Speak Italian Magically!

Relax! You can learn Italian now!

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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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All about Speak Italian Magically, the episodes and the method.

Improve your Italian with frustration!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 4 giugno 2012

Immagine da 123rfWhat can you do to improve your Italian? Cosa puoi fare per migliorare il tuo italiano?
What do you think? If you just take your time to ponder the above question, what would you answer?
If I ask this to some of my students, they would answer that they should come to Italy and spend their whole time here in Italy, so that they could be immersed in the language. Others think that they should do something fun in Italian. Others think that they should start and think in ItalianAnd you what do you think you need to do in order to improve your Italian?
What’s my take on this?

Every time we learn something we have some frustration in the learning process and  that’s part of it. When we feel frustrated about a thing we want to learn we have at least two choices. Do you know what they are? As in general with every occurrence in our life, we have the opportunity to fight or…flight. That’s a natural response that we usually have. We could get discouraged at the first difficulty or we could fight to “overcome the moment” (superare il momento). Sometimes when we get frustrated in doing or learning something, that’s the moment when we need to persevere, because if we do it, we’ll realize that the learning will occur. If we just give up, we could end up installing in ourselves the belief that we may not be able to do it. And it’s all about beliefs, if we don’t believe we can do a thing, we wouldn’t even try to make it possible. So, in my opinion, when we get frustrated we have the opportunity to go for a third choice: increase the frustration! Mmmmhhhhh….You may think: what do you mean,  Antonio?

One of my favorite authors, Ed Strachar, says that if we add some overwhelming activity in our learning, then when we go and do the task in the real situation, we’ll end up by finding it very easy! But, what about immersion, what has frustration to do with immersion? If you are in a foreign Country, if you are in Italy and in a city where no one speaks your mother tongue, you are in that situation where you NEED to speak Italian, and you can choose to “fight” (to make every effort to understand what Italians with their gestures are telling you;-), or to flight (to fly back home).

Mmmmmmhhhh…Do you need to come over here to be immersed in the Italian language? Not really, thanks to mp3 readers and internet! You can create your Italian environment at your home, wherever you are and you can have FUN (which is the second most common answers I get to the question I asked at the beginning of this post) in doing this!

How could you increase the useful frustration in order to learn Italian faster? Well, you know that Italians speak Italian fast…What if they spoke even faster? Would you understand them? Well, that’s a fun challenge, isn’t it? It could bring the kind of positive frustration you need in order to be able to easily understand real time spoken Italian. Because if you start and work with faster spoken Italian, you’ll get to a point where you’ll start to understand that faster Italian and when you’ll be exposed to real time Italian, you’ll find it so easy, that you will think: “What on earth has happened? I totally understand it and I don’t even have to translate it in my mother tongue…I think in Italian!” (which is the third most common answer I get to the question at the beginning of this post)

At this point you may be asking yourself, that’s a good idea, but how can I manage to listen to faster-than-normal Italian? If you are reading this blog, you have a PC, or a tablet, haven’t you?
If you have a PC, there’s a free resource used by musicians who want to improve their skills. It’s Best Practice (Google for it). If you have an android device, there’s a free app that works wonder on your audio files, its name is Audio Speed Changer (you can find it on the Play store). And if you have an Ipad or an Iphone, I do think that there’s a free app too. Just check on the App store;-)

Mmmmhhh…so may ideas flowing when I put myself in front of the Word Processor;-)…That’s all for today, let me know what you think about it and enjoy learning Italian, maybe adding a bit of mental training to it;-)

Pubblicato in The course | Nessun commento »

Learn Italian faster with empowering questions!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 29 dicembre 2011

solution focusWhat questions could you ask yourself to learn Italian faster?

Don’t you  know the power of questions? If you haven’t already, check what I wrote on this article of mine.

Then come back here, to know more about solution-focused questions

What are they? What do you think?

Now, let me tell you briefly about solution-focused interviewing…

Developed in the 1980s by De Shazer and Berg, psychologists at the Brief Family Center in Milwaukee, it has been adapted to work in other fields, such as coaching (see Jackson and McKergow, authors of The Solution Focus).

