As the summer approaches (or winter, as is the case with our friends in the southern hemisphere), I want to remind everyone that it is important to practice your listening skills in Italian as much as it is studying grammar and vocabulary. Learning all the words that you can and knowing all the rules will only get you so far -- all that knowledge will get you nowhere if you can't understand the Italian being spoken to you.
I implore and encourage all of you to spend this summer listening (and speaking whenever you can). During the American summer, a number of Italian classes adjourn for the summer - especially if you're at university or taking classes in a school. While your structured learning may end, you can still be learning on your own, and you'll be surprised how much you can improve your Italian simply by listening! Listening can be enjoyable, and there are a lot of options out there for everyone's tastes. If you like sports, there's no end to the podcasts and programs that you can listen to and watch. If you like art and culture or movies there is also a lot on offer. No matter what your tastes, find something that you like and listen, listen, listen! By listening to programs or podcasts about subjects that you know, you'll have some context about what is being said and that can really help as you listen and learn.
I recently purchased an Ipod Touch, and it has to be one of the coolest gadgets that I've ever purchased. I'm not a gadget fiend, but I really like the possibilities that this device can have for learning and listening. If you have an Iphone or Ipod Touch, there are lots of possibilities in the way of apps and podcasts that you can download. Now there's no excuse for not listening - next time you head out for a coffee or are sitting on the plane, whip out your Ipod and listen to those podcasts or stream some audio from an Italian radio station.
If you know of a program/podcasts or other online media, leave a comment. Also, if you've listened to any of the content below or have a comment about your experiences learning and listening, please leave a comment -- I like to know how people listen and study Italian.
Have a great summer!
Useful Ipod Touch/Iphone Apps:
- Wunder Radio
- Radio DeeJay
(I know that many Italian programs adjourn for the summer, but many of the sites have archives of past programs that you could listen to)
Favorite Rai.Tv programs: