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Friday, September 26, 2008

Radio Arlecchino

If you're looking to brush up on your Italian or become more familiar with some of the subtleties of the language, I encourage you to check out Radio Arlecchino. This blog of podcasts contains lessons on specific grammar points in Italian (check out the lesson on the passato prossimo/imperfetto -- it is one of my favorites ones, and you'll learn a lot!).

Radio Arlecchino is a product of the University of Texas at Austin and was developed by their Italian faculty and language assistants. It's a pretty innovative program that hopefully more universities will adapt!

One of the great things about this site is that:
  1. You can listen to the mp3 files directly from the site or you can download them to your computer (and put them on your Ipod or other portable music device)
  2. There are pdf transcripts and grammar explanations that you can also download
Currently, there are 18 lessons and hopefully in the future there will be more lessons. Test drive the site and practice with some of their podcasts! If you know of any other schools or university that have created something like this, please leave a comment and let us know.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beppe Grillo

Anyone interested in Italian culture and current affairs in Italy certainly should be familiar with the Italian comedia turned social critic, Beppe Grillo.

Grillo is probably one of the Italian government's most harshest critics, and he uses his blog and ability to draw large crowds as a way of educating people about the abuses of power going on in his country. While the message of his blog can sometimes be controversial, his main motive is informing the people what their government is doing, has done and what they should and shouldn't be doing. It's a classic case of textbook activism that many others would be well to emulate.

Grillo's blog is a mixture of blog posts, videos and interviews. Many of his posts are translated into English, but the site is a great way to practice your Italian while at the same time learning about Italy, the political problems as well as the players involved in doing something about it. As a learning tool, you can practicing your read as well as your listening and listening comprehension skills. Some of the interviews are subtitled in Italian so if you have trouble understanding a certain speaker.

Beppe Grillo and his activities are often not reported by the mainstream Italian media so his site and foreign new site are best places to go to learn about him and his message.

Other links:
Beppe Grillo @ YouTube

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Radio Deeyjay

With the summer holidays in Italy coming to a close, many of the major radio and TV personalities will be returning to work...

With that in mind, I introduce you to one of my favorite Italian radio station, Radio Deejay.

Located in Milan, this radio station broadcasts all over Italy and has some unique programs and personalities. If you're not in Italy and still want to listen, you can listen to the station live through your PC with streaming audio.

The author/dj/actor Fabio Volo has his own show, Il Volo del mattino, on Radio Deejay that can also be downloaded as a podcast. Deejay chiama Italia is also a fun program, and one of Italy's most listened to radio programs! A full list of the shows is available on their web site, and these shows can be downloaded as podcasts and relistened to at your leisure. Many of the shows often interview important personalities in the Italian cultural and entertainment scene, and you can learn a lot about what is happening in Italy through listening to Italian radio. Also, many of the announcers also have their own blogs which can make for some interesting reading and can also be useful sources of information.

The radio is a good way to practice your listening skills because it's fast and furious. Radio tends to have a strict time schedule so the language, while a bit faster, is a great way to train your ear. Don't be dissuaded by the fact that everyone is "talking fast". Over time, you'll adapt, and the point is not translate what is being said word for word but to understand the jist of what is being said.

If Radio Deejay isn't your cup of tea, check out some of the other radio stations listed in the sidebar to the right.