It contains the following principles:

1) The class of problems is distinct from the class of solutions…Focus on solutions, instead of problems: what is your ideal perfect future? If you are here is because you want to speak Italian very well, aren’t you?

2) The client is the expert. You are the one who knows what’s best for you, what part of the learning you need to focus more on.

3) If it works, don’t fix it. If you are very good at doing something in Italian (for example you are so good at ordering cappuccinos;-), why should you change the way you do it?

4) If something works (better), do more of it.  If you find that something really helps in improving your Italian, what about doing more of it? Do you think this would help?

5) Look for “differences that make a difference”.  Do you remember that time you spoke Italian very well (or any other foreign language)? What made that difference that made you act that way? What  made everything work out so well?

6) If something does not work, do something else. If learning any tiny detail of grammar, didn’t lead you to fluency, why don’t you do something else?

After reading thoroughly several books on the subject, including 1001 solution-focused questions by Frederike Bannink, I thought to introduce solution-focused questions to Italian learning…So in Awaken your Italian, you’ll find 12 of them.

And as a special bonus to the readers of this blog, here you also have the spoken version of them with Kevin Macleood’s music to download  to your mp3 reader and a sentence game to have fun with!

Click on mp3 to listen to what I call domande potenzianti (empowering questions) . Click on Start to play the game I created;-)!

Domande Potenzianti

If you enjoy this kind of game, check this other page out!

Pubblicato in The course, The science behind learning Italian, bonus | 1 Commento »

Mentally train in 2012 to speak better Italian!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 20 dicembre 2011

Imagine just for a moment that you were asked to lift 365 pounds even if you haven’t been training for several months…

What would your first reaction be?

Mine would have been “Dai, che dici?“:-)

And what if they told you that if you got relaxed and imagined the lift vividly, you would actually do it?

Would you believe it?

This was the situation in which Charles Garfield found himself in 1976, when he met a group of Soviet doctors. By the way, who’s Charles Garfield? He’s the author of several books…and also the one I’ll tell you in a little while.

Before reading further, answer this: Have you ever read about mental training? What do you know about it?

Stop for a moment and create a little and quick mind map about it…

Then look a the following mind map, which I made out of the 1984 book “Peak Performance” by C. Garfield and H. Z. Bennet.

Well, this is my personal and quick mind map, so let me resume it for you.

Mappapeak

This is actually about the pillar of mental training: VOLUNTARY RELAXATION, which according to the authors can be achieved with two 15 minute sessions a day in three months…Very quickly here are the steps:

1) First you need to EXPLORE your body, voluntarily tense it and then relax;

2) Then you need to focus on DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING. The authors suggest the following pattern:

  • fill in your lungs completely, breathing in through your nose;
  • hold your breaths for ten seconds;
  • release your breath with a sight of relief, exhaling through your mouth.

[I talked about a different and also effective pattern on this post]

3)  The AUTOGENIC TRAINING phase, where you (in sequence and in the due time):

  • mentally “wear” a relaxation mask;
  • feel your body heavy;
  • feel your  body warm;
  • calm your heart;
  • create warmth in your stomach;
  • cool your forehead.

4) once you are deeply relaxed you add MENTAL REHEARSAL.

Of course this is just a quick summary of the Peak Performance book, that, although dated (it’s 27 years old!),  contains a lot of useful information about the subject.

Sometimes, I wonder what you think while reading these posts…

And I imagine you asking me: “And what has this to do with Italian learning”?

Well, some principles of mental training were already in my Speak Italian Magically book, even though the relaxing phase was not so deep as the one required by Peak Performance standards.

Several months ago, after reading an article of Tim Ferris, I thought “why can’t I  adapt mental training techniques to let you speak better Italian in shorter time than normal”?

So, I researched the subject and found out about several authors (Ivan Barzakov, Ed Strachar, Richard Bandler and Garner Thomson, Rubin Battino, and many more) who have talked about mental training,  learning, taking decisions and following them through.

