Italian study group

An area with study groups for various languages. Group members help each other, share resources and experience. Study groups are permanent but the members rotate and change.
dampingwire
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Re: Italian study group

Postby dampingwire » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:43 am

Sofia wrote:If you enjoy crime series, don't miss this chance! I haven't watched the prequel yet, but if it's anything like the main series it is a truly well-done show. I usually don't speak highly of our TV programmes, but Montalbano is one of the rare exceptions.


I'll second that. Montalbano and Il giovane Montalbano are both excellent. My only minor complaint is that I find it hard to blank out the subtitles for that long ...

Sofia wrote:And since we are on a language-learning forum…did you know a lot of the actors had to learn Sicilian dialect? Which, despite its name, is more similar to a language than to a dialect due to its differences from standard Italian.


... although they do sometimes come in handy when Catarella gets a bit animated.
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Re: Italian study group

Postby rdearman » Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:58 am

dampingwire wrote:
Sofia wrote:If you enjoy crime series, don't miss this chance! I haven't watched the prequel yet, but if it's anything like the main series it is a truly well-done show. I usually don't speak highly of our TV programmes, but Montalbano is one of the rare exceptions.


I'll second that. Montalbano and Il giovane Montalbano are both excellent. My only minor complaint is that I find it hard to blank out the subtitles for that long ...

Sofia wrote:And since we are on a language-learning forum…did you know a lot of the actors had to learn Sicilian dialect? Which, despite its name, is more similar to a language than to a dialect due to its differences from standard Italian.


... although they do sometimes come in handy when Catarella gets a bit animated.


Oddly I find it easier to understand Montalbano actors than the actors in Carabinieri.
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dampingwire
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Re: Italian study group

Postby dampingwire » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:54 am

rdearman wrote:Oddly I find it easier to understand Montalbano actors than the actors in Carabinieri.


I could only find a few clips from Carabinieri, but while looking I stumbled on this, which you might find interesting.
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Re: Italian study group

Postby rdearman » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:34 pm

dampingwire wrote:
rdearman wrote:Oddly I find it easier to understand Montalbano actors than the actors in Carabinieri.


I could only find a few clips from Carabinieri, but while looking I stumbled on this, which you might find interesting.


That is brilliant! I watched a documentary the other night about Andrea Camilleri which was very interesting. Still going strong even at 90.
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Sofia
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Sofia » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:35 pm

Cavesa wrote:Could you please give me your opinions on my pronunciation? I recorded one minute of reading La Compagnia dell'Anello yesterday: http://vocaroo.com/i/s0XF7Yu1Imor

I subscribed to your log, I'll drop by whenever I can.

Regarding your submission: your intonation sounds definitely Eastern European to me. However, there is also a clear Spanish influence in some points. The reading wasn't always fluent, did you get stuck in certain points because you encountered words you didn't know, or did you just stumble?

Regarding pronunciation/intonation: I'd stick to basic stuff to practice pronunciation. Have you already tried to look for writing exercises? I remember when I was taught how to write in elementary school my teacher used to read words out loud to help us students make the association between a sound and they way to write it. If you were able to find something similar on-line I think it would be very helpful. Duolingo Italian course could be another option if you aren't already using it. I don't know if the sentences are read by native Italian speakers, though.

For intonation you can use more advanced material, I think it's easier to learn intonation with longer sentences. In my experience intonation comes somewhat natural if you hear/watch a lot of native material. You should be careful about TV series, though…especially those made in Italy (that is not dubbed series). Most of the times characters speak with a Roman accent whereas you should stick to a neutral accent. I think documentaries would be your best choice, but if those aren't your cup of tea stick to dubbed series/films. Some are dubbed very well, others…not so much ^^;;;

I'm not familiar with FSI Italian course, if I can find an audio sample (or if you can send me one) I'll be able to give you my opinion about it. Unfortunately I don't know of any website with transcripts. Sometimes they are available when you watch certain programs in streaming, like on RAI's website. Youtube should also support auto captions in Italian, but they aren't always accurate. You could download subtitles but those tend to be translations of the English audio. If, say, you watched a film dubbed in Italian with Italian subtitles on, it is likely that what you read wouldn't match what you heard.

dampingwire wrote:... although they do sometimes come in handy when Catarella gets a bit animated.

That's certainly true, even some natives would struggle to understand him when he is like that!

dampingwire wrote:I could only find a few clips from Carabinieri

Don't worry, you're not missing out much :lol:
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Serpent » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:59 pm

I've also asked some questions a while ago :) (got one reply on the next page)
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Cavesa » Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:42 pm

Thanks a lot, Sofia!

