I’ve been meaning to work on my Italian for about ten years, since I compared my Italian with my sister’s. She’s a professional translator, whereas I learned it all from nuns at bus stops and naughty kids in school.
The result is that Little Sister knows how to say things like “henceforth” and “notwithstanding,” whereas I can tell you three different words for different types of fart.
There’s no substitute for reading. With elegantly used grammar and just the right word, the language ceases to be mere communication, and becomes a thing of beauty to enjoy in its own right. The problem is that Italian newspapers and books are just so difficult! And usually boring as well.
I’ve found a new magazine called TUTTO ITALIANO
And I have decided to write a review of it. Here goes:
TUTTO ITALIANO is written by Italian journalists specifically for foreign readers. The January-February edition has a fascinating article explaining what the Italian Carnival is really all about, a look at the history of those lovely Baci Perugina chocolates, and short news pieces about Italy’s female astronaut and Schettino the murderous ferry captain. There were pieces on politics, sport and fashion, too. I’ve had a few tussles getting it back off Hubby, which proves it’s interesting to read.
It has vocabulary lists translating the more difficult words. There are also some puzzles and a crossword which I actually managed to finish. With NO help from hubby (but a few hints from the kiddo).
Best of all, each edition comes with a CD containing at least 15 articles in audio format. It’s like having a TUTTO ITALIANO radio programme which you can rewind…. and afterwards read, to make sure you understood it properly. At last! An excuse for not listening to Hubby’s appalling music in the car!
Here’s a link if you want to investigate for yourself
An annual subscription costs £99 which is US$150. For this you get the audio CD and the printed magazine bi-monthly, which is 50 pages and almost no adverts.
(This site is a goldmine for Italian learners. They have hundreds of audio books and movies in Italian, divided up by skill level. There are language courses in book, CD and DVD form. I am very tempted by the Inspector Montalbano collections and I’m also wondering whether I want to watch the Godfather Trilogy in Italian – how much of it would be in Sicilian?)
Is there anything wrong with it?
TUTTO ITALIANO magazine only got started last year. There are some things I think could improve it.
I would like some interviews reported in first-person and second-person speech. These need not be with celebrities – an interview with a Murano glass maker or a gondolier would be intriguing for most foreigners!
I would love to see more sumptuous, beautiful photos with some articles.
I think a travel section would be great. It could focus on specific regions of Italy, or themed holidays such as cookery, language or art courses. This would make it easy to sell advertising space to relevant businesses and perhaps the earnings could be used to reduce the subscription price.
An opinion column would make the political section a bit more biting. The editor is careful to avoid controversy, but two columns presenting both sides of an argument would enhance the language learning experience as well as the content.
Definitely worth it
Despite the fact I can see room for improvement, I still think TUTTO ITALIANO is great. It’s been improving my Italian without it feeling like work at all.
Have you read it?
If so, add your own opinion in the comments section!