And then I realized that you don’t need three months to mentally train. It could be much faster than that.

And I started to put everything together, connecting the dots, as I enjoy to say, to create my new book, which I consider my contribution to 2012, as a year where we’ll have a better world.

In fact, 2012 is about to come and many are talking about the implications that this year might have. Pessimists imply that this would be the end of the world, optimists say that this will be the year of the AWAKENING. What do I think about?

Well, of course, I am a positive person, and as that, I AM SURE THAT something positive will happen by the end of the next year.

What will happen?

Who knows…Anyway, I do think that everyone should contribute to a better world.

And then I thought, how can I contribute to a better world, being just an humble Italian teacher for foreigners?

Of course it’s been  a while that I’ve been thinking about an answer to this question.

And of course there’s no right answer to this.

This book  is just one of my answers to it.

And what’s the title?

RISVEGLIA IL TUO ITALIANO! AWAKEN YOUR ITALIAN!

Enjoy it! Insert the following discount code before checking out to save: 3264T874 Click here and Awaken Your Italian!

Ebook version will come soon!

Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo da Antonio!

Pubblicato in The course, The science behind learning Italian | Nessun commento »

Can Tim Ferris help you speak Italian faster?

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 10 dicembre 2011

Read this article through for the answer…Anyway, who’s Tim Ferris?

He’s the author of the book on the picture on the left. It’s also available in Italian here.

I was reading an interesting article on his Blog where he said that the “the ideal system — and progression — [ to learn a language] is based on three elements in this order…

1. Effectiveness (Priority)
2. Adherence (Interest)
3. Efficiency (Process)”

As far as effectiveness is concerned he actually meant that “you need to select the right materials to learn a language. Practical fluency is impossible without the proper tools (material). Teachers are subordinate to materials, just as cooks are subordinate to recipes.”
That sentence makes me think. What if I could forget about levels  and teach to the genius which is inside everyone? So,  a seed has been planted into me:

What about creating a piece of  material that can let people learn Italian and useful skills at the same time?
Ferris writes then about adherence:

“Review, and multiple exposures to the same material, will always present an element of monotony,which must be countered by an interest in the material. [...] If you have no interest in politics, will you adhere to a language course that focuses on this material? [...] Oftentimes, it is best to select content that matches your interests in your native language. [...] Use the target language as a vehicle for learning more about a subject, skill, or cultural area of interest.Do not use material incongruent with your interests as a vehicle for learning a language – it will not work.”

By reading this text I realized that this is what I usually do when I want to learn a language. I select a piece of material I am really interested in and the I’ll do my own best to understand it and master, so that I can learn something new or a new skill.

After all Stephen Krashen in his book The power of Reading affirms that you learn much faster and more if you read out of interest. And he tells about a boy who wasn’t very good in writing and after reading a lot of novels he astounded his teacher, who actually couldn’t believe he  had written that piece of essay by himself.

Besides, there’s a teaching method, called CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), that teaches skills and school subjects through the second language. This way conveying both content and language. And this is  what I usually do with a dear student of mine every week. We talk and read about what happens in the world. This is a subject very interesting to him, and to me as well.

But, then I thought:

What kind of content or skill can I convey that is interesting, compelling and useful as well?

And the answer is what you could find in the new book of mine that is about to be published: skills that help you refresh Italian and master any other skill that you need to learn faster in your everyday life.

If this seems to far fetched wait just another little while and judge for yourself.

Another question came into my mind: I know that multiple exposure to the same material in different times is the best way to master it (NEUROSCIENCE says so),  and how can I still keep interesting? A reviewer of my Speak Italian Magically book had the answer for this:

“If you first listen and read along to the English, then just listen, then repeat the experience with the all-Italian version, you’ll have lived out the same little scenario four times, each time getting progressively further into experiencing Italian as a spoken language that you understand without getting bored of it before moving on to the next session”.