I am now forming a much better idea on what should I focus on.

One of my priorities is to improve my pronunciation and intonation to a not too bad neutral foreign accent and I have a long way to go. I don't want to keep that too obvious stigma (funnily, one of the first people who made me feel very sorry and ashamed for being "Czechoslovak" by their mistaken views and horrible attitude was a middle aged italian woman).

I stumbled due to not being used to reading out loud anymore (in any language), the vocabulary was not a problem. The fluidity is certainly something to work on. It is a challenge whenever I try to speak for many reasons (including active vocabulary and grammar)

Duolingo is good but the voice is computer, not a living person, so I hesitate to rely on it too much. I use forvo a lot and my favourite Memrise course includes audio made by natives. However, I'd say a sentence is more of a struggle than single words for me, perhaps I should practice with Assimil? Tv series would probably still be the best but without transcriptions, it might be a bit too hard at times. Are there tv series using other regions' Italian? Perhaps trentino (as my favourite grammarbook writer claims them to pronounce Italian the best :-D )?

I don't have a problem relating what is writen with what is said, I would say the trouble lies elsewhere, as I have noticed during my learning (including youtube videos on pronunciation) after this record: I have a hard time even hearing the difference between some dobble consonants and their single counterparts (some are easy, some are totally confusing), I am unsure where to apply e and o chiusa and aperta as most words do not have the accents writen there. I am as well unsure, when it comes to new words or just remembering it with the old ones, which sylable is the correct one to put stress on, as many words differ from Spanish of course. That is the challenge. I can more or less mimic the sounds now (still not perfectly but I have certainly progressed lately!), once I know I should, I certainly cannot when I have no clue. Is there any general clue, such as e chiuso being more/less often used?

I believe lots of this will get better with tons of listening, lots of repeating after audio, some more recordings with feedback like this one. But is there something I could do right away and get visible results in a week (that means before my interview in Italian)? Would anyone have tips on absolutely the best pronunciation youtube videos, a book+audio explaining the pronunciation the best, etc? I would really appreaciate those.

The RAI documentaries are a great idea. I will look into them later today and, hopefully, I will find something fun enough to keep me listening for hours!

Thanks!

P.S. I really wish I could practice my pronunciation now. With a sore throat, I sound horrible and not native even in Czech.
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Sofia
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Re: Italian study group

Postby Sofia » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:46 am

@Serpent "Tacco 12" refers indeed to the heel height and, more specifically, to the "standard heel size" women should wear to "be sexy"…pretty much anywhere, any time.

Regarding the video: the girl was born in Ukraine, but she grew up in the region called Marche (I don't think there's an English translation) and is now living in the city of Vicenza, which lies in the Veneto region. She must have spent a long time here in Italy, because she speaks with a clear Venetian accent. It's quite easy to identify it because its intonation pattern is rather peculiar and…quite musical I'd say.

(Italian translation below, it's not literal but I hope you'll find it useful :))

"Tacco 12" si riferisce appunto all'altezza del tacco e, nello specifico, a quella che viene considerata l'altezza standard che una scarpa con il tacco dovrebbe avere. C'è un po' quest'idea che una donna debba indossare scarpe così alte praticamente sempre per essere "sexy".

Per quanto riguarda il video: la ragazza è ucraina, ma è cresciuta nelle Marche e ora vive a Vicenza, in Veneto. Deve aver passato molto tempo qui in Italia perché parla con un accento veneto, piuttosto facile da riconoscere per via dell'intonazione che ricorda un po' una cantilena.

@Cavesa You're welcome! It's sad to see the attitude certain people have toward foreigners. They have no idea how hard is to live in a country that's not your own or even simply learn another language.

Technically the region whose Italian is closest to the original Italian is Tuscany. As far as Trentino goes…well in some parts they don't even speak Italian, but German so…that's not a region I'd pick :P Trentino has two official languages, German and Italian, but due to historical and cultural reasons in certain areas the first language is German, whereas Italian is taught from elementary school onwards (and sometimes it is only spoken at school). I'll ask my sister about Italian TV shows, most of the times they are soap operas and…I really cannot watch them. She, on the other hand, is a big fan of all that stuff XD

The safest method I know to learn the correct pronunciation is taking a look at the phonetic spelling, if you are familiar with it. Unlike Spanish, we use accents only on the last syllable, but dictionaries usually provide the phonetic spelling for every word. Phonetic spelling also gives a lot of indications about the type of vowel/consonants, their sound and the overall pronunciation. Unfortunately things like the open/close e may vary from region to region, which is why phonetic spelling is your best bet. Another option would be to read book, or watch videos about diction (dizione in Italian). Actors, singers, and so on usually take diction classes in order to speak an accent-free Italian, or rather an Italian devoid of regional influences..

