In case you haven’t been able to take the time to explore all its features, here’s a guide to what you can do to make the most of what Yabla has to offer, which is plenty!
SUBTITLES & PLAY OPTIONS
Yabla videos have subtitles in Italian, which can be shown or hidden, and immediately below, subtitles in the translation language, which can also be shown or hidden. This allows you to learn at your own pace, in your own style. Some people like to look at the translation language right away, while others like to take the leap and see how much they understand with no subtitles at all. Some like to follow the Italian subtitles first. And if it’s too fast, just click “Slow” and the speech will slow down. You can repeat the same line as many times as you want to by clicking “Back.”
As often as possible, the English subtitles will be parallel to the Italian, and easy to follow. That’s our aim. But because languages work differently, in some cases the meaning or grammar of a phrase would be compromised if the translation were forced to be parallel. In these cases, the translators have to depart from parallel word order, use more than one English word to one Italian word, use one English word to several Italian ones, or even use a secondary meaning of an English word that might not seem to make sense. When this happens, it can stump you. It can take the wind out of your sails... but don’t despair! There’s help.
Clicking on a word opens a dictionary to the right of the video. This dictionary is amazing, by the way. Not only can you click on a word in Italian and get its translation (plus its conjugations if it’s a verb), but you can also click on a word in English and get its Italian translation. Cross-referencing can sometimes solve the problem. Don’t forget that while the dictionary is ample, Googling the word or going to a site like WordReference may give you additional meanings and uses.
If you do a search of the word in question in the Yabla lessons tab, you’ll be able to see if the problem word or phrase you’re dealing with has been addressed in the lessons. The lessons often contain links to more in-depth external resources as well. The lessons are free whether you subscribe to Yabla videos or not. Subscription to the Yabla newsletter, on which the lessons are based, and which announces new videos, is also free.
VIDEO WORD SEARCH
A word search in the videos tab will bring up all the uses of that word in Yabla videos, so by scrolling through the highlighted quotes from each video, you can get a sense of how it’s used, and if you wish, you can click on the video to see the word in context. Remember to do a search for conjugated verbs as well as verbs in the infinitive, and where nouns are concerned, in both their singular and plural forms.
The “comments” section of a video is a great place to express your questions or opinions. It allows you to engage with other users, and if you ask for help resolving a puzzle, you’ll find helpful responses from your fellow Yabla subscribers or from Yabla staff. This is also the place to make suggestions for lesson and video topics. We appreciate your feedback. Chances are, you’ll be helping out fellow learners as well as inspiring the translators and newsletter writers to find new solutions, which ultimately will make your learning experience richer. Remember, you can comment in your own language, or you can try out your new Italian skills, however advanced or elementary they may be. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! What did you like? What gave you trouble? What did you find boring? What would you like more of? How was the level? What would you like new Yabla videos to be about? You can also send any questions, suggestions, or feedback to email@example.com.
The vocabulary review (green button below the thumbnail of the video) will frequently give a second translation for a word, so check that out too, if you get stumped. The translation used in the video itself may be a secondary translation, so the vocabulary review will generally provide the more classic definition as well. This is a place to review a limited number of pre-selected words, in three different, interspersed modes: 1) The Italian word will be written and pronounced, and you choose the correct translation from among 6 words. 2) The English word will be written and you are to choose the correct Italian word from among 6. 3) The English translation is written and you are to write the correct Italian word. Diacritical marks are supplied for use on any keyboard. In the “Settings” tab, you can decide how many words to include in the review, up to 10.
A note about the words chosen for the vocabulary review: Most of the nouns include their articles, either definite or indefinite, so you can learn their gender, but some nouns are more often used without an article in either Italian or English, and so sometimes the article will get left out for this reason. Some words in a video don’t make an appearance at all in the vocabulary review. This is because for one reason or another, they could be cause for confusion. They might be “positive or neutral adjectives” in a feminine or plural form, thus not distinguishable from the masculine singular forms in English. This can lead to “wrong” answers. On the other hand, you will find some phrasal expressions in the vocabulary review that you won’t find in a dictionary.
Even though the vocabulary review contains only a limited number of words, you can make your own flashcards with words of your choosing. While watching a video, click on a word. The dictionary will open up, but at the same time, your word will be saved to your set of flashcards. Later, you can go to the flashcards section, and by simply clicking on a word the dictionary will open up. When you click on “review these words,” a window will open up where each word is pronounced (it will repeat each time you click on it), and you get a chance to decide whether you think you know it or not. Whichever way you decide, the word will show up in its video context, with the dictionary open to the word at the same time, so you have a great overview of the word in question. You can also click on the video to watch it again. Note that for this to be automatic, make sure “autoplay” is on once you are inside the review. You can remove the words from the flashcard list at any time.
The Yabla listening game is aimed at listening comprehension and writing, and is a great way to learn how to write in Italian. It’s designed to be played right after you’ve viewed the video. The words are chosen randomly from the video captions, and the more you play the game in a given video, the more words you’ll recognize and learn to spell. It will help you get a sense of how spelling works in Italian, and it will get easier and easier!
As you can see, there’s lots you can do with Yabla, beyond watching a video with subtitles. Make the most of it!