After reading that, I thought: Mamma mia!:-)  I already have a method that helps people have multiple exposure to the same material and it is in the”how to use this course” section of Speak Italian Magically. In fact, there I tell about seven different ways to be exposed to the same material. And of course you can still be creative and come up with new ones. (And lately I have been singing those texts with my Students, having a lot of fun, even if we are not good singers at all;-)

Tim Ferris goes on talking about efficiency:

“It matters little if you have the best material and adherence if time-to-fluency is 20 years. The ROI [Return on investment, Nota di Antonio]  won’t compel you. Ask yourself: Will this method allow me to reach accurate recognition and recall with the fewest number of exposures, within the shortest period of time?”

I had the answer  to this too because I know for sure that if you are in a state of relaxed alertness you learn much faster. The idea of creating a new book was all there:

A course teaching skills that also help learn skills, (and this is very interesting and compelling for me and for many people I know. What about you?) and be exposed to a fair amount of Italian language, that can also be learned much faster than with traditional approaches.

To know more about this new project of mine, stay tuned (sign up to the newsletter if you haven’t yet) .

I just want to tell you that it will be the ideal sequel to Speak Italian Magically and will be suitable especially for people who already know a bit of Italian. Even though absolute beginners will be able to understand it too;-). How is that possible?

I always want to create material that can give something new to me and people that already know my work, so it will be something different.

In the end, I just want to thank Tim Ferris very much . If it wasn’t for him this book might have not been written. I haven’t read your books yet, but I am sure I’ll do! :-) And the answer to the beginning question…”Can Tim Ferris help you speak Italian faster?”…For me is YES…He has wonderful good points on that article. What do you think about?

Pubblicato in The course | Nessun commento »

Breathe to learn Italian faster!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 6 ottobre 2011

Do you remember the song that sang “BREATHE”?

Don’t you know it?

I found a Youtube video for you. Here’s the song:

But, wait a minute: wasn’t this a blog about learning Italian? What does the song has to do with Italian learning?

Read further and you’ll discover.

Last month I purchased a biofeedback device…an IOM, to be precise.

Why did I do that? Well, because lately I’ve been interested in tools to improve my mind and body…and I read that it is possible nowadays to check and control your personal bio signals through these little machines called biofeedback (even though the one I bought is actually an active feedback machine)…And I read that you could even control your hearth rate and relax very deeply.

Wasn’t this a thing that only yogis could do? After all when I was at school, a teacher taught me that we cannot control our heart, as it is an unvolontary muscle.

Uhmmmm….Did I believe the teacher? Yes, of course. But then I started suspecting that this wasn’t totally true when I started to practice meditation last year. But, what could I do? I didn’t have anything to prove that teacher wrong (even if by now it really doesn’t matter anymore ;-)…Untill I bought this biofeedback machine and  realised that through a simple breathing pattern I could slower my hearth rate! And the producer of this machine says that “the achievement of a ten second sine wave pattern [of the heart] correlates with optimal functionality of the major bodily systems including blood pressure, cognition, the immune system and mood”.

Then another AHA moment happened to me. What if I used this breathing  pattern before learning something? Would this help? After all they say that it helps with cognition too.

I tried it and I am very happy for doing it.

The consequence of the breathing pattern is that you get deeply relaxed. Does being relaxed help in learning a language?

According to prof. Stephen Krashen it does.  This American professor actually offered a set of hypoteses on the acquisition of  a second language. One of them is the affective filter hypotheses. By it prof. Krashen refers to the affective factors which may block or facilitate acquisition. And being relaxed does help with the acquisition of a language.

The breathing  exercise is very simple…and in my opinion it can improve any learning experience. But this is just my opinion. I’ll leave it up to you to try it.

If you want to try it with the Speak Italian Magically audios…just get your mp3 reader ready just before starting the process.

