Tune In, Tune Out

This week, I finally got to explore more in depth the listicle that Ellen shared with us a few weeks ago on our Google+ community (she, also, introduced me to the word listiclesomething I had never heard of before!). I have tried a few of the apps on this list already, and attempted to incorporate a few others into my language-learning routine.

I was pleasantly surprised that I was  already using a few of the apps the list suggested, including DuoLingo and Forvo. These are apps I use regularly and they have both helped me significantly with my progress. I have also tried Memrise, but it didn’t work for me as well as others, seeing as I found it repetitive of what I was learning elsewhere. Other apps this list suggested include: HiNative app, Lang-8, Anki SRS, Italki, HelloTalk Language Exchange, and TuneIn Radio.

Ipod Listening.jpg

Photo Credit: tgraham via Compfight

I decided to try both the HiNative app and the TuneIn Radio app this week to enhance my learning of Italian. I chose these two because I felt, out of the list, they were the apps that could help me the most at my stage in learning. HiNative is an app that gives a platform for questions that one may have regarding anything and everything about the language he or she is learning. Then, someone with that language as their native tongue would answer your question to the best of their abilities. This seemed to be most helpful for me throughout my learning process thus far; as I have previously mentioned, the two principal apps I have been using – DuoLingo and Mango – are great for vocabulary and sentence comprehension, but lacked explanation on the little grammatical details so I could then use it personally in different situations. So, I decided to try it out by creating an account linked to my Twitter one, and asked the difference between the use of “i” in the plural versus the use of “gli” in the plural, something I have been curious about since my introduction to plurals.

HiNative question.png



After posting this question, I began looking through other questions and answers on HiNative, and they all seem to be very detailed and accurate. A quick four hours later, and my question is answered simply yet effectively:

Answer to HiNative question

Although I am not yet at the stage where I can hear whether or not it is accurate, I liken it to the use of la or le versus l’ in French; the first you use in front of consonants, whereas the second you use in front of vowels and words beginning with h. I couldn’t find this explanation anywhere in my current resources, and yet a few hours after signing up and posting a question on HiNative, I have my answer. I am looking forward to using this app to fill in blanks that my current resources cannot fill.

I am noticing the gaps to be filled more and more in the elaboration of my Italian tweets. I have been participating more actively on Twitter with the daily Italian words, making up sentences in which I can use those words that are both grammatically accurate and practical.


I could only do one of these above without any additional resources and help. All others, including those not included above, required some assistance, most often through the use of WordReference and my list of notes taken throughout my Mango and DuoLingo lessons. Still, even using those resources, and similar ones found on Pinterest, I have difficulty determining which preposition to use, and when to not use a preposition. Often, verbs include a preposition within them in Italian, so there are times when they are redundant and unnecessary. I do not know these circumstances, nor do Mango or DuoLingo explain them in the lessons I have encountered thus far. WordReference – although it explains translations to use in different circumstances – is incomplete as it lacks deeper explanations for contextual variations. These would be good examples to use in HiNative to see if I have translated my English sentences correctly into Italian.

Although HiNative has been very successful, I am finding it difficult to connect with TuneIn Radio to help with my progress. I have tried listening to different Italian radio stations, such as Italian Graffiati, Radio Italian Music, Italianissima Radio, Italianaradio, and Italian Radio PS. However, I am not a musical learner, and although I try, it is not my forte. I can barely understand music in English and French, which are my native languages; I most definitely can’t understand music in Italian. At first, when I was exploring these different radio stations, I couldn’t even determine if the music was in Italian. These were the same difficulties I encountered when I listened to the BBC radio instead of the BBC shows in Italian. Because I couldn’t understand the radio, I started tuning out. Then I was learning nothing. This just didn’t work for me and for my learning style. I need to associate image to sound; so shows are better for me as compared to radio.


Photo credit: Michael Pardo via Compfight


For this reason – among others – I have decided to postpone singing a little lullaby in Italian. Musical learning – although great for many and a vital part of the French immersion program I will admit – is not my greatest ally. I tried searching for different Italian sing-alongs to help with my learning process, but none seemed to fit with my learning process. I will continue searching, and if I find one that particularly peaks my interest – one that enhances and contributes to my learning and understanding of this new language – I will share it with you in this blog. However, as a learner, I need to understand how I learn best, and figure out which methods work for me and which don’t. I do not think this is a method that works for me, although I applaud and congratulate all those that have demonstrated this in this learning projects thus far. I will always be in awe of this type of learning and this type of work.

As a summary: HiNative is a handy and useful resource for learning a foreign language, but radio is not the most effective tool in my personal learning adventure.

As per usual, here are my ten new words for the week. I focused on the bathroom this time around, all the while including some adjectives, as I was learning them with DuoLingo recently:

Here are the translations of the new words from English to Italian and vice-versa:

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  • Un interruttore della luce – light switch
  • Un portasciugamani – towel rack
  • Un asciugamano – towel
  • Un cubo – cube
  • Una gabinetto – toilet
  • Il sapone – soap
  • Un rubinetto – tap
  • Un lavandino – sink
  • Una specchio – mirror
  • Bianco – white

(Italian is in purple while English is in green).

My goals for this week include:

  • Continue DuoLingo
  • Continue Mango
  • Use Pinterest, WordReference, HiNative and Forvo when blanks need filled
  • 10 new household words
  • Begin my final summary of Italian learning
  • Continue using Italian in every language and situations with my husband
  • Continue Tweeting in Italian
  • Explore some of the resources shared by Ashley in her most recent post

Have you used HiNative to help you with your learning of a foreign language? Or any other resources that I have yet to explore? Please let me know in the comment section below! Grazie mille! 



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