Today’s free Italian listening (with transcript and NEW task) is on the “Si impersonale“.
Click here to go right to it.
The grammar is pretty self-explanatory, being similar in meaning to the English passive form.
The listening itself is quite hard though, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t understand that much at your first attempt.
Try to answer the comprehension questions.
Keep listening, again and again, until you piece the clues together and have answers to all five.
When you’re done, scroll down to check the solutions.
To understand better the parts you didn’t get, read the transcript. Use a dictionary if you must.
For an ‘approfondimento’ of the grammar, check what’s available under ‘si’ in our Italian grammar index.
And finally, listen again one more time, with or without the transcript according to your preference.
It’s a nice way to finish, and will help consolidate what you’ve learnt.
Here’s that link again:
– – Texas road trip update – –
I’m writing this in the usual side-of-an-interstate motel, but today we’re in Houston, Tx.
“Houston, abbiamo un problema!”
Or should that be ‘una problema’?
Actually, no, everything is fine.
We’ve just had dinner in an Italian chain restaurant called ‘Olive Garden’, a favourite of the night clerk in the previous motel we stayed at.
I admit I was pretty sniffy when she suggested it, but there you go.
O.K., this is Italian-ish food, but good anyway.
We started with soups (cooked on the premises today!) which were hearty and inexpensive.
Then I had the “Tuscan steak”, my first steak since arriving in the New World.
Sorry, but no way was that hunk of meat imported from Italy!
It was much too tender, and half the price I’d have paid in Bologna.
So that’s Houston so far.
Tomrrow we plan to visit the Space Center.
But let me tell you about yesterday.
We set off from San Antonio heading for Fredricksburg, a small town in the Texas hill country with a very effective tourist board…
After half an hour, the billboards and roadside fast-food places disappeared and we found ourselves driving through countryside which could, at a stretch, have been Tuscany or Devon (the area of south-west England that I hail from originally.)
That is to say, gently-rolling green hills with a nice view each time you get to the top of one.
At one point a sign bosted you could see for twenty-five miles, with not a truck-stop or drive-in anywhere.
The traffic was light so I was able to look at the wildlife, dead by the side of the road.
My first sighting was of an armadillo.
Think ‘large armour-plated rat’ and you’ll be close enough.
Or click here to see a picture.
The one I saw was flatter.
A few minutes later we passed an expired raccooon.
I was getting quite excited but then we arrived in Fredricksburg.
The town was founded by German settlers, and we’d previously visited other Texan towns with similar roots.
So I skipped the history this time and, on writer Paula Reynolds‘ advice, headed for the Old German Bakery, where we had lunch.
I was hungry, so chose the ‘sausage plate’, three types of sausages with sauerkraut and pan-fried potatoes. My much-more sensible daughter had the salad…
After lunch she went to get chatted up by the guy in the ice-cream shop, while I spent a couple of hours in the National Museum of the Pacific War, an unexpected find so far from the Pacific, or indeed from any body of water at all.
The museum is packed with interesting exhibits and stories, perhaps too much so, as I got confused quickly.
That said, where else in Texas would you see a full-size submarine surfacing in a flower bed?
(Really! Click this link and look at the right-hand side of the picture…)
Leaving Fredricksburg we headed to Kerrville, Tx, to meet up with Paula and her husband, Marty, both keen italophiles and students of the language.
We sat out on their deck for a while and snacked on tortilla chips.
Their house is at the top of a hill, cooled by fresh breezes and with a view out over a tree-lined valley.
On the way up in the car, we’d noticed large birds gliding and hovering in the air currents.
I wondered whether they might be vultures, as seen in many a western movie, but they did seem a little on the small side…
Marty told me they were buzzards, which are easy to recognise as they have distinctive ‘fingers’ at the end of each wing.
From their deck, Paula and Marty often see white tailed deer.
Sadly, none made an appearance while I was drinking my beer, though the neighbour’s cat came around to check us out.
And Marty told me about the armadillo in his yard, which has been digging everything up, like a mole does.
He’s bought a special cage, so as to be able to catch it when it surfaces from one of its tunnels, then relocate it.
Apparently though, if you want to get rid of an armadillo, it’s not enough to just catch it and chuck it over the fence onto your neighbour’s property.
These critters are the homing pigeons of the armour-plated rat community, and so need to be driven five miles away before being released.
Preferably not in a site adjacent to a main road…
After the drinks, we decided to go eat in a local Mexican place.
Driving down the hill, two deer crossed the road, right in front of us!
We stopped and Sofia took photos.
The restaurant was great, too – the best Mexican food we’ve eaten, sitting outside, with a view over a creek.
While we ate, I saw a heron or a crane (not sure which).
And fireflies, which was a first.
It was an hour-long drive back through the dark to San Antonio, so we looked up at the stars to pass the time.
Sofia remarked that she now better understood the words of a song she’d heard, Deep In The Heart Of Texas.
The stars at night, are big and bright,
deep in the heart of Texas,
The prairie sky is wide and high…
How lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world!
Catherine Makem Stock says
I am so happy that you are enjoying your visit to the Lone Star State. I have visited Texas several times the first in 1993 when I went to Galveston and saw a documentary of the Famous Hurricane that devastated the entire town. There are really good books about it and I have read several.
I live in the Keystone State (Pennsylvania) very close to Philly where I was born and grew up. I go into center city every Wednesday by public transportation (free now that I am a senior citizen) and attend Italian class at the America Italy Society. Our teachers are all natives and we are getting a new teacher because the one whom we have had for several semester and really like is moving back to Italy.
I was a French and then Spanish teacher and 5 years ago my husband and I went to Italy with alumni from Temple University where I received an M. Ed. back in 1977. We went to Puglia and had a wonderful time, but I wanted to be able to say more than Grazie and Buongiorno, so I found AIS on the web.
Our teacher keeps telling us to listen listen listen so that is why I am signing up for this website. Even though I am retired I do a lot and your site seems geared to what I want to be able to do: ascoltare e capire!
If you ever come to Philadelphia I am a wonderful free tour guide and I can promise you that you can enjoy excellent Italian food at wonderful little mom and pop places in South Philadelphia as I did when I was a French and Spanish teacher at St. Maria Goretti HS in the late ’80s. There is also an Italian market that spans several streets where my mother bought her wedding cake at Isgro’s Bakery in 1946 and I did the same in 1981. Unfortunately that marriage did not last but I have been happily married since 1998!
I look forward to listening to the passages and making some progress even at my advanced age!
Nice to hear from you. If I ever come to Philadelphia, I’ll be sure to take you up on your invite!
I agree with your teacher – listening (and reading) is one of the best things you can do!
Keep up the good work.