Several people have asked me where I’ve been recently, having noted the absence of the previously thrice-weekly articles, but not having read the one in which I announced that I’d be dropping the frequency to once a week (Wednesdays).
Ragazzi – I’m still alive, don’t worry! Though I do have a cold, so don’t feel much like it. It’s just that I’ve been reorganising – mailing lists and so on – and am now busy with various promotions
Back in the days when I did three articles a week, you’d already have known all about them, but now – with just Wednesday – I’ll need to be more concise. Sure, I can do that!
First off, our Italian school in Bologna is running it’s usual, run-up-to-Christmas ‘Save 20% on 202X Italian Courses’ offer, in this case 2024 Italian courses.
If you’re thinking of studying Italian in Italy at any point next year, you could do worse than pick Madrelingua. My Italian wife runs it, and she’s very nice! Also, a 20% saving is not to be sneezed at. Or coughed at, for that matter.
DETAILS OF THE PROMOTION ARE HERE. It ends on Christmas day. If you get on the school’s mailing list (there’s a sign up form on the homepage, here) there’ll be plenty of reminders between now and then.
Next up, our ebooks store is also doing a promotion this week. I’ve pasted yesterday’s whole mailing down below, where it says ‘Save 33% this week / How ebooks help your language learning’. There’s a metaphor featuring an elephant.
And last, though by no means least, a heads up for anyone taking lessons with our lessons store, NativeSpeakerTeachers.com. Their January Sale is looming. It’ll begin a week from today.
From 27th December, online students of Italian, Spanish, French and German will be able to save 20% (that number again!) on the lesson credits they’ll need to get them through to the Spring Sale at the beginning of April.
Online lesson prices are here. Their mailing list (there’s a signup form here) will keep you updated on the offer, when it begins. Why not get on that one, too? I expect I’ll be mentioning it again next mercoledì, though. And the week after, as the promotion runs until ‘taking down the Christmas tree day’.
E così. This is a busy, busy period a casa nostra. The kids are back from college, too, which means more shopping, cooking, recycling, and so on.
Natale will be at the in-laws place, in Rimini, as every year. Swedish mother-in-law-mandated Jul (Christmas in Swedish) is Sunday 24th. There will be meatballs, salmon, hot wine, and tortellini in brodo, as a concession to Italian father-in-law. I’m roasting potatoes to take, and have bought some decent wine, which we’ll need.
The day after, Monday Dec. 25th, besides being the FINAL DAY OF OUR ITALIAN SCHOOL’S 20% PROMOTION, is Natale (Christmas in Italian), to be spent with the extended family of Italian uncles, aunts, cousins, cousins’ children, and perhaps a guest appearance from Babbo Natale.
Now, where I come from, Babbo N. sneaks down the chimney sometime during the night of the 24th, but in Rimini he hangs around in restaurants on the afternoon of the 25th, scaring children and eating pandoro.
Last year Roomie was with us, but wouldn’t let herself be intimidated by some hairy stranger. She even took a microphone (aged just two and a half) and sang a song for the delighted old folks. It’ll be quieter this year, without her.
Anyway, I hope you’ll all be doing something fun, too. Buon Natale!
(A mercoledì prossimo, remember!)
Save 33% this week / How ebooks help your language learning
This week EasyReaders.org is offering a 33% percent coupon code, which was previously a bribe for joining the mailing list, to EVERYONE, even those who may have used it before!
The coupon code is: mailing-list-33%-coupon-code
Copy and paste that carefully into the box in your shopping cart, where it says ‘Coupon code’, press the dark blue ‘Apply coupon’ button, then SCROLL DOWN to check that the CART TOTAL has been reduced by 33%.
Note that the prices of the various ebooks in your cart don’t change when you apply the coupon – just the cart total – and you have to scroll down to see that it’s worked.
What? You have nothing in your shopping cart?
You’ll find all our ebooks for learners of Italian, French, Spanish and German on our Catalog page, listed by language, type and level. There are FREE sample chapters for just about everything too, so it should be easy to find materials at your current level, or the level you’re working towards.
But why should you include ebooks in your language learning program?
Some learners believe that they should start by studying grammar, and memorising long lists of vocabulary. Those things are useful, it’s true, but they shouldn’t be the only things you do.
Your new language, like a seed, needs a context in which to grow. Say you’re working on articles (the, a, an, etc.) but only learning the RULES?
What’s going into your head won’t be a knowledge of the language itself – what it looks and sounds like, how to manipulate it, how to figure out what it means – but merely a description of those things, one step removed.
A description of an elephant would include the fact that it’s big, greyish, has a trunk (whatever that might be), big ears, and so on.
But getting up close to one in real life would be so much better, don’t you think? The size, the smell, the noises it makes, how the trunk moves to sniff the new visitor.
Not only would meeting an elephant be so much more COMPLETE than simply reading about one in a reference book, it would also be so much more MEMORABLE, and NATURAL, so EASIER.
Your brain would be doing what brains do every day (learning intuitively about the world around it), rather than something limited and artificial.
Leaving elephants and returning to ebooks, learners prioritise grammar and vocabulary, but largely neglect hugely important areas of language learning, such as developing listening skills, becoming familiar with the way the language is pronounced, and getting used to reading it.
You assume you can read the language you’re learning because you can read English, so would have no need to include that in your study program?
You might well be wrong. Italian, for instance, tends not to use subject pronouns, which makes life harder for the reader. German and Swedish have these incredibly long words, made up of other words glued together. It took me ages to get used to breaking those down in my head when I saw them printed on a page. Grammatical elements, which you might know in theory, can easily trip you up when you’re reading or hearing them.
In short, developing the SKILLS you’ll need to USE the language you’re studying takes time, effort, and above all EXPOSURE to the way the language is employed by its speakers to code/decode the meanings they want to communicate.
The earlier you get started with listening, reading, and ideally also speaking, the better!
Oh, and one final thing. Reading/listening to a ‘narrative’ (that’s to say, a story or similar) has its own particular power. The feeling of wanting to know what happens next, can potentially get you turning the page with more enthusiasm than you’d have if you were working through grammar exercises.
But isn’t reading/listening to Italian/French/Spanish/German difficult?
Well it certainly can be. But our materials come in different levels, so it’s possible to pick something out that seems manageable to you (start easy, build up over time!)
Moreover, coping with ‘difficult’ – so words you don’t know, grammar you haven’t studied yet or which is used in unfamiliar ways – is really the whole point! Foreign languages are intrinsically difficult.
So the more interesting, fun, practice material you have to hand, the better!
Don’t forget the coupon code: mailing-list-33%-coupon-code
Copy and paste it carefully into the box in your shopping cart, where it says ‘Coupon code’, press the dark blue ‘Apply coupon’ button, then SCROLL DOWN to check that the CART TOTAL has been reduced by 33%. Note that the prices of the various ebooks in your cart don’t change when you apply the coupon – just the cart total – and you have to scroll down to see that it’s worked.
Did you read/listen to yesterday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Nope, neither did I.
But I’m going to do it right after I get done writing this!
Did you know EasyItalianNews.com subscribers get three, FREE bulletins (Italian text + audio) each week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays?
Maybe think about making reading/listening to the bulletins your New Year’s resolution?
Your Italian will thank you!