One purpose of these emailed articles is to suggest HOW to learn, and to recommend including activities like reading and listening in your study program, which people tend not to, unless nagged.
And that is best done in English, trust me. Yet I regularly get emails like this:
With regret I am thinking of cancelling my subscription to your club. When I joined I expected to receive regular notes in Italian about how to improve my knowledge of the language. Instead I am bombarded with what amounts to a personal blog in English. The only part which is of interest is the links to the modified readers and news articles (which are good). Would it be possible to just send these with just a small amount of information if it is necessary to help your readers to access them? Preferably in Italian?
But WHERE on our ‘Join’ page does it say that these emailed articles would be in Italian? If they were, no one would read them. And anyway, there are MILLIONS OF ITALIANS who write in Italian.
On the ‘Join’ page people are specifically encouraged to review previous emailed articles BEFORE adding their email to the list, like this:
Still not sure? Check out our archive of past articles
This was my reply to the regretful lady:
The thousands of pages on the website are not helpful to you, (stupid person’s name)? The new 30-part Rome series? My articles are designed to draw attention to them. I write over 150 each year and many of the readers are my friends. But of course, if you have something better to do with your time you should please go ahead and unsubscribe.
I have never written in Italian and never will on this website. That’s because no one would read it. The free thirty-part ‘Storia di roma’ material for example, is completely in Italian but attracts very few users, mostly the advanced students who have been happily reading my ‘personal blog’ for many years.
Most people are nice, but when I open an email from a club member (I get dozens each day) I never know when it’s going to be from someone like that. Which can be dispiriting.
Sometimes I just have to laugh, though.
Another reply to Friday’s, admittedly rather technical article on the problems caused by iPhones, ‘iPhone user? Please try again‘, was this:
I do not use Iphone. What do I do next?
to which I could think of nothing better to reply than
Click something. It’ll work.
Oh yes, and there was Friday’s spelling mistake, also mentioned by the stupid lady in a snide P.S.
By the way, I think you’ll find that iPhones are the bane (source of misery) of your life, not a French bath.
I raise my hands in surrender – I confess, I typed ‘bain’ instead of ‘bane’. And French baths didn’t come into it. Since I had a stroke a few years back, I’ve been particularly prone to homophones popping up where they shouldn’t – ‘their’ and ‘there’, ‘bear’ and ‘bare’ – you get the idea. And spellcheckers don’t help with those, not that I ever use a spellchecker. It’s laborious because of the British/American English thing (there’s no ‘somewhere in the middle, please’ option) and because my writing often contains Italian words.
I write a hundred and fifty articles like this one each year, some of them very long. Each one is proof-read carefully before publication. Then the mailing system sends it out automatically. And then, once it’s too late and fifteen thousand people have already received my words, I notice that, during a fuzzy brain moment, I wrote ‘bare with me when I right that stupid people are the bain of my life’ or similar.
Do email to point out the spelling mistakes. I appreciate it, and always fix them immediately ON THE WEBSITE, because of course it’s two late for the mailed-out version. But bare in mind please that ‘proper’ righters have editors and professional proof-readers to help them. And that they don’t typically work to a schedule of three articles a week, fifty-two weeks a year. And that they get paid.
Imagine if I had to write in Italian, to boot? I’d be hear all day. Though I wood certainly rely on a spellchecker then (at least Italian doesn’t have many homophones…)
Many congratulations to Simeon, who has finished ‘I promessi sposi‘ (scroll right down to the bottom to read what he writes, and other recent comments).
Also, to Patricia, who I remember as once being a near-beginner in Italian but who has now completed this challenging (and extremely long) read, in ITALIAN. They are rightly pleased with themselves, as am I, for having encouraged them to try.
Our club is not an app, like Duolingo. It is supposed to be something very different from that, something more personal, through which connections can be made, something that evolves over time, something that hopefully adds value to the lives of those who are willing to engage with it.
That’s why I called it a ‘club’. If that’s not most people’s cup of tee, then sew be it, I’m fine with that.
Did you watch the ‘Spartacus’ TV series on Netflix a few years back? Swords, sand and sandals (also quite a lot of sex…) It wasn’t that great, and wasn’t in Italian either (sorry!), but if you like gladiators and glistening torsos, you might want to take a look.
Well anyway, we’ve finally got to that part in ‘La storia di Roma‘, though disappointingly Spartacus only gets a passing mention, the real stars being… well why not take a look-see?
N.b. Francesca, the writer of this series, and of some of our easy readers, mentions Asterix the Gaul (Cesare was the featured villain in this legendary comic book), which she quite wrongly describes as having been published in the ‘nineties.
I remember reading it in the ‘seventies, so I knew that was incorrect, but we’d already done the audio recording, so I’ve left it as it is.
Wikipedia says that the French consider this iconoclastic marvel to be ‘the 23rd greatest book of the 20th century’, and that it was first published in 1959.
No need, then, to write inn when you spot that error.