Here’s how to breath before learning Italian or anything else:

Sit quietly and still your body. Close your eyes and  focus on your breathing. Slowly breathe in (while counting in your mind from 1 to 5 inyour own personal rythm) and slowly breathe out (while counting in your mind from 1 to 5 in your own personal rythm). If you find your mind wander, just aknowledge it, accept it and start again with the breathing pattern. Continue for at least 5 minutes (and not more than 20, they suggest) and then let the audio start (click on play). Continue with the same breathing pattern while listening.  At the end, just take three faster deep breaths for you to awake and strech your muscles. NEVER DO this exercise while driving cars or any machine, as while practicing it you are supposed to be focused on your breathing, not on the car!

I still think that it’s all about connecting the dots and I hope this blog post helps you connect the dots too .

Buon divertimento!

Pubblicato in The course, The science behind learning Italian | Nessun commento »

Do you really really believe you can learn Italian?

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 10 agosto 2011

I was reading a book about learning (and the title is actually: “About learning” by Bernice McCarty) and I was magnetized by a quotation of Sidney Jourard. Here’s what he says:

 We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is.

Someone - our parents, teachers, analysts - 

hypnotise us to “see” the world

and construe it in the “right” way.

These others label the world, attach names

and give voices to the beings and events in it,

so that thereafter, we cannot read the world

in any other language

or hear it saying other things to us.

The task is to break the hypnotic spell,

so that we become

undeaf, unblind, and multilingual,

thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices

and write all its possible meanings

in the book of our existence.

Be careful in your choice of hypnotists.

- Sidney Jourard

Then it just came to me that it’s all about beliefs.

I don’t remember where I read this sentence, but it popped in my mind: “Whatever we believe we can achieve”.

If we believe that we can start and learn another language, we’ll succeed. If we tell ourselves that we’re not ever going to master this new language, we won’t…actually, we won’t even try to start and learn it.

Now, let me tell you about another great author I came across recently. His name is Lee Pulos, who’s recorded an audio course about the biology of beliefs. Just at the beginning of his course he talks about “waking hypnosis”. An example will explain what he means. He actually tells the story of the natives who hadn’t ever seen large ships before Magellano got there. And when the explorers got there, natives received them as though they were gods.  Magellano tried to explain that they were human beings just like them and they used ships to get there. Do you know what? They didn’t believe it.  They actually couldn’t see ships. Why? Because no ship was existing in their world before, so those ships did not exist. Lee Pulos clearly explains about the power of beliefs, both positive and negative and it’s quite an interesting (and surprising) program to listen to.

What do you really really believe?

Have you tried to answer this question?

Have you ever thought about the fact that what you really really believe is what you fear the most?

This is what Heather Macauley Noell , authress of a great novel that I enjoyed very much, says about beliefs in her audioprogram, How to get better. She actually quotes “The result book” by Arlo Wally Minto. And there you can find a wonderful example:

 ”What are some of the things you believe in? You might answer God, gravity, myself, night and day. These
are things we might all believe in, but there are things we believe in stronger than any of these. The
simple truth is that the things we believe in stronger than anything else are the things that we fear. I
will guarantee you, if you are walking down a narrow path through the woods and you come face to
face with a grizzly bear, you are going to believe in that grizzly bear stronger than you ever
believed in God or gravity or yourself or anything else. If you believed in God that strongly, you
would be getting answers to all your prayers, but you’ve probably never prayed with that much
energy and emotion. You see, fear is the same thing as belief except that you put more energy and
emotion into something you fear and so it becomes a stronger belief.

[...] allowing your problems to be O.K. will solve 90% of your problems in life without even directing any attention to the problem.

The simplicity that makes this work is this: Have you ever worried about something or feared
something if you knew it was O.K.? No! If something’s O.K., you don’t worry about it or fear it.  “

Why have I talked about beliefs and what has this to do with learning Italian?

If you want to really start and learn Italian, you need to check what you really believe about your power to learn the language. Answer sincerely and write down your beliefs.

After doing it, ask yourself: “Do these beliefs are useful to my goal (learning Italian in this case)?”

If the answer is no, can you imagine a world where they were just O.K. (as Wally Minto puts it)? Besides, what about substituting them with positive ones?

