Friday, January 16, 2009
New Year's resolutions: study Italian!
Maybe you don't even have a New Year's resolution. But maybe you do. Or just maybe I can convince you that your New Year's resolution should be to speak Italian fluently!
It's a good resolution for any number of reasons.
Knowing a language fluently gains you entree into its canon of literature, and I always find that alone allows me to escape my regular life. Feeling a little stressed, Ciambellina? Oh just curl up on the couch and read a little Italian.
(And just between us, by canon of literature I mean anything from the women's magazine Grazia to Dante's Divine Comedy, per intenderci.)
But whatever you're reading, I have two suggestions for where to invest a bit of money if you want to improve your Italian.
First, buy a subscription to Acquerello Italiano.
It's essentially a bi-monthly radio program in Italian that touches on politics, history, art and, of course, language. It reminds me of such National Public Radio shows in America as Fresh Air or All Things Considered.
I bought the subscription for Il Nostro Inviato a few years back, and bought myself a subscription to Puerta del Sol, the Spanish-language program.
You'll receive a CD in the mail every other month. One episode featured an interview with a Roman bread-maker, while another covered the re-election of Silvio Berlusconi. The program has also touched on little-known artists such as Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi, and famous pop singers like Eros Ramazzotti.
Avviso: the audiomagazine is not for the novice because the entire CD is in Italian, and the show moves along at a pretty fast pace. I don't think it's the same speed as say the nightly TG1 but you need to have some fluency.
But it's fun! You can listen to the CDs in the car -- that's what I did -- or put them on at home while you clean or cook.
A Nashville, Tenn. company called Champs Elysees produces the programs (it also sells French and German programs). Go here if you're interested: http://www.champs-elysees.com/
I'll tell you about the second option tomorrow.
Nelfrattempo buon studio!