Category Archives: Learning Italian

Let’s hear it for Dante & Petrarch.



Elena Ferrante: ‘Anonymity lets me concentrate exclusively on writing’

Elena Ferrante is one of the most talked about novelists of recent years, with her biographical stories set in Naples – yet no one has ever met her. Deborah Orr talks to the enigmatic author, in an extract from the latest issue of the Gentlewoman

Source: Elena Ferrante: ‘Anonymity lets me concentrate exclusively on writing’

Word Banks: Keeping track of vocabulary

This is great. An excellent way to increase your vocabulary is to build connections, using as a starting point, the words that are most relevant to you . We all have different interests and therefore different needs when it comes to vocabulary. This tool is easy to use and a super point of reference. Thank you teknologic for sharing.

Word Banks: Keeping track of vocabulary.




BBC News – Foreign languages ‘shortfall’ for business, CBI says

It’s a never ending battle as UK kids find languages difficult and so shirk the challenge. This is not helped by “easy” grading in other, less useful, subjects which allows most entrants to gain A* with little effort. The problem is compounded by a constant stream of visiting speakers, including School Governors and Ofsted Inspectors who start their intro with a cheery, “Well you know, I was never any good at languages when I was at school.”

Fortunately, languages teachers are among the brightest, fun-loving people on the planet and always cool to be with.

BBC News – Foreign languages ‘shortfall’ for business, CBI says.

Vocabulary I never learnt at school

I have just discovered this surprising article on a local web newsletter, which keeps the stout burgers of Cisternino up-to-date with hip-hap-happening events

Among other things, I learnt the Italian term for “swingers”. I must admit, when I first read the headline about “un club per scambisti” I had in mind a completely different sexual orientation indeed. It was with a limp sense of anti-climax, as it were, that I discovered that the article referred to that old hat habit of wife-swapping (before it was politically corrected to “partner swapping”).

What I really enjoyed about the article was the pretend shock horror of the risqué goings on in, of all places, Martina Franca, the racy, all things go, neighbour of our beloved old maid, Cisternino. The location of the club, for example, is “not far from the city centre” and then we are helpfully told, “in Via Ceglie”, just in case you were wondering. The real clincher though, is the tits and bums banner that accompanies the article, in true ooh-err-missus style. I am reminded of a Rowan Atkinson sketch which I adapt without apology: “We must be salacious. We must not be salaciousless. We must not be accused of salaciouslessness. We must, above all, be salaciouslessnessless ! Max Clifford where are you? On second thoughts, don’t answer that !

Using songs for learning

Here is an activity for beginners:

Your first task is to produce vocabulary lists in English and Italian from the video you are about to watch. Use a dictionary when needed:

  • How many different colours do you see ?
  • Which items of furniture or everyday objects do you see in the flat ?
  • What clothes do the characters wear ?
  • List the names of rooms in the flat.
  • What is in the fridge ?
  • Make a verb list of all of the different activities the characters do, eg) wake up, get up, read, watch, open. Keep this simple if you are not sure at this stage how verbs work in Italian.
  • Finally, for the more adventurous, your second task is to use all of these words, or as many as you can, to try to create a story board for this video. For this, you may definitely need help so don’t be afraid to ask.

Enjoy the video:

Do let me know how you get on.