I have already talked about the power of affirmations, but please keep in mind that if you really feel as though they are true to you, they will  really take the place of the older and negative beliefs you might have now.

As I am writing this article, the following sentence pops in my mind:

It’s all about connecting the dots! Sta tutto nell’unire i puntini!

It’s all about connecting the dots! Sta tutto nell’unire i puntini!

It’s all about connecting the dots! Sta tutto nell’unire i puntini!

So, are you ready to connect the dots and speak Italian now?


Pubblicato in The course | 1 Commento »

The power of “le domande” to learn Italian faster!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 26 maggio 2011

domandemini.JPGOnce Einstein said that if he was about to be killed and if he had only an hour of time to find a way to save his own life, he would devote the first 55 minutes to search for the right domanda. Once he’d found that domanda, said Einstein, finding the right risposta would take only 5 minutes.

Do you know what these two words mean? What is una domanda? And what is una risposta? And what would it be the right domanda to ask yourself to learn Italian faster?

In an online article about the power of le domande I found out about the several types  of domande. So you could have alcune domande like these:

* By looking at the cover of the Speak Italian Magically book, what do you already know? [Inference]

 * How would it be different if you had a mountain view instead of a sea view? [Interpretation and contrast]

* How could you speak Italian if you were already an Italian? [Transfer] 

* If the title of the episode is “In spiaggia a Tropea“, what do you think it would happen in this episode? [Predictive hypothesis]

* What do I know after listening to this episode? What don’t I know? [Reflective]

What happens when you answer all these domande? You’ll be more curious and you’ll learn something new! Besides, you will have guided your focus towards something you didn’t notice before.

Even the famous Anthony Robbins in his “Awaken the giant within”, talks about le domande. Actually he separates empowering questions from “lousy questions”. You could check this video out to get a gist of what he’s talking about.

Questions are a powerful tool to direct your focus. So if I ask you “what is the best domanda you can ask yourself to learn Italian faster?” I’ve guided your focus to learn Italian faster.

Knowing all that, I decided to put a lot of domande at the end of each episode of Speak Italian Magically…to direct your focus on the several points of the adventure…so that you learn Italian faster.

So, why dont’ you ask yourself more empowering domande to learn Italian now?

If you had only 30 days to learn Italian what would you do first? And then?

Pubblicato in The course | Nessun commento »

Speak in chorus with Italians!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 13 maggio 2011

When are you supposed to speak in Italian? Right away or after a while? What do you really think about it?

Well, there are people starting to imitate Italian pronunciation right away and other who wait for a while, before doing it. In which category do you belong? And why do you do this way? Do you think it is good to start and speak right away or you need to wait?

Have you tried to answer all these questions? ;-)

Well, now I can tell you what I think about it. It is true that in many Italian courses held in Italy, you are asked to start and speak right at the very first day…For instance a thing that you will usually learn in an Italian course is how to introduce yourself…So, COME TI CHIAMI? MI CHIAMO ANTONIO;-).  This is what usually happens in a communicative approach to language learning. Is it useful to do it? Yes and no.

Yes, because this way you will go home and be able to say a few sentences right after the very first lesson. No, because before speaking properly you are supposed to listen to a right amount of comprehensible input. And that’s why I suggest, if you use the Speak Italian Magically course, to follow the steps  and to speak only in step five, after you have listened to the same adventure several times and in different days (maybe also right before going to bed). Then at that point it would be useful to start and speak in chorus with the Italian only version of the adventure, while reading the text at the same time. This speak in chorus “thing” was used in schools in the past, but very little nowadays. It makes sense only if you do it after you have been exposed to the text and audio for a sensible amount of time. I know it may seems a little challenge, but it’s fun and it’s worth doing challenging things sometimes. This “waiting time” is what other linguists have called “silent period” (Asher, Brown).

As you know, I am very fond of accelerated learning methods, that is why I would strongly suggest to drink a glass of water (pure water, not coca-cola nor juice) and practise a bit of Brain Gym before doing this “speak in chorus” challenge. Well, you could do this: try to speak in chorus without doing Brain Gym and then speak in chorus after doing Brain Gym. If you notice any difference, then you’ll realize yourself whether it is worth practising Brain Gym before studying or not.

