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Monday, May 24, 2010

Repubblica Domani

A comment that I hear often from readers of my blog is that it is difficult for them to listen to a sixty-minute podcast or to watch 45-60 minutes of Italian television. I "feel" their pain -- it's difficult to find the time in the day. It can also be frustrating to listen to something and not understand much and become easily discouraged.

And I present to you Repubblica Domani. This is a short video that is done by the staff of La Repubblica which is a meeting between various correspondents, reporters and journalists that run the newsroom. They do their best to go over the main important news points of the day, covering not only events happening outside Italy but also domestic news, political affairs, the economy, sport and culture. The program is on the short side and varies between 5 to 10 minutes. At the start of each video, there's a summary of what will be discussed with photos so it helps to give you some context of what you will be hearing.

La Repubblica is also one of the few "independent" news outlets in Italy which generally does a good job providing balanced and fair coverage.

Below I've embedded the episode from Monday, May 24, 2010. To see the latest episode as well as the current list of episodes, click here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

L'Italiano in famiglia

L'Italiano in famiglia

Today, I learned about this Italian resource from the blog, The Smiling Eggplant -- a TV show centered around a family living in Brescia that helps you to learn Italian. It is called "L'Italiano in famiglia," and it follows the daily life of the Frappani family. It was designed to help Italians living in South Africa retain their Italian and most probably was designed for young children or young adults who might lose some of their language skills living in a country where Italian is not the official language.

I listened and watched the latest episode and was pleasantly surprised and impressed. After watching the video, there are exercises, grammar explanations, a listing of some important vocabulary in which you can click the pictures and hear them pronounced (again), games to play to practice the language, as well as a recap of lessons learned from the two teachers, Manuel and Patrizia, which not only will help you learn new words and understand the language better but also understand the key points of the episode watched.

You can also download the episodes as podcasts as well as get a print out of the dialogue.

One of the things that I like most about the site is how well it works. It's a Flash driven site that has pop-ups which contain pdf's and games and other useful tools. Currently, there are 20 episodes! Hopefully, they will be producing more of them!

My own criticism is that sometimes the dialog seemed odd and a bit forced, but if you can get past that little bit of "corniness" of the dialog, it really can be useful in improving your listening comprehension. The actors speak at a fairly slow pace by Italian standards, and even I thought that they spoke slower than normal.

If you use the program, leave a comment and let me know what you think!