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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Emons Audiolibri

In a previous post, I wrote how useful audiobooks can be for learning Italian because, if you have the book handy, you can follow along with the book while you listen to the person reading it to you. This is a great way to hear the language while reading along and allows you to hear the correct pronunciation of the words while at the same time enjoying some great literature. You can also easily re-listen to sections that you miss or even practice listening without the book. There are many ways that these books can be helpful in improving your listening and listening comprehension.

Today, I stumbled across Emons Audiolibri, an audiobook publisher in Italy. You can purchase their audiobooks online through Internet Bookshop Italia or through select bookstores that they have listed on their web site. If you're curious to hear the quality, you can listen to short excerpts of various books on their web site. I listened to a dozen selections and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and the fact that many of the authors who wrote the books (at least the more contemporary and recently published ones) read their own books. And I think that that can be an experience itself.

If you're worried about understanding or enjoying it because of your level of Italian, they also have a section for Children's/Young Adults, too. They also read Italian translation of some English classics as well as some Italian children's books. You can find out more about this from their web site.

If you want to learn more about them, check out their YouTube page that shows some of the "Behind the Scenes" action that goes on in producing the book along with interviews with some of the readers/authors.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Laterza's Podcasts on Italian history and more

If you enjoy history as much as I do or are simply looking for some podcasts in Italian that involve more than just learning grammar, then check out the podcast page from the Italian publishing house, Laterza. They have a wide variety of podcasts about Italian history with many podcasts about the history of Rome, all of which are given by important Italian scholars. The lessons can also be found on Itunes, too.

One of my favorite lessons is on the Fire of Rome during the reign of Nero! With all the different subjects and focuses, you're bound to find something that you like. If ancient Roman history doesn't appeal to you, there are also lessons on more modern topics.

The podcasts are about an hour, some longer, some shorter, and they probably require a fair bit of Italian comprehension to understand them. I advise listening to them in short parts, perhaps 10 minutes at a time and doing your best to understand the gist of what is being said. Try to understand what is being said and do not translate what you're hearing word for word. Focus on understanding, not on translating! If you hear a word you don't know, try writing it down and looking it up later. Stopping and starting the recording to find words will take the fun out of listening.

They also have a range of audiobooks, but they don't allow American customers to purchase at this time.