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      If you want to read this article in Italian, go here: https://goo.gl/Xc5Mo4 As you are reading the following text, from any device you’re doing it, and regardless of your background, I invite you to do a little experiment with me. Imagine for a moment that you are in a beautiful place. What is it? Think about it [...]
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Can you learn Italian with FUMETTI? ;-)

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 14 maggio 2014

You may be one of those people who believes that to learn a language you absolutely need books that teach you either  grammar, or the proper way of speaking the language… or you may be not! I can’t know whether you are one of those people or not because you are on the other side of what I am writing right now: you are reading it. But, just for a moment, imagine that you could acquire the language, by doing something that - by doing it - will let you have fun and don’t ever think that you are “working” to learn. Are you interested in this? I don’t know if you are. What I do know is that…


Today I’d like to tell you a story of a boy who loved to read comic books so much that he was sometimes immersed in them… He started like most of us with Topolino (Mickey Mouse), Paperino (Donald Duck) and company…then he moved into l’Uomo Ragno (Spiderman), Superman and superhero comics…passing through Bonelli comics (Dylan Dog, Zagor, Martin Mystère, etc)… It was another world that for the duration of the “fumetto” allowed him to suspend disbelief, expand his fantasy and enjoy the time he spent like that . There were no computers (or at least he didn’t own one at that time),  tv was not so entertaining…but comic books were. Although in some periods of his life he stopped reading comics, from time to time he got back there in that fantasy world that allowed him to temporarily escape from the ordinary world and fly with fantasy. A thing that the boy didn’t know was that through those comic boos he learned a lot… He learned how to spell words, he learned new vocabulary, he learned so much (also) through them, that he became the man that he is today… He also learned to read them in another language…and enjoyed understanding them in a language that wasn’t his own mother tongue… By the time he managed to read comic books in a foreign language he was 26; after all he started learning that foreign language when he was 24…

Well… That grown up boy still enjoys reading comics… not so many like in the past… Sometimes he likes reading some comic books for mature readers (such as “Y the last man“), sometimes he reads Smarter Comics (http://www.smartercomics.com/), such as Think and Grow rich (by Napoleon Hill) or Influence (by  Robert Cialdini)…. And other times he likes reading il Grande Diabolik (the criminal hero that we have here in Italy and that many of my advanced students know;-)… Recently he rediscovered Zagor, a comic book that a cousin of his (ciao Aurelio!) introduced him to about 30 years ago (well… he is 38 years young now!)… and thanks to the “Collezione Storica a colori” he is reading Zagor again.


But why am I telling you this story and why am I talking about comics today?

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may know that comics, especially the ones that have an audio adaptation can be used to learn a language.

When about 10 years ago I started using one of my passions to teach Italian in the school I was teaching, the director asked me:” What? You are teaching Italian through comic books? Is that even possible?”

I told him: “Look at the results”… By the time the story in the comic book was over, I had asked the students so many questions (in Italian!)…They had answered them (in Italian!)… They had retold me the story…. and they had enjoyed their time just by listening  and reading a nice and compelling story! I proceeded in this order: I let them listen first, ask questions, let them answer (of course! ;-), then listen while reading and looking at the pictures, ask other questions or let them retell me the story…

After so many years that  I’ve ALSO  been using this approach to let my students improve they listening and speaking skills, I am happy to tell you that Alma Edizioni has recently published some comic books with multimedia video (or audio if you close your eyes and just listen!)… And they are graded  according to your level!

Here you have a preview of one of them:

Habemus Papam TRAILER from Alma Edizioni on Vimeo.

I also watched a video that some Japanese students have created with  their own adaptation of the Alma Edizioni fumetti… To do that, they had to read, listen, understand and express themselves in Italian… By doing this, they had a lot of exposure to comprehensible input…

And if you still think that comic books cannot be used to learn a language, you may have forgotten what I wrote about Stephen Krashen in this article… (in Italian: http://tinyurl.com/l3p9jvm ) Do you remember what he told about the word bouillabaisse in his “The power or reading”?

To end this article I just have to tell you that, if you haven’t realized it yet, I am the boy of the story I told you a few lines before…

I still read comics… in my own language and in English… And I learn a lot, while having fun! And you? Why don’t you do it? ;-)


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