Rose Couture

Aspiring teacher. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward


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Final Learning Project Assessment

As the semester comes to an end, many projects are due and the majority require reflections and assessments on the acquisition of knowledge. For my ECMP355 learning project, I chose to learn the Italian language. I planned on doing so with the help of a Google App named Duolingo, in addition to trying to connect with others online to find more resources. For the most part, I used the application weekly and went through the learning units like a “good” student would. I cannot say that I have learnt how to be fluent in Italian or that I  know how to have a conversation with someone, but my vocabulary is broader than it was when I first began and I can pick up words and general meaning when listening to Italian “conversations”. With Duolingo, I learnt:

  • To conjugate a total of 48 verbs from andare (to go) to volere (to want);
  • 56 markers of dates and time such as: months (dicembre, gennaio, febbraio), days of the week (domenica, lunedi, martedi, mercoledi), seasons (primavera, l’estate), hours (ora), time of the day (mezzogiorno, mezzanotte), etc.;
  • 82 words that have to do with food, including how to say lunch (pranzo) and dinner (cena);
  • A total of 28 animals, my favourites are penguin (pinguino) and turtle (tartaruga);
  • 28 words to describe clothing so that I can now say: Io porto un capotto e i guanti a l’inverno (I wear a jacket and gloves in the winter);
  • 26 preposition words, 13 question words (che, come, perché), 13 colors (arancione, giallo, grigio), 13 conjunctions as well as 12 common phrases (arrivederci, grazie, ciao)
  • For a total of 375 words

I have learnt quite of bit of vocabulary with Duolingo, but I realized at the end that I needed to “hear” it more. Yes, the lady recited the sentences as many times as you wanted, in addition to giving you the correct answers/translations, but they were for the majority short sentences that always had the same structure. I read that one of my classmates Ashley also had a similar dilemma (she was learning ASL) where she learnt a lot of vocabulary, but not enough sentences and/or discussions. One of my readers suggested that I look online for Italian radio stations where they play the “typical pop music”, but where all the commercials and dialogues were in Italian. I made a quick Google search on these Italian radio stations, but did not find anything right off so I decided to stop digging. Bad move. Today, while I was summarizing what I learnt with Duolingo, the vocabulary discussion question came to me and I remembered the comment from my reader. So I went and looked again for Italian radio stations, in addition to Italian podcasts, BINGO! This is when I fell upon this News in Slow Italian website, which I really wish I would have found way before today (I made a post about it too) as it seems to be an incredible learning tool. Maybe after listening to conversations for a while and increasing the speed, I will be able to finally watch a movie in Italian without thinking about how fast they are talking and how I cannot understand anything.

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I was the most happy to have completed my Prepositions unit, as this was my biggest challenge and I did have to dig on YouTube to find additional resources to completely grasp the material that was making me flustered. I completed a total of 16 units like the ones in yellow you can see above, that were made of a total of 73 lessons. I had to try each lesson at least twice, if not more in the difficult ones to unlock the following lessons, which in turn unlocked the following units. One of the things I liked the best was that I was able to practice the lessons as much as I wanted to if I did not feel confident with the material, and I was able to learn at my own rhythm, without fearing a test or having someone quizzing me on the spot about Italian expressions, words or verbs. It was not a stressful experience and this is one of the reason why I will continue learning the language so that I can achieve my dream to one day visit Italy and its thousands of treasures!

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New Italian Ressource

While browsing the web for Italian podcasts and radio stations, I fell upon News in Slow Italian. I found this website to be a little more helpful than Duolingo in some ways, because you are able to listen to the news in Italian, and it is done slowly so that you can read and follow at the same time. I tried watching a movie in Italian thinking I was ready to attempt such thing, but they talk way too fast for me to understand anything. A lot of content on this website is free for beginners and you can subscribe for a fee when you get to the intermediate level or if you want to have access to the flashcards, grammar, expressions and the quizzes. All the News Stories are free to listen to and there is text that accompanies the voice. You can scroll over the red parts in the text if you do not understand what they are saying and it will give you the English translation, which is fantastic. I am not certain of how many news stories you can listen to until you need to subscribe, but I am definitely going to give it a try and attempt to get the most out of it. I enjoy learning with Duolingo, but I want to listen to actual conversations, as I believe I will learn and understand better that way, so this is a great discovery I have made. What about you, do you learn better with visuals or speech or a combination of both? Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 13.03.45


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Italian Lessons

After much struggling during my last “preposition session”, I went on YouTube to try to find Italian lessons that related to prepositions, successfully. The first video contained really simple prepositions that I already knew how to use, but it was still helpful to watch it and review before attempting to complete my unit.