I love RAI documentaries, especially two series called "Quark" (or "Superquark") and "Ulisse: il piacere della scoperta". They are one of the very few cultural shows we have. I hope you'll find something interesting! If you are interested in some specific topics let me know and I'll try to see if I can suggest you specific TV shows.
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lingua
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Re: Italian study group

Postby lingua » Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:44 pm

I like to watch cooking videos on http://www.giallozafferano.it/
and practice my pronunciation using http://forvo.com/languages/it/

I wanted to add that edX has Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Italian classes. I've been using edX for a couple of years for other interests and these Italian classes are relatively new. I have signed up for all three of them. I did the first unit of the Beginner's class to see what it was like and they seem worth considering.
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mente&cervello
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Re: Italian study group

Postby mente&cervello » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:26 am

Ciao a tutti! Sono così felice che ho trovato questo gruppo di studio!
Cercavo qualcosa di simile...
Grazie a tutti, e sopratutto a Gary.

The links look very useful.
I am especially looking for
(1) spoken language with transcripts

(2) TV or films where I can get the subtitles IN ITALIAN.

I am in the US, and almost no films or TV shows have them, even films in Italian. Most RAI content is not available in the US-- except as RAI DVDs when they have English subtitles. Any thoughts? There are places online where you can get Italian subtitles, but only if you are streaming the show (that is, they don't work if you are watching a DVD).

(3) Question for everyone, especially Sofia:

REGIONAL ACCENTS: Advice needed for studenti stranieri.

My concern:
I strongly believe every regional accent and dialect is legitimate-- this is very important to me-- but a misto of accents and idioms is unnatural. No one is from multiple regions. But I suspect my accent, which used to conform to formal, educated Italian, is starting to pick up elements of different accents to make a patchwork.

(a) As I am fine-tuning my accent, I am wondering about how to work with regional variations. In general, but especially in the pronunciation of Ci or Ce. Depending on where the person is from, "piaciuto" can have the sound that correspond to the English:
ch, like church (which is how I learned it in formal Italian) or
sh, like shoe (which is how I often hear it now)
zh, like "bourgeois" (getting down South).
h, like "aha" but much softer and breathier (Tuscano, in parts)

(b) I need to have a consistent target pronunciation I aim to copy. Should I stick to formal, standard Tuscan, even if the people I am speaking with or listening to do not? This is kind of a social language question.

It feels stubborn and strange to chat with a group of people who are all native speakers who are all saying a word differently than I do, even if mine is "formally" correct. (It is equally strange to be speaking English to someone who is also a native speaker but who is mispronouncing a word that goes back and forth in our conversation. What to do?) Also, I am the sort of person who picks up other people's accents without thinking about it (even in English, my native language).

(c) Does anyone have any info about the accent used in particular TV series, films, or podcasts, so I could pick accordingly, or at least know what I am getting into? I have been getting RAI commissario shows, and the accent often, but not always, conforms to the region in which it is filmed. (Sometimes that just applies to everyone who is not a star. All the actors in Montalbano are from Sicilian regional theater-- except the stars.)

(d) I am going to be doing a sort of language exchange with a woman from my town who is from Roma. (I will be helping her with her accent in English, which is fluent but with some poor pronunciation habits, and formal writing.) I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity; I've wanted something like this for years. But I am not sure how much formal Italian education she has had access to. She left Italy decades ago, though she regularly engages in cultural activities in Italian, sees films in Italian, and is in an Italian choral group. I don't know if her Italian is contemporary. In short, I am grateful and certain that it will help me, but I don't know how to assess her as a language model.

My dream would be one day to be able to comfortably converse with Neapolitani and Siciliani, but those accents are the hardest for me-- quite apart from the dialect sprinkled in. Right now, I'm trying to stick to something more standard.

Grazie mille for any suggestions or advice.

A frivolous P.S.:
Gary, what is going on with Italians in Scotland? What you describe in your log sounds like they built an express Chunnel between the two countries. I am envious of your access--Italian roommates just showing up-- but curious. Also, a few years I was listening to a free "learn Italian" podcast until I realized I was starting to copy the host, and had begun speaking Italian with a Scottish accent. I hadn't associated the two countries before that (which shows my ignorance).

I will post some resources I have found useful at a later time. Adesso, devo dormire.

Ancora una volta:
Grazie tanto.


Mente & cervello.
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