Why is listening so important?
Listening, to put it in simple terms, confronts any speaker with the problem of being able to decode a message without the possibility of ‘going back’, i.e. it presupposes a decoding skill that only relies on some serially heard elements.
Every natural language was first born through speaking, and once codified also in a written form has developed different techniques of meaning focalisation which are not always perceived to be appropriate for both levels: for example, in Italian, dislocation (‘A Luca il libro gliel’ho dato’) is generally accepted more in the oral register than in the written one, where a glance will be sufficient –should there be any doubt– to establish who has been given what.
The impossibility of ‘going back’ often constitutes one of the learners’ greatest difficulties, as deduced from their ‘terror’ in having a conversation with a native speaker especially outside a classroom context, i.e. outside a tutored context where ‘going back’ would always be possible.
Practice in listening should be exercised from the very beginning when approaching a new language, so as to put the students in touch with its oral specificities right away: from the most basic, such as the native pronunciation&intonation, to the most intricate, such as the ability to “follow the thread” by focusing on the utterance as a whole and not on a single word whose meaning may not be clear.
In this respect, In Ascolto – Elementare is a book which takes into account the necessity for students to be put in contact with spoken Italian immediately, i.e. from their very first lessons: all the tracks are designed to get them promptly in touch with the everyday idiom, and are moreover performed by actors who are strictly native speakers.
The book is expected to be released at the beginning of the new school year!!
View some sample pages of the book