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Friday, June 25, 2010

RAI Radio App for Ipod Touch/Iphone

It's about time that RAI finally came up with an app for their radio content!

I found it in the App Store last night while I was winding down from my long day. The app works pretty well for the most part, and you can listen live to many of RAI's stations (although, I find that live listening works better on ooTunes). The great thing about this app is that is keys you into all the podcasts, allowing you to listen to many of the podcasts on RAI 1, 2 or 3. I'm really impressed with the app (although there is room for improvement!).

Listening to the radio, while it's challenging and difficult for many, is a great way to learn new words and to practice your listening comprehension. The fast pace of speaking takes time to understand, but the more that you practice listening, the better you will be at it.

If you're interested in downloading the app (it's free, by the way), click here.

RAI's smartphone page is here ("Tutta la radio in tasca!").

I wrote a short review of the app on Appolicious -- you can read that by clicking here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Learning about history and improving your Italian with historycast

historycast is a cool podcast that explores various topics in history, from the Black Plague to the Etruscans to the injustices committed against Sacco and Vanzetti. The podcasts are beautifully and expertly done, and you are not only bound to improve your Italian but learn about historical topics on Italy as well as around the world. Some of the best podcasts are those that not only teach you new words and helps with your listening comprehension but also helps you to learn about history all at the same time. Read about them "Presentazione" to learn what they are all about -- it shows you the quality of the podcast that they have put together!

They have a popular blog, too, and the podcasts can be downloaded from their web site, via RSS feed or through the Itunes store. Simply search for "historycast" in the Itunes store to download their history lessons for free!

Check out their active and popular Facebook group, too!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ad alta voce

One of my favorite Italian programs is Ad Alta Voce, a radio program on Rai Radio 3 in which you can listen to some of great works of literature read aloud. Recently, I found a recording of Leonardo Sciascia's Il giorno della civetta, and I was able to listen to the book and read it while it was being read to me. Listening while reading is a great way to hone your listening skills while at the same time enjoying some of the many jewels of Italian literature.

There are dozens of others titles, too, and you can listen to them directly from the web page for Ad Alta Voce (this link has the complete listing) or via (I find that works best in IE, but that's just my own opinion/experience). If reading and listening to Italian literature is daunting, there are several titles that are translated from English into Italian that might help to provide some context to what you are reading. It shouldn't be too difficult to decipher which of the titles are English ones.

Below is a partial list of some Italian classics that are my favorites -- I find listening with the book makes for a better experience. I've linked the titles of the books to the Internet Bookshop Italia:

Il deserto della Libia
Il cavaliere inesistente
Le sorelle Materassi
L'isola di Arturo
La luna e i falò
Una storia semplice
Il giorno della civetta
Diceria dell'untore
Il giornalino di Giamburrasca
Amore e ginnastica
Il barone rampante
Il giardino dei Finzi Contini
Il mare non bagna Napoli