What is supposed to happen when you practise Brain Gym? Well, in several books ( Smart Moves, by Carla Hannaford; Brain Gym Teacher’s Edition, by P. and G. Dennison; and also in a book about medical NLP, Magic in Practice, by Thomson and Khan) you will find that you will achieve what in Italian is integrazione emisferica of your brain. This may be the reason why professor Arguelles, an american polyglot, suggests that when you “shadow” an audio, you walk at a swift pace while practising. Walking is an activity that both oxygenates your brain and integrates both sides of it. And even if you may look a bit crazy doing it, you should try it for yourself…maybe in a place where no friends of yours see you! ;-)

So, what are you waiting for? Listen, decode a fair amount of Italian, then go on and speak Italian! ;-)

Pubblicato in The course | 1 Commento »

An Italian listenable bilingual ebook to learn how to learn Italian in Italian!

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 23 febbraio 2011

 C’era una volta…

 ***Click here to listen to the Italian audio***

C’era una volta tanto tempo fa in un regno magico un principe azzurro. E c’era anche una principessa. Il principe e la principessa avevano un sogno, quello di poter parlare una lingua nuova, una lingua melodiosa e musicale che aprisse il cuore delle persone che avrebbero incontrato. E sai, a volte se hai un sogno, lo desideri così tanto e credi fermamente che il tuo sogno si avveri, succedono cose speciali. Un giorno il nostro principe e la nostra principessa stavano facendo una bella passeggiata nel loro giardino incantato. Gli uccellini cinguettavano e c’erano tantissimi fiori di tutti i colori. Il loro profumo si spargeva nell’aria. Il principe e la principessa erano così felici e innamorati che tutto era meraviglioso. Qualcosa all’improvviso attirò la loro attenzione. Era una musica che veniva dal centro del giardino. La seguirono e si trovarono davanti una scatola colorata di azzurro. Dall’interno della scatola si sentiva una vocina parlare…Apritemi, apritemi, apritemi! Il principe e la principessa si guardarono e decisero di aprire quella scatola. Dentro c’era un libro magico.Infatti il libro parlava in Italiano e loro capivano tutto quello che gli diceva…

 ***Click here to listen to the Italian audio***

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there was in a magic realm a blue prince. And there was a princess too. The prince and the princess had a dream, that of being able to speak a new language, a melodious and musical language that would open the heart of the people they would meet. And, you know, sometimes if you have a dream, you desire it so much and believe so firmly that your dream will come true, special things happen. A day our prince and our princess were taking a stroll in their enchanted garden. Birds were singing and there were so many flowers of all colours. Their smell was spreading in the air. The prince and the princess were so happy and in love (with each other) that everything was wonderful. Suddenly something attracted their attention. It was a music coming from the centre oft he garden. They followed it and found themselves in front of a blue coloured box. From inside the box you could hear a little voice speaking…Open me, open me, open me! The prince and the princess looked at each other and decided to open that box. Inside there was a magic book. In fact the book was speaking Italian and they understood everything it told them…

covernew Did you like the story? This is how I decided to start the new edition of the secrets of the Italian language, a bilingual ebook to learn how to learn Italian in Italian!  Imagine you could see Italian, listen to Italian and create your way towards learning Italian, while you understand everything you read! How is that possibile if you are an absolute beginner?

I was always intrigued by parallel reading books, the problem was that the language in those books was really outdated. You can’t learn modern Italian from books written over 3 hundreds years ago. It’s just not the same Italian we speak today.

By writing this book, I just wanted to put into practice what I learned by using mind maps and memory techniques. In the meanwhile I wanted to let you learn Italian while learning how to learn it.

I was looking for a multisensorial way to let you learn my own language. And it came into my mind that the best way to offer it, it was to write a book, read it and draw mind maps on it. And this is the result of my ideas! You will find a lot of FREE extras at the provided link if you buy this book!

