The ‘Mini-Book Club‘ is off to a flying start. Thanks to everyone who has joined us to read ‘Pinocchio’, either in the original version (available free online) or using our simplified ‘easy reader’ version.
The former is free (there are tips on where to find it on the ‘Mini-Book Club‘ page). The latter is not free – selling ebooks and online lessons is how the club pays its bills and keeps our teachers and writers in work (why not browse our online shop?)
TO MY SHAME I have not found any time, the entire week, for language learning – meaning I haven’t read anything more of ‘Pinocchio’ (I did the first three or four chapters of the original a few weeks back) and, due to the lockdown, I’m doing a lot less listening practice and reading in any of my languages.
Someone wrote to me this week saying that he did a lot of his language-learning while standing around waiting for his wife to come out of shops, etc. It was the same for me – I was always on buses, or sitting at the reception of our Italian language school – and so often had time to kill which I would spend listening to news bulletins or reading.
And yet now, working at home, the day seems to go on for at least twelve hours, plus there are two meals to prepare, dishes to wash, supermarkets to shop (my only escape from the house), and so on. There never seems to be a moment to spare!
The only thing I’ve managed to maintain is my online lessons – yesterday I did thirty minutes of conversation in Swedish, this morning an hour of chatting in Turkish, and this afternoon – this is the one I always feel guilty about – thirty minutes in Spanish.
Why guilty? Because my Spanish is close to zero. I did a few months of Duolingo, but that was another thing that fell by the wayside when I became a homeworker cum househusband.
I keep meaning to read/listen to some of our Spanish ebooks or spend some proper time going over the grammar and doing the listenings on one of our Spanish websites ( http://dontspeakspanish.com/ & http://onlinespanishclub.com/ ) but… life just gets in the way.
And then I start my Friday-afternoon thirty minutes with the nice lady from Mexico and I’m all tongue-tied, can’t say anything, and so am annoyed at myself for not having made the most of the opportunity.
But THEN, I think, well I could have just stopped with the lessons, too, right? And how would that have helped the situation?
So OK, it might be embarassing not being able to say what I want and having no idea whatsoever of how to conjugate even the simplest verbs, but I am actually having a weekly interaction with a Spanish native speaker, mostly in Spanish, and I do understand most of what she’s saying to me and am sometimes/often able to respond appropriately.
The verbs are terra incognita, but the conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions, plus a lot of vocabulary are becoming more familiar and easier to access. Above all, I’m piling up EXPERIENCE of communicating, albeit embarassingly badly.
Before I started my Spanish lessons, just a few months back, I’d never uttered a word in that language in my life. Whereas now, basic conversations are not beyond me.
If not grammar, at least I have confidence. Were I to be in Spain on holiday (as originally planned but now probably cancelled…), I would have no fear, at least of trying to speak. And would have a good shot at understanding what people were saying to me.
So there – I reassure myself – it’s true that you could have done so much more. But equally true that you could have quit, yet didn’t.
It’s International Workers’ Day, remember? And working is something you’ve done plenty of over the decades.
So stop feeling bad and go have a beer.
A reminder about our new, beginner/elementary-level (A1/2) ‘easy Italian reader’ ebook, the first in a series of simplified versions of classic Italian literature.
‘Le avventure di Pinocchio‘ is Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s story of a talking puppet running riot, here much simplified and shortened for students of Italian!
Le avventure di Pinocchio is on offer until next Tuesday night at the special launch price of just £5.99 (subsequently £7.99.)
There’s a free sample chapter (.pdf) so you can get an idea of the level, length and format of this ebook BEFORE you buy, so as to decide whether it will be suitable for you at your current level in Italian.
If not, there are plenty of other options on our Catalog page, where you’ll find all our ebooks listed by type and level.
As I mentioned on Wednesday, the default ebook format is .pdf (printable and readable on most devices), but this story, like many of our ebooks, is also available in .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) formats.
If you want one or both of these other formats as well, at no additional cost, just ask me – there’s a space on the order form to add a note.
Or email. “Dear Daniel” is fine – don’t bother with “Dear Sir/Madam” – I read and answer emails myself.
Thursday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news is here.
Reading/listening to it will do you good, especially if you make it a habit and keep at it for a few months.
It’s also free, so why not?
Subscribing is free too. It takes a few seconds, and that way you’ll receive the thrice-weekly bulletin directly into your inbox, so don’t have to remember to visit the website.
A lunedì, allora.