest problem is conversational italian in this day and age “face book” etc. I am sure you could create video of real italians in real situations talking at normal speed.
Mi dispiace per il lungo di questo post
John Thomson says
newsflash – rethink
‘fu’ does not need to be a noun it could be an adjective (not an adverb) we then would not need ‘di’
so we have ‘the (some type of) Mattia Pascal’
with the graveyard context it could be ‘dead’
so my best guess is ‘the dead Mattia Pascal’
Ruth Stephens says
Your thought processes were the same as mine and I’ve come to the conclusion that the title means the late Mattia Pascal – your ‘dead’ was close. However maybe Daniel will confirm or otherwise!
John Thomson says
I think “the late Mattia Pascal” must be the title. If I take as long as this to intuit the title, without recourse to a dictionary, how long will it take me to work out what the book is all about.
I am going to plod on if Daniel sends me a draft, I will try to use a dictionary as little as possible, Daniel thinks that dictionaries are the work of the devil! I will also be guided by his philosophy of not being frightened to make mistakes, communication being the name of the game..
I used to think I was B1 level but I started again at A1. What level are you at.
Very nice to get your post I was beginning to think I was the only one posting !
I have also posted in the forum a query about past participles and the like, I would be interested to read any thoughts you have on this topic
good to know I am not alone out there
Dictionaries CAN be useful SOMETIMES:
Ruth Stephens says
I think I have only ever posted once before and that was to ask not to be taken off the mailing list as I so much enjoy Daniel’s writings and the comments. As to what level of I talian I am at I haven’t a clue as I have actually never even looked at any of the e-books (hope Daniel isn’t listening!). I have been learning Italian for at least 14 years and have done several courses, some here in UK and some short ones at Madrelingua. For the last couple of years I’ve been having fortnightly individual lessons which are more often than not just conversation with my original teacher at her house and I did have a free Skype trial lesson with Lucia which was very good but a bit demoralising. I did say I would sign up for more but my problem is I don’t have the self discipline to do the homework and prepare sufficiently to make it a success. The rest of you put me to shame with your diligence. I think I might try the e-books if only to ascertain my level. Like you I find conversation the most difficult and I too am afraid of making mistakes which is why I prefer to write in English. Lazy!!! Anyway, keep posting – you might even inspire me to write in Italian!
Sieglind D'Arcy says
Yes, Daniel, I would like to read the draft and will be happy to give feedback. I have enjoyed some simple books published by Alma Edizioni but they are very short. I’ve also tried a book of stories by Pirandello that had the English translation on one side but that was no good because, once I got interested in the story I abandoned the Italian and read the English because I was too impatient…..
Elena Dibobes says
Buona sera Daniel! Thank you for this interesting proposal.I’ll be glad to receive simplified books and I’ll do my best to help you by providing feedback. A presto!
Zsuzsanna Erki says
My hobbies are reading and learning foreign languages, so my favourite leisure time activity is learning languages by reading books. 🙂 So I would be glad to have the possibility to read your book and contribute with my opinion to your work.
Zsuzsanna from Hungary
OK, Zsuzsanna, I’ll send you the draft…
Maria Russell says
If you still want help I’d love to join. I’ve been studying Italian for two years but the course I was doing has ended and I’m at a loss as to know what to do next.
I’ll e-mail you the draft, Maria.
What about taking some online lessons? Our teachers are really good!!
Maria Russell says
Thanks for the draft. It looks good – I’ll read it properly in the next few days and see what I think. Will consider your Skype lessons, though I can only use Skype in the office and I’m already doing two late-nighters a week, so am reluctant to do any more. But I will think about it.
Veronica Byrne says
Great idea. Congratulations. Reading is a fabulous way to learn. I have used many books along my way and as a teacher made and used them with ‘English as a second language’ students. I would enjoy reading your draft…… if it is anything like your blogs…..then it should be interesting!
I’ll e-mail you the draft, Veronica. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!