This is actually the second edition, revised, expanded and updated with a new recording of the audiobook (which will be available at Podiobooks from 02/23/2011). The ebook is already available at a special introductory price at Amazon.com and at Smashwords where you can insert the following discount code to get 30% off: FN87U
(valid till March, 12th).

Pubblicato in The course, bonus | Nessun commento »

Do you need Italian grammar during a storm?

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 10 gennaio 2011

stormWhat has grammar to do with a storm? You may ask. I was thinking to the right way to tell you why I put so little grammar in the Speak Italian Magically approach. As usual something synchronic happens. In fact, I just happened to open the book The magic of metaphor [Le parole portano lontano in italiano] and come across the grammarian story. Let me tell it to you in Italian-English, as I did for each episode of Speak Italian Magically.

I strongly suggest to listen to it in Italian first and at the end, ask yourself: What is Antonio telling me about?

Click here to download and listen to the story. Watch the 2016 version of the same story on youtube: https://youtu.be/qGQ_AQ6qvQM

Then you can listen to it again while reading it below. Have fun.

Un uomo d’affari ha invitato un amico, un insegnante, a fare una gita in barca. A businessman has invited his friend, a teacher, to do a trip on (his) boat. Mentre l’uomo d’affari si occupa della navigazione, l’insegnante si rilassa sul ponte. While the businessman takes care of the navigation, the teacher relaxes on the deck.

Dopo un po’ l’insegnante chiede: << Che ne dici, che tempo farà?>> After a while, the teacher asks: “What do you say, what the weather will be like?”

L’uomo d’affari guarda il cielo, annusa l’aria e controlla la direzione del vento. The businessman looks at the sky, sniffs the air and checks the direction of the wind.

<<A me mi sembra proprio che ci sarà un temporale>>, dice. “To me myself really seems that there is going to be a storm”

L’insegnante rimane scioccato. <<Non si dice ‘a me mi’! Non la conosci la grammatica? Si dice:’ a me sembra…a me sembra proprio che ci sarà un temporale’. Amico mio, se non conosci la grammatica hai perso metà della tua vita>>.The teacher is shocked. “You can’t say ‘to me myself’! Don’t you know grammar? You say: ‘ it seems to me…it really seems to me there’s going to be a storm’. My friend, if you don’t know grammer you’ve wasted half your life.”

L’uomo d’affari scuote appena la testa e continua a portare la barca con abilità, guardando l’orizzonte. The businessman merely shrugs his head and carries on navigating the boat with skill and looking at the horizon.

Un po’ di tempo dopo, come l’uomo d’affari ha previsto, si scatena un forte temporale. Some time later, as the businessman has predicted, a huge storm blows up. Il vento è impetuoso, le onde enormi e la piccola barca viene sballottata dall’acqua.The wind is high, the waves (are) huge and the little boat is swamped with water.

Sovrastando il rumore della tempesta, l’uomo d’affari chiede all’insegnante: <<Sai nuotare?>> Over the roar of the storm, the businessman asks the teacher: “Do you know how to swim?”

<<No, perché mai dovrei essere capace di nuotare?>> “No, why on earth should I be able to swim?”

<<In questo caso>>, dice l’uomo d’affari, <<hai perso la tua vita del tutto, perché a me mi sembra che stiamo affondando>>. “In this case, says the businessman, ” You’ve wasted all your life, because to me myself it seems we are going to sink.”

So why didn’t I talk a lot about grammar in Speak Italian Magically?

Let me tell ask you another question. When you were a child, did you know which grammar part you were using when you were saying “mamma”? Did you first learn grammar and then you spoke? I don’t think so…That’s why you need to focus on listening first, to acquire the Italian language. Later you could also work on grammar…but then it will be a refinement work and the storm (like in the above story) will be over. And you will Speak Italian Magically!

Photo on this page by toasto.com. Music in the story by: Kevin Macleod

Pubblicato in The course, bonus | Nessun commento »

 

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