How To Create An Amazing Language Journal

What if you had a language learning tool that costs you hardly anything, adapts to your own preferences, boosts your memory and helps concentration?

Turns out you do, and it's probably in your bag right now: Your notebook!

Today on the podcast I'm joined by language lovers Kathryn and Sam who are passionate about taking fantastic language notes. Listen to discover their experiences, language learning tips and strategies for effective note taking.

This episode of the show is sponsored by LiveLingua (click for a free lesson), the best place to connect to your new favourite Skype teacher.

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Why Keep a Notebook?

There are so many huge benefits to keeping a language learning notebook, from the brain science aspects all the way to mindfulness and wellbeing.

Personalised Learning

Language learning notebooks are a completely blank canvas where you can design the textbook of your dreams. You control the layout and the content, and get to create what makes sense to you.

Clearer Thinking

Writing in a notebook means you are expressing concepts and sentences in a way that makes sense to you personally. It automatically helps organise what you are learning. Sam mentions that he selects what he finds most helpful and important from podcasts, YouTube videos and online lessons so he can curate his own version of a personal textbook.

Memory Boosts

When you write your notes by hand, you become better at remembering them. The act of writing, perhaps even colouring or illustrating your note is an in-depth repetition of what you’re learning. Add to that the personal connection as you write what is meaningful to you, and the increased repetitions as you look back over your notebook, and what you have created is a reliable system for remembering what you learn.

Enjoyment

If you have a creative side you’d like to unleash, your language learning notebook is a welcome new playground. Kathryn and Sam already loved drawing, design and papercrafts. The language notebook became a way of adding language to what they enjoy, and it has helped create time to combine two great hobbies.

Freedom from screen

Learning online gives you access to infinite materials, but sometimes it’s hard to remember everything that you see. The notebook becomes your place to capture the coolest bits you find on the web, the new words you learn from an app, everything you find in your personal language learning world.

What Can You Write In The Notebook?

Anything and everything! The possibilities are endless: Kathryn keeps her journal in her target language Norwegian. Sam doodles around tricky pronunciation rules and curious idioms. Here are some more ideas:

  • Vocab doodles or lists

  • Jokes & Cute Pictures

  • Repeat and review things you learnt from YouTube or a podcast

  • All types of language learning goals and motivations

  • Memories from cool things you’ve done

  • Tracking: Core skills balance, daily contact with an app

  • Your resource lists

  • Weekly learning plans

Get Inspired With These Instagram Language Journalers

Episode Links

How Can I Inject Fun Into Language Learning? (Special Guest: Olly Richards)

Having fun is a key to success when it comes to most big endeavours. Surely language learning is one of those, too. But how can you best have fun when you’re learning a language? In this podcast episode, Olly Richards from I Will Teach You A Language joined me to discuss how you can love learning languages and have fun with it.

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9 of the Best Podcasts for Learning Italian

podcasts italiano

Buongiorno! Who doesn’t dream of beautiful Italy: world-class landscapes, breath-taking history, outstanding food, and the culture of dolce fare niente! Well, not quite niente - which means “nothing”. There’s probably one little thing you want to try: learning Italiano!

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time in your busy life for learning more Italian?

Do you want to speak more like an Italian native?

Podcasts are a great way to add a little Italian listening practice into your day-to-day life. They are free, and can accompany any part of your day: driving a car, washing your dishes, doing laundry, working out, reading, and more.

Discover 9 of the best resources for other languages.

The Fluent Show

In addition to the Italian podcasts you’ll find in this article, check out the Fluent Show. That’s my own show, co-hosted by Lindsay Williams, where we discuss languages, learning methods, and how to live a multilingual life. Click here to listen and subscribe.

Quick Primer: How Do Podcasts Work?

If you’re curious about podcasts, but not quite sure how they work, here’s what you need to know:

  1. You can subscribe for free to podcasts on your phone, tablet, or computer

  2. If you use an iPhone or iPad, you can use the Podcasts app. If you’re on a Mac, use the itunes directory

  3. On a PC or Android device, try the Stitcher app for a quick and easy start

  4. Subscribing means you’ll always have the latest episode ready and waiting for you as soon as it’s published

Italian is a great language for learning by podcast, so let's dive into that top 9 list

In this article you’ll find:

  1. Italian Podcasts For Beginners
  2. Italian Podcasts For Intermediate and Advanced Learners
  3. Italian Video Resources
  4. Podcasts To Help You Learn Everyday Italian

Italian Podcasts For Beginners

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Radio Arlecchino

This is a very grammar-focused podcast, mostly in English, and focuses on making grammar points easily digestible through captivating stories and lots of dialogues. Their focus is on helping you speak. The coolest feature of each episode is a PDF transcript of the MP3 audio with notes and a discussion forum for each episode on the website.

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ItalianPod101.com (InnovativeLanguage)
 
ItalianPod101 from InnovativeLanguage covers the basic through advanced levels of Italian. The episodes are exciting and immersive. One episode I particularly enjoyed is Must-Know Italian Slang Words and Phrases - Expressions to Describe Someone You Dislike. It was one of the most humorous episodes and I learned about how colourful Italian insults can be! 

The dialogues are presented by engaging hosts in a clear, concise way covering many grammatical features and cultural topics. On the website you can sign up for premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum.

Italian Podcasts For Intermediate and Advanced Learners

News in Slow Italian

slow italian podcast

News in Slow Italian, an intermediate level podcast, discusses world news, grammar, and expressions in the form of slowed down audio. Every episode is a virtual immersion into the Italian-speaking world showing grammar and vocabulary in context. The hosts are engaging and they show you that the language is alive and vibrant and waiting for you to dive into it. 

The audio is very clear and easy to follow. On the website there are transcripts for each episode available with grammar, expressions, pronunciation, and quizzes. 

Arkos Academy Learn Italian

italian podcast arkos

Arkos Academy is mainly for the intermediate and advanced levels of learning Italian. The audio is mostly in Italian and the recordings are at a slower than normal pace, which allows you to really focus on strengthening your listening skills. There is also a lot of information on Italian culture and society, along with transcripts from each lesson on the website so that you can follow along and actively practice both your listening and reading at the same time.

As an added bonus, the Arkos Academy website offers a directory of private native teachers and excellent articles about Italy in Italian. 

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Podcast Italiano

This podcast is almost entirely in Italian and is mainly designed for intermediate learners although you can easily select your level and choose to listen to episodes that are right for you. The website includes transcripts as well as helps learners learn colloquialisms in the “Usi Colloquiali” (Colloquial Uses) section. Host Davide mixes stories from his own life with handy new vocabulary - a winning mix!

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Italiano Automatico Podcast

The Italiano Automatico podcast is great for upper intermediate and advanced learners of Italian. It’s total immersion combined with lots of interesting topics and explains idiomatic and colloquial expressions. It is the companion podcast to the popular Italian learning website Italiano Automatico by Alberto Arrighini.

Italian Video Resources

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Yabla Italian

Yabla is a video-based learning platform with bilingual subtitles and integrated dictionaries. The subtitles are interactive, which is a really cool concept! Check out how Yabla works in detail by reading my full review. One episode I particularly enjoyed is “Il mio mondo Su(r)-Reale” by Federica Reale, where she discusses how she conducts art workshops for children and adults to teach them how to create highly personalized books using recycled paper.

Yabla is great for all levels from basic to advanced, and you can check out their podcast and their videos for hours of entertainment.

Podcasts To Help You Learn Everyday Italian

30 Minute Italian

This show is ideal for learners at any level. The podcast host Cher Hale is super charming, and she provides fun, useful content for Italian learners about the language and the culture.

Cher says:

The Iceberg Project is an online experiment on how when you don’t know Italian you only see the surface of Italian culture (or the tip of the iceberg). When you get into learning the language, you’re able to deeply understand the mentality and mindset of Italian people (that is seeing the rest of the iceberg underwater). It’s about promoting understanding and compassion for Italian culture.

The show covers a variety of topics way beyond your usual textbooks. Check out Cher's episodes on How to Write a Love Letter in Italian, Phrases to Buy Jewelry in Italy, or her Tips for Navigating the Train System in Italy.

Coffee Break Italian

coffee pod italian

Coffee Break Italian, a podcast from Radio Lingua Network, combines Italian language lessons with a lot of useful information about Italian food, culture, Italian speaking countries, and so on.

My favourite part of the podcast is the chemistry between relaxed and charismatic host Mark from Scotland, native Italian speaker Francesca, and Italian learner Katie as they guide through Italian grammar, conversation, culture, and society. I particularly enjoyed several episodes, including one about where the hosts talk about where you come from, nationalities, one about learning to talk about where you live, and the names of many countries. They were very fun to work through!

The dialogues are presented by engaging hosts in a clear, concise way covering many grammatical features and cultural topics. On the website you can sign up for the premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum for a subscription fee.

Advanced Learner Tip: Native Italian Podcasts

The Italian podcast world has come a long way in recent times, and these days you’ll be able to find a big array of native level content to listen to when you want to get Italian language immersion. You can choose from a full catalogue of shows on topics from politics to film reviews.

The easiest way to access native Italian language podcasts is to go to iTunes and switch your country setting to Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, or Switzerland. There’s no restriction on your switch, and you’ll be able to access all podcasts in the same way that listeners from Italy can.

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Do You Have an Italian Favourite?

If you like your podcasts in italiano, leave a comment below and share more recommendations.

This article was researched & co-written by Alex Gentry who also writes on Medium. Check him out!