First of all, thanks to all the enthusiastic bread-makers who have written to me with advice and encouragement since Monday’s article!
The bread-making theme was mostly meant as a metaphor, but hey – people obviously like making bread as well as learning Italian.
And I’m fine with that: my kids are getting a toasted slice for breakfast each morning, my wife likes my improvised recipe (with no chemicals) better than the shop mix (it’s fluffier apparently – must have been the fresh yeast), and I have something new to do that isn’t work.
Talking of non-work activities, I’m a little under-the-weather at the moment, which inspired another poem.
Read it on my new (just for fun) website: https://onlinepoem.com/
As with the club and EasyItalianNews.com, it’s possible to subscribe and so get new poems immediately they are published.
So far I have a grand total of one subscriber and that’s me.
Anyway, back to business.
No wait, I forgot something!
‘Ciao’ to Jan from the UK, “somewhere between Yorkshire and Lancashire”, and to her patient husband, who came by the school yesterday (twice) to tell me how much she liked these articles and how beautiful my wife is.
Which was appreciated, as was the packet of biscuits, though my beautiful wife will doubtless consume those.
She eats sweet gifts, I drink the alcoholic ones.
We’re a little like Mr and Mrs Jack Sprat that way.
Visits at the school are welcome. If you specifically want to find me, afternoons are best as I tend to keep out of the way in the mornings when things are busy and there’s no place to sit.
And if your schedule’s tight, email to make sure I’m around. Sometimes I work at home, or go out for a walk, or actually have to TEACH!
Bene, where was I?
Ah yes, re-prioritizing.
So, my normal language-learning regime is:
- listen to ‘real’ Swedish radio on weekday mornings while doing chores in the kitchen
- listen to the ‘easy’ Swedish news bulletins (there are two) at dead times in the afternoon, or in the evening before going to bed
- online Swedish conversation practice with Lars (Ciao Lars! A domani!) on Thursdays
- a Turkish lesson on Friday morning
- read the Swedish TV news app every day
- and radio again at the weekends, either Swedish or Turkish depending on whether I feel like something serious or something with rhythm to bop to
- oh, and I try to read a few articles from Le Monde each day, just to make sure I’m not missing anything critical in the parallel Trump/Brexit sagas
OK, so next week I’m going on holiday. To Istanbul.
Where they speak Turkish, obviously.
Do you see the problem?
I urgently need to refocus, at least temporarily, so my brain is on the right channel when our plane lands.
Otherwise I’m going to be speaking Swedish or Italian when I need to be talking in Turkish.
It’s a question of ‘switching’, which I mentioned before. A neglected but very real problem!
Jan, for example, who is clearly an enthusiastic club member and Italian student, was chatting to me in English yesterday, and clearly found it very hard to switch to Italian when I spoke to her in that language.
If you have a holiday coming up then, as I do, I’d suggest re-prioritizing your studies in order to prepare as effectively as you can for what lies ahead.
In my case, that looks like reducing the daily Swedish while increasing the time spent on Turkish, at least until after the holiday.
In your case, before coming to Italy, say, it could mean doing less of the ‘long-term’ stuff, like learning grammar, and spending more time on skills work (listening, reading, speaking) and on communication strategies.
You could, for example, memorize (a word I use extremely rarely) some useful phrases for managing problems in conversation:
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“Would you go over that one more time, please?”
“That’s fascinating. But now I need to pee!”
You get the idea.
You could ask your Italian teacher for some suggestions.
The important thing, though, is not to have a lot of expressions but to have the ones that you do know ‘locked and loaded’, ready to shoot out when required, with the minimum of hesitation.
Re-prioritizing is something you should seriously consider before visiting Italy, but also before an Italian exam (make sure you’re practising what’s actually IN the exam), or even at the end of the long summer break, before starting your Italian classes again.
It’s a way of ‘cueing up’ your brain, like leaving the car engine running for ten minutes on a frosty morning before setting off on an important trip.
I’ve got just a week to focus on the language I’ll need on my holiday.
I’ve already started with watching a little Turkish TV on my smartphone in the evenings. The adverts are useful. I’m mentally converting Turkish Lira to Euros as I watch the ads, which I hope will stand me in good stead when arguing with taxi drivers…
Another idea, which I haven’t done yet, is to research things to do, places to see, etc. but actually IN the language, so as to get more used to reading it.
In a foreign country, there are always signs to read, instructions to follow, weird postscripts on menus, and so on. So having at least a minimum level of confidence in your reading ability is good preparation.
Beh, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday’s EasyItalianNews.com bulletin is wetting its pants with impatience, waiting for you to come and read/listen to it.
No ‘Book of the Week’ or new publications this week, as I ran out of time. I blame the bread-maker.
And next week I’m going away, and not coming back until the middle of the week after.
And then it’ll be just a short time until our ‘Summer Sale’, the first week of July.
However, you might want to take a look at our Catalog.
Notice there are a lot more .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available?
That’s my eldest daughter’s holiday job.
She’s converting our original texts into formats that you can read wherever you are using your Kindle, Nook, Kobo or whatnot.
And she’s still at it!
So if the format you want is not yet listed, check back in a day or two.
Or email. I might manage to have her prioritize whatever it is that you need.