Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Learning Italian with Muzzy

A couple of days ago Sadie was playing in the living room and as I listened she started talking to herself. After rambling on a bit I heard her say: "One, two, three..." then a pause before: "Uno, dos!" and another pause followed by "un, deux, trois!" The next day as she started climbing up the stairs she said, "one, two... dos!" But when she heard me telling Nani what she'd said she said, in a rather exasperated voice, "Three!"

For a couple of weeks now we've been watching the Muzzy DVDs together as a family each evening. Muzzy is the BBC's language program. When I bought the program we thought we were just getting one language, but we were excited to receive the program set and find that when you order English, Spanish, French, Italian or German, you receive a DVD with all five languages on the same set of disks. You can also order Russian or Mandarin separately, but the five language set is definitely the best deal if you're interested in learning more than one language!

We usually watch Italian together most nights, but every now and then we throw in French (we picked French to watch with Italian because it was close but, we're hoping, not so close as to be really confusing). Hopefully Paul will have picked up enough Italian to help him this January when he travels to Rome!

I was a little skeptical when I first read a description of the story line before purchasing the DVDs. The story is pretty silly. The main characters are the king, queen, princess, king's advisor, gardener and Muzzy, the big green clock eating alien from outer space. The gardener and princess are in love, but the king's advisor also loves the princess. When the gardener is thrown in jail after the king and queen find out that he loves the princess he meets Muzzy the clock eating alien, who is there because he ate a bunch of parking meters. At the same time the king's advisor decides to use a computer program to print out a new princess, who loves him, but the program breaks and starts printing out dozens of princesses. It just gets sillier and sillier from there.

But, most likely because of the silliness, Sadie instantly loved it! And while there are only three short story DVDs (there is a lot of other material that comes with it, from CDs to vocabulary DVDs) I've been surprised by how much they pack into each episode and at how effectively the program seems to be working.

I think it does help that we're using it together as a family and that we've been trying to use what we've learned.

Sadie's little sponge like brain seems to be absorbing so much! When I said "susina" she ran into the kitchen and started trying to climb up on the counter to reach a plum! This program may not make any of us fluent in Italian, but it's definitely a step in the right direction!

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