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Parola del Giorno | ILGUR | Italy in Literature

Monday, November 22, 2010


Screenshot of ziePOD on my Desktop
While not strictly an "Italian resource," I always like to identify programs and applications that can be helpful in aggregating your podcasts.  One such program is called ziePod (  This easy to use resource is a great way to organize your podcasts -- it downloads them automatically if you want or you can set it up so that it alerts you to new podcasts.  Don't want to clutter your PC with podcast files?  You can also stream them and listen to them on your laptop, desktop or netbook!

I have a small netbook as my primary PC, and this little program doesn't use a lot of resources nor does it slow down my computer.  Another nifty feature -- the program is "smart" in that all you have to do is copy the podcast feed address, and when you go to activate the subscription, it grabs the feed "automatically" from the clipboard.

ziePOD also has support for Ipods, too.

Remember how important it is to practice not only your Italian grammar (conjugating verbs, using pronouns, etc.) but also your listening comprehension!  A great thing about ziePOD is that it provides a summary of the podcast (when provided by the person/people who produced the podcast) and displays it prominently (unlike iTunes which makes it more complicated to read/find).  Reading the summary first can provide with valuable context clues about what you will be listening to and make understanding new words easier.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Short videos for short attention spans

Ciao a tutti!

I want to use this post to put you onto the idea of learning with short videos. Today, while I was on my break at work, I listened to some short videos about nutrition. These informative videos not only were interesting and full of great information, but they were also short enough so that I could watch them in the small amount of time I had.

A comment that I hear a lot from people is that videos and podcasts are just too long.  How many of us have an hour or two a day to just sit and listen, especially when the listening requires so much concentration.  Attention spans are shorter now for a variety of reasons, many of them no fault of our own.  So what better way to practice your Italian than with these short five minute videos from Corriere TV.

I think one of the most difficult parts of learning Italian is listening comprehension, especially when you want to comprehend what is being said at native level speeds.  I think it's important to remember that people you meet in shops, on the streets, etc. won't necessarily take it down a notch, especially if they are pressed for time.  In other words, these short films are just long enough to capture our attentions while helping us improve our listening at the same time.

As always, do not be discouraged by words that you don't know -- with the videos, you also have visual clues, too.  Make use of all your senses as you practice your listening comprehension -- context really helps!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There's no better way to learn Italian than when you do it with food, and good at that!  Check out this site which features tons of videos (all in Italian) about Italian cooking, wine, and food preparation.  There are also videos about specific Italian regional cuisines as well as videos about non-Italian dishes and more.  Many of the videos appear to be done in the kitchens of restaurants in various regions of Italy, and it's interesting to listen to the different Italian accents in the videos.  That is also something that is difficult to practice.

I think that many of the video recipes are pretty easy to follow even if you don't know any Italian.  Or if you get stumped and do not know what something means, just watch the person as they cook, and it should be easy enough to deduce what they are doing.

Lately, I've been a bit obsessed with "la cucina pugliese" so I've embedded a video that shows you how to make a typical Puglian dish! Buon appetito!

(just hover over the video and click on the "play" button to watch)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Screenshot of the Iphone app
Doing a program about technology and technology trends is difficult to produce and maintain because it is an environment that is constantly changing.  There have been many programs that have come and gone over the past few years, but this program has lasted and is well produced.  Digitalia is a project that was realized by Franco Solerio, with the help of Carlo Becchi and Massimo De Santo, that focuses on technology and those who love learning about and using technology.  What I enjoy most about the show is that it is not just a dry summation of the technology out there:  the show also explores how technology impacts and affects our everyday lives which makes the program more appealing.

This program is one of the most popular Italian podcasts and has been one of the Itunes/Apple staff favorites for months.  The show has built up quite a following of listeners who call themselves digitaliani.  This community not only supports the program financially but also in a participatory fashion using Twitter (#digitalia), where users discuss, debate and share their opinions and feedback on the various puntate.

New episodes are live every Tuesday evening from 9:30pm to 11:00pm (Italian time) with the podcast following soon after -- so if you can't catch the live show, you can download the podcast of the show at your leisure.  On the web site, there are always links to topics discussed in the podcasts as well as links to emerging technology and gadgets that might be of interest to you.

The sound quality of the podcast is excellent, and it is a great way to improve your Italian listening skills, learn new words related to technology as well as learn about trends in the world of technology and the web.

Apps for both iOS and Android operating systems are also available so that you can listen to Digitalia on the go -- you can find the links to the apps below.  I can't speak for the Android app, but the iPhone app works great (and is free!), and I always enjoy listening to their podcasts while I work:

Their RSS feed: