I’ve got to that age when I start to wonder what the world is coming to.
Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but I can’t help myself.
I’m fifty-five, so now counting down the years and months to the big Six-Oh and official decrepitude, though the retirement age here in Italy isn’t until sixty-seven.
And because I didn’t move here until I was thirty-one, so won’t have the years of ‘contributi’ for the state pension (what Americans call ‘social security’) I shall have to find things to keep me earning a crust for at least another fifteen years.
Did you notice, by the way, what I just did? Apart from moaning, I mean.
I included an Italian word, in what should have been an easy-to-guess fashion, along with some information about how Italians do things.
I assume that both will be of interest to people who chose to join our club, and so receive these emails each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The articles, by the way, are supposed to be a way of keeping in touch, encouraging club members to actually do useful learning activities, and keeping people updated about what’s going on, or coming soon.
For instance, next week there’ll be the chance to do a FREE ONE-TO-ONE ONLINE ITALIAN LESSON over at NativeSpeakerTeachers.com, our online lessons shop.
We do these twice a year, in November and February, when it’s otherwise quiet. If you’ve not tried a lesson with a native speaker teacher, you really should!
And what’s to lose, as the cost is zero, no payment details are asked for, and you’re under no obligation to buy more lessons, if you don’t enjoy the trial.
See? That’s what the emails are for. Making sure you don’t miss out on things. The snag, though, is that you have to actually READ THEM.
Which people don’t.
Betcha someone will write later today to ask how to get the free trial lesson. Answer, you can’t, yet. It’s NEXT WEEK.
Also next week, I’ll be publishing the third in our ‘Opera’ series of ‘easy Italian reader’ ebooks, this time ‘La bohème’ (notice the missing capital B? That’s because Italians don’t capitalise titles, except proper nouns).
The bohemian in question, by the way, is a seamstress called Mimi, who falls in love with a penniless freelance writer, silly girl. My wife could have put her straight, there.
Anyway, I put the finishing touches to the .pdf ebook and sample chapter yesterday morning, sent the text to be formatted for Kindle and other electronic ebook readers at lunchtime, and put my headphones on to start watching and listening to the opera itself in the evening, while Roomie was glued to the TV.
La bohème is fun, you’re going to love it! And reading/listening to our ‘easy reader’ version will help SO MUCH, I promise. Just don’t write to me today and ask where you can get a copy, as the response will be ‘Can’t you READ?’
E poi, there was the person who wondered why there was no way to LISTEN to the Italian words (E poi) that I include in my articles, so that she could get the pronunciation right.
Well, because that would be moderately pointless, given the VAST AMOUNT OF FREE LISTENING MATERIAL WE PROVIDE ELSEWHERE.
Oh really, where?
Well on the club listening page, for one. Didn’t you look?
You’d think students who visit a website about learning Italian would click around a little, to see what’s there, right? That’s what I’d do, and what I do.
But no. It always seems to come as a surprise to people that, besides listening practice, we also offer free grammar exercises, verb conjugations, and much more. I won’t include links.
So that’s another thing these emails are for. To remind people to go to the club website and click things, to find materials that will aid their learning.
If that’s too much trouble, ask yourself, how on earth you’ll ever manage something as complex and time-consuming as learning a foreign language.
Then there are the polite people who clearly can’t take any more of me, so write to ask how they can unsubscribe and so stop receiving these emailed articles.
Each one has an Unsubscribe link, actually.
Read to the bottom, or just scroll right down, as if you’ve hurled yourself into a deep, dark well, and you’ll find it, in the footer, where the scummy water collects.
Click it, follow the instructions, and be off with you!
The final thing that wound me up in the brief time that’s elapsed since I wrote on Monday, was a comment over at EasyItalianNews.com (free listening!) regarding the content of the bulletins.
Like every other news bulletin in the world, they contain stories about wars, crime, terrorism, political corruption, minorities fighting to be treated with the minimum of respect, and so on.
But could we please do less of these things, and include more stories about ‘Italian culture’?
There’s opera next week, remember, but actually, no, sorry, we can’t.
Yes, I get that people from some countries get so much violence at home that learning Italian is a form of escapism.
Italy has art galleries on every corner, decent wines, world-class fashion, and ‘soccer’ teams that win things. What’s not to like?
In reality, though, Italy is NOT a European cultural Disneyland.
We have a war going on in Europe, there are unaccompanied migrant children crossing the Med on rickety boats, people here just elected a government which appoints ministers who have displayed fascist symbols, the economy tanked a quarter of a century ago, there’s organised (and disorganised) crime, terrorism, and even American fast-food.
Things are far from perfect. This is a real country, with the sort of problems that real countries have. It’s probably no better nor worse than anywhere else, once you get out of the tourist hotspots.
Come on holiday, by all means. Learn the language, if you can. But don’t be surprised when, assuming you get to interact with people who live here at a level beyond waiting staff and shop assistants, they want to moan about their government, or about communists, or ask you why Americans shoot up their own schools and go bankrupt paying for healthcare which Europeans get free.
Italian news broadcasts are, at least in part, about you – Britain’s crazy politics, Putin’s war, the price of oil and gas, getting an abortion in the USA (Italy has issues with this, too), China’s odd Covid lockdown policy, and so on.
So that’s what the EasyItalianNews.com team include in their bulletins.
Last week I mentioned Trump in an article, so got some crazy guy writing to wish me luck surviving the Great Reset. He was shocked when I replied, very rudely, so unsubscribed.
There, madam, even conspiracy theorists can find the Unsubscribe button.
Tuesday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news is waiting for you to read/listen to.
It’s FREE. Here’s the link. You have to click it.
P.P.S. Don’t forget – 4 Half-Price ‘Ebooks of the Week’!
Don’t forget the four half-price ‘Ebooks of the Week’, which are currently visible on the home page of our ebooks shop.
As I mentioned on Monday, there’s one title at each level from A1 to B2.
One is a basic ‘easy reader’, one’s the simplified version of a very cryptic classic of Italian literature, one’s a parallel text (no audio or exercises, but comes with an English translation), and one’s the simplified story of a classic Italian movie.
So plenty of options to explore!
Be sure to check that the level and format is suitable BEFORE treating yourself to a copy. You can do that by downloading, and looking carefully at, the free sample chapters.
- Yue a Bologna (A1) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
- Italian/English Parallel Text: La montagna (A2) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
- Roma città aperta (B1) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
- Uno, nessuno e centomila (B2) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
And there are masses more options (though they’re not half-price) on our Catalog page, all also with free sample chapters.
How do I access my ebooks?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your 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, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?