Excellent resources for learning Italian (or staying active/entertained if you already speak it).
This is kind of a "community" question to help us all out. We all know by now that you can only get so good at a language without reading, listening to, and conversing with native speakers (i.e. Immersion). This discussion is intended for us to share resources for supplementing our Duolingo learning and increasing immersion.
If you're learning Italian, in addition to Duolingo, what resources or techniques have you found helpful for boosting your language skills and deepening your language immersion?
If you're a native Italian, or a fluent speaker, what do you do that utilizes or stimulates your language skills? Do you watch italian films, hang out in chat rooms, get eBooks?
PLEASE BE SPECIFIC. I've asked similar questions before and often get vague responses like: "I watch movies in Italian with Italian subtitles." but then I can never find them.
It would be much more helpful if you could provide links, or specific films, books or music and where to buy/rent/watch them, or instructions on how to do whatever it is your do.
The idea of this discussion is not for general ideas, but specific resources and techniques. Thanks!
GENERAL LANGUAGE DISCUSSION:
I've also created a discussion (link below) for tips that are general to all language and to link to similar discussions in other lanugages.
Change your language settings:
If you're feeling brave, consider changing the language settings on your tablet, home computer, or even your smartphone. I recently changed my iPad language to Italian and enabled all of the "accessibility" options like text-to-speech etc.
So now everything that supports the language is in Italian, and you can highlight text and click "Leggi" to have it read the text aloud in Italian.
On an iOS device, these settings can be found in:
Settings>General>Accessibility (for voice over, speak selection, etc)
Settings>General>International>Language (to change to a new language)
I've been doing both of those for a few weeks -- really fun, and lots of new vocabulary! In addition if you have Siri, you can practice silly conversations. She's pretty strict about pronunciation.
I'll start things out with this:
Youtube.it (takes you directly to the Italian youtube).
You can search for your own stuff, but at least one thing I've found really helpful and entertaining is watching/listening to Fiorello videos, and there are a lot of them. His storytelling and delivery is very entertaining and he speaks clearly enough for us novizi to hear. The videos are pretty long, so they're easy to leave playing in headphones while you work.
Just search "Fiorello" or start with a nice 2 hr tv special like this: http://youtu.be/lCi0bwt8S04
Children's eBooks (Libri per bambini):
Let's face it... if we're just learning a language we're probably speaking at a Pre-K level. If you've got an iPad or a Kindle, they can be difficult to find - but there ARE children's eBooks available online. They're especially helpful because they have illustrations, so you can start associating words with images and ideas.
I've found it easier to find books in Italian on Amazon than on Apple's iBooks store, and here are a few I've found that are only a buck or two each (note: if you've got an iOS/Android device, you can download the kindle app to view these):
Il Topolino Furbetto (amazon/kindle): http://tinyurl.com/c8pftex
La Principessa Raggio di Sole e il Cane Puzzolente (amazon/kindle): http://tinyurl.com/afwq929
You can find some giallo italian movies (I'm not an expert but they're mystery/ suspense movies that have gore and other common elements) - on youtube. You have the option of english or italian subtitles which can be found on the captions icon.
I find it very important to have grammar books for the languages I learn. I recently brought new ones and I love them so much. Especially since Duolingo doesn't provide any grammar.
Of course you can find it all online but I prefer to have a book version where I can put notes in, colour stuff, reread when I'm not on the computer or sometimes just browse.
When I start a skill on here that is a grammar theme, I will read the whole chapter in my grammar, also if I don't need all of it instantly. Later in the tree, when a skill reappears, I will read it again. Like this I'm repeating what I did before and simultaneously learning the grammar chapter in context.
I'm German and using the Langenscheidt grammars now. I had others before and like these really much (I have a French one too). Buying tip for German users: http://www.amazon.de/dp/346834872X