italian – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Category: italian

Books from Italy

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I didn’t buy any of these but I was sorely tempted!

Just back from a family holiday in Italy where I once more had to struggle with not being able to communicate as I wished. I understood quite a bit thanks to Spanish and, to a lesser extent, French, but couldn’t formulate sufficiently coherent sentences to say what I wanted to communicate most of the time, thus resorting to a few words and a gesture with a pleading smile. In fact, I found that German was more helpful at times for the first part of the holidays as we were in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and often people didn’t speak English but understood German. Added to my ‘angst’ was the fact that all my attempts at Italian were met with replies in English, particularly in Bologna – I guess they thought they were being helpful but I was trying hard and it was a little disheartening!

However, I was in my element when I found the bookshops! My poor family tolerated me dragging them into at least four on our wanderings without moaning although I actually think they were glad of the air conditioning and a rest! I had my eye on a children’s book shop in the Piazza Maggiore but it was sadly shut when we returned to Bologna for holidays! Chiuso per Ferie was a phrase we learned very quickly! Nonetheless I still found others and treated myself to three books – I could have bought far more but as I don’t teach Italian, I was restrained and really thought hard about my choices.

ISBN 978-88-6189-548-5

Tu (non) sei piccolo is a bilingual book with the Italian in large type and the English a little smaller below. It’s a really simple book about some bears who are arguing about being big or small. What I particularly liked, apart from the bilingualism, was the repetition for the verb to be in 1st and 2nd person singular (I and you) and 2nd and 3rd person plural (you and they) as this gave me a good idea about how the verb ‘works.’ Additionally, the same two adjectives are used which meant that I could draw some conclusions about the behaviour of adjectives – much like panino/panini and cappuccino/cappuccini! It’s amusing too and I liked the illustrations of the different bears. It would be easy to adapt by changing the adjective and/or animal.

ISBN 978-88-8362-353-0

I chose Mio! Mio! Mio! as it’s also very repetitive and easy to understand. The little frog finds an egg and claims it as his own – Mio! But all the other animals say it’s theirs until it ends up hitting the elephant on the head – then nobody wants it and frog at last can have it. Then it hatches…
I enjoyed comparing animal names with the Spanish – l’elefante, l’aquila, il serpente – and discover a new one that none of my translating apps could work out – il varano which is a monitor lizard! The grammar was also similar – è mio! / ¡es mío! for it’s mine ; è suo! / ¡es suyo! meaning it’s his; I saw a similarity between chi for who and qui in French, and Allora te lo restituisco was easy to decode as I’ve give it back to you with the link to restitution. Finally, it also tickled me that it featured ‘un uovo’ as the boys were asked every morning if they’d like one in our wonderful B&B (if you’re ever going to the Dolomites, I can thoroughly recommend Agriturismo Florandonole )

ISBN 978-88-04-70392-1
The blurb on the back

My final choice recognises the wonders of Italian food and drink. Non piangere, cipolla (Don’t cry onion) is a book of poems and verse organised in alphabetical order starting with Acqua and ending with Uva. These poems will need more concentration (and a dictionary!) to translate but I can get the gist of many of them. A couple of my favourites are below.

I like the ‘playing with words’ style of this poem about tomatoes. Seemingly simple but very clever!
And this one about milk. I like the opening verses using similes and the last verse talking about making butter, cream and cheese, but it still being milk.

I’ve enjoyed reading all these books aloud, trying out my Italian pronunciation (which still needs work) and listening to how they sound. I’m looking forward to reading them ever more accurately, and also to understanding a little more as I reread them.

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If you teach children aged between 6 and 11, why not encourage them to enter the bSmall Little Linguist competition.

As the bSmall website explains;

We would like you to write and illustrate a short story in a foreign language on any subject you like. We will pick two winners from the entries and publish the winning stories as e-books on our website. Each winner will also receive a b Small library worth £100 for your home or your school.

The story should be no more than four pages and you can use lots of illustrations to help tell your story. You must write your story in one of the following four languages:

– French
– German
– Italian
– Spanish

The website offers two templates for the stories, a comic book and an illustrated story book, and there’s a list of words to help as well.

There are two categories – 6-9 year olds and 9-11 year olds, and you can write a collaborative story with classmates (hence the overlap in age categories) The story can be about anything, and the closing date is June 1st with winners announced on July 1st. Entries can be sent via post or electronically, accompanied by an entry form.

Find out more on the bSmall website and happy story writing!

 

 

Linguamedia is an app that allows you to watch foreign TV stations online. Originally launched earlier this year with French channels,  Linguascope announced today that their Linguamedia app has been updated so you can now watch German, Spanish, Italian and English channels as well as French ones. They’ve also improved video playback, and updated it for the iPhone5 screen.

The app costs 69p and offers 16 French, 6 German, 12 Italian, 12 Spanish and 5 English channels (NB the channels are in that language not necessarily from that country so there is an Austrian and a Swiss channel for German) It is possible to access TV online e.g. by searching “RTVE” you can watch the stream of RTVE1, RTVE2, Telesport and Canal 24H, but for convenience, this app is great. You need a wifi connection to view the stations, and as Linguascope warn

I’ve mentioned Linguatrivia Spanish and Newshound previously but there are many other apps from Linguascope available. Worth a look!

Chillola.com

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I came across this wonderful website today, linked from Teaching Ideas site.

Chillola.com is a multilingual site, offering simple resources in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian.

There are attractive vocabulary presentations accompanied by audio on subjects like colours, numbers, months, fruit and vegetables and body parts.  There are also very simple printable activities and colourables.

It’s a great resource for introducing vocabulary and for individual access, as well for raising awareness of other languages that are not necessarily taught at your school.

My favourites are the hamster teaching prepositions and the lovely illustrations for the opposites.

The site also offers links to several other websites about which I’ve never previously heard.  I feel more posts may be forthcoming…


I made friends with Claire on Facebook just before Language World – what a great decision that was! She’s as mad and lively as me!

Her session was on Embedding Languages in the Curriculum and gave plenty of ideas for doing just that!

Highlights including dancing to www.genkigerman.com (just tried it out again with Isaac – a big hit!) and learning a song in Italian about food! It went to the tune of La Cucharacha and I think the words were

macaroni, ravioli
pizza pasta e ragu
trapitini e (missed that word)
panna e tiramisu

Then Claire asked me if I’d contribute some French / Spanish which I happily did! I shared www.UptoTen.com and the duck song – Peux-tu marcher comme un canard? and then demonstrated the ‘animal symphony’ activity I used to link Spanish, music and literacy. Materials and instructions to replicate it can be found here.

Molto bene Claire!

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