Not being able to find what I did not grasp at the time, I found another video. Lengthier, but it contained everything I was looking for. I skipped to about 6:00 minutes because the content was a little repetitive from the last video I watched. In this video, the instructor explained how del, delle, della, dello were formed and when to use them. It helped me a lot and I was then able to complete the rest of my prepositions unit! I think that from now on, when I do not completely understand some terms or grammar rules, I will turn to YouTube as there are many videos available that can help me in my learning process.


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Learning Some More Italian!

Here is another short video to show you all my progress in my #learningproject that consists of grasping/understanding the Italian language. So far so good, I try to find at least 3 hours a week to put into this project and even if the semester ends and the assignment is over, I will keep on going with my learning. It is not going to be over! I will also keep posting my progress on my blog as well as with YouTube videos!

I had the suggestion of listening to Italian radio to practice my listening skills and I was wondering if some of you out there might have suggestions for interesting Italian podcasts and/or radio stations, it would be greatly appreciated! Hope you have an awesome weekend, and enjoy the Grey Cup!


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Learning Italian Week 2

As this past week has been pretty crazy, and so as will be the upcoming week, I only completed two units from the Italian learning on Duolingo, but I practiced all the units for an hour and a half.In the past week’s units, I learned how to identify new types of food, how to conjugate my verbs (again), how to form proper sentences, how to use the right negative form, new verbs, and the plural of words I had previously used. Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 16.15.36Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 16.15.43

I learned that the sentence “I drink chocolate cream”, is “Io bevo la crema al cioccolato” in Italian, and that “Gli cavalli mangiano le carote”, translates to “The horses eat the carrots”. I have learned 37 new words with the “Food” unit, including kitchenware like cups, plates and forks, verbs like to cook and to boil, some vegetable and fruits, and so much more!!Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 16.25.21

25 new words were taught to me throughout the “Plural” unit. In this unit I found out that the noun butterfly is farfalla in Italian, and its plural form is farfalle, just like the butterfly noodles inyour kitchen cupboard. Yes, in your kitchen! I was also introduced to the contraction ai for a+il. Here is a snapshot of some of the words from the “Plural” unit, and as you can see, I practiced ALL my units for a while today until ALL the words from ALL the units had full “gold” bars, which means they are all “strong”. I accomplished that by clicking the blue buttons that say “Practice Weakest Words” or the “Lesson Practice” from the home page menu.

I am still loving Duolingo, and I would love to hear if someone else out there is also using Duolingo and I want to know what they like or do not like about the app! Have a great week!  Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 16.30.44


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Learning Italian with Duolingo!

This is my first report for my first week of Italian learning with Duolingo from the Google Apps. I chose to capture my first time back on the application by recording my screen with the help of QuickTime. This allowed me to also talk at the same time, to try to explain you how it works, but the recording is pretty self-explanatory. I have yet to resolve how to get my microphone working to fully enjoy the many things this application has to offer, but when I practice, I often just recite the words out loud so that I can say I have said them at least once during my learning process. I decided to use YouTube to upload these videos in order to show a few of them to you. As I am typing this, there’s 1% completion on my upload to you tube and 82 minutes left to my uploading. Any tricks to make this process go faster?

In my first week, I have covered both Basics 1 & 2, as well as Phrases, which consists of commonly used phrases in Italian. I have learnt that just like in French, all the nouns have a gender, feminine or masculine, and the article used with the noun can vary depending on the gender and the form of that specific noun. I have learnt the following verbs: essere, avere, scrivere, leggere, bere and mangiare. These words, in the same order, mean: to be, to have, to write, to read, to drink and to eat. I have also learnt how to master noun such as ragazzo, ragazza, donna, uomo, mela, acqua, pane, zucchero, giornale and libro, as well as their plural forms. In the same order: boy, girl, woman, man, apple, water, bread, sugar, newspaper and book. Common phrases were constructed with common words such as: arrivederci, grazie, buonanotte, buonasera, prego, spaciente, buongiorno and favore (goodbye, thank you, goodnight, good evening, you’re welcome, sorry, hello, please). I have also started exploring the negative form which is a little trickier. When translating from Italian to English, I often catch myself translating in French first and then switch it to English, it makes it a little easier for me. Overall, great first couple of days and I can’t wait to learn some more. Next are the foods! Have you ever tried Duolingo? Don’t you want to learn a new language in a fun way? Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 17.01.10

Here is a screenshot of my Italian skill tree and I will be linking my video to my blog once I am done uploading and editing it on YouTube. Have a great week! 🙂

Here is my video, as promised, not the greatest but hey!