Radio Arlecchino: Italian Grammar and Culture Podcast-logo

Radio Arlecchino: Italian Grammar and Culture Podcast

Language Learning

Radio Arlecchino provides mp3 podcast lessons that illustrate specific Italian grammar points. Grammar examples and dialogs are built upon the escapades of Arlecchino, Pulcinella, and other masks of the Italian Commedia dell'arte. Radio Arlecchino is produced at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin. Website URL:


Austin, TX


Radio Arlecchino provides mp3 podcast lessons that illustrate specific Italian grammar points. Grammar examples and dialogs are built upon the escapades of Arlecchino, Pulcinella, and other masks of the Italian Commedia dell'arte. Radio Arlecchino is produced at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin. Website URL:




The University of Texas at Austin Department of French and Italian 1 University Station B7600 Austin, TX 78712


Episode 22: Episode 22: Truth and Consequences

If things had not been so wildly hectic here at Radio Arlecchino of late, this exciting episode would have appeared quite a bit sooner! But here it is at last, full of bone-chilling encounters of the second and third kind! Hypothetically speaking, that is. If you don’t tell the truth, you have to face the consequences. And we spell it all out for you, in every poignant tense and mood required. And what if Antonella were suddenly to be whisked away to Rome again, leaving Eric to his own...


Episode 21: Lost in the Woulds - The Conditional Mood

You can't keep a good Dottore down! Not only has his Futurometer been refurbished and re-installed, our learned friend has now provided Radio Arlecchino with another amazing device: the Conditionator 9000. Of course you would love to know how it works, and we would like to tell you, but if we did, we would have to... Well, anyway, it does work, we think, but you needn't take our word for it. Have your copy of the pdf with its transcript and notes handy and fire up your mp3 player of choice...


Episode 20: If You Can't Stand the Heat

The good news is that the Futurometer is being painstakingly repaired and the studio refurbished for enhanced security by a crack team of experts. The bad news is that the studio is currently in a noisy mess and apparently not a very safe place right now. So our trusty podcasters are hoping to find a more congenial atmosphere for this episode backstage at the Teatro Pazzimpalco, where our friends from the Commedia are about to raise the curtain on another show. Now what on earth makes them...


Episode 19: Episode 19: Talking about the Future - Global Thermogrammatical War

What happens here at the studio late at night, after the grammar gurus have gone home and all seems quiet and deserted? Yes, we thought so too, until we got a nocturnal distress call from the Futurometer. You'll be happy to know that Global Thermogrammatical War has been narrowly avoided, no thanks to a group of clever but snoopy students who dared to match wits with Radio Arlecchino technology! Join us for an unflinching look into the Future--conjugated and speculated just for you--in...


Episode 18: Likes and Dislikes - The catch of the day

The catch of the day in Episode 18 is Pulcinella, for Antonella has caught up with the Neapolitan superstar who disappeared shortly after the premiere of Arlecchino's blockbuster. In her exclusive interview with Pulcinè, as she kiddingly calls him in the Roman way, we'll hear several verbs that express likes and dislikes, plus several new ones that have other meanings but follow the famous Pleasure Sandwich recipe. The Radio Arlecchino cast and crew will be in riposo estivo for the next...


Episode 17: Likes and Dislikes - Casting call and scream test

There's plenty to like about this episode and about Arlecchino's new movie! In Episode 17, Casting call and scream test, we explore how to express likes and dislikes in the compound tenses, like the passato prossimo. And in a Spettacolo Stasera exclusive, Arlecchina recalls her harrowing experience when she answered Pantalone's casting call for the film! Let's listen ... Dialog: Italian Arlecchina e il suo provino a Spettacolo Stasera Antonella: Buona sera a tutti e benvenuti a Spettacolo...


Episode 16: Likes and Dislikes - On the red carpet

In Episode 16 of Radio Arlecchino, On the red carpet, we will learn about the verb piacere and how to express likes and dislikes. To an English speaker, the piacere construction is often confusing, for the subject in Italian is the person or thing that is pleasing, while the person who likes it is the indirect object! Eric and Antonella are in Venice for the premiere of Arlecchino's exciting new film. Will our friend turn out to be the next great wizard of the cinema? Let's listen...


Episode 15: The Holiday Special Continued

Holiday magic has allowed us to resume the remote broadcast we began in Episode 14. You may remember that, in the beginning of our Radio Arlecchino Holiday Special, Eric had been invited to join our commedia friends as they celebrated the season backstage before opening a new show. As they shared reminiscences of holidays past, we reviewed the grammar points we've encountered so far. So now we can continue to enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings, as we continue to review our grammar. Let's listen...


Episode 14: The Holiday Special

In Episode 14, The Radio Arlecchino Holiday Special, Eric has been invited to join our commedia friends as they celebrate the season backstage before opening a new show. As they share reminiscences of holidays past --and really past-- we'll review the grammar points we've encountered so far: narrating in the past, expressing emotions and opinions, issuing commands, and using pronouns. Of course the big question is: will Antonella make it back from Rome in time for the holidays? Only one way...


Episode 13: Pronouns - The joy of stress

In Episode 13, The joy of stress, we will continue our discussion of double pronouns and how stress can affect the spelling and placement of object pronouns. We will also talk about when it is absolutely necessary to use a 'stressed' or tonic pronoun: to resolve ambiguity, to compare or contrast, to answer a question, or for emphasis. Dottor Balanzone will call to share his snack of the gods. What a treat - let's listen! Dialog: Italian Eric and an Eager Young Italian Grammar Cadet...


Episode 12: Pronouns - Just look at yourself

In Episode 12, Just look at yourself, we continue our study of pronouns with reflexive pronouns, which are used with verbs where the action is reflected back onto the subject. We will also talk about the interesting metamorphoses that take place when two pronouns occur with one verb. Two esteemed pronoun experts will be joining us, Dottor Ballanzone, of course, and Dr. Prunella Pronominetti from the Grammar Abuse Society! Let's listen! Dialog: Italian Il Dottore, per i Verbi...


Episode 11: Pronouns - Adult supervision required

In Episode 11, Adult supervision required, we will blast off with the Dottore into the world of pronouns! We will focus on subject pronouns and object pronouns, both direct and indirect. Generally speaking, there are two major issues involved with Italian pronouns: one is which pronoun to use, and the other is where to put the pronoun in relation to the verb. We'll try to help straighten both of these issues out in our next three episodes. Let's listen and start the pronoun countdown...


Episode 10: Imperative - For best results

In Episode 10, For best results, we learn more about the 'noi' and 'voi' forms of the imperative mood. We also summarize the general rules for the use of pronouns with the imperative. By now, the 'noi' and 'voi' forms of the imperative should hold no mysteries: they're identical to the present indicative, and negative commands are made simply by placing a 'non' in front of the imperative form. Episode 10 comes to us from the center of Rome, where the Dottore will be showing tourists how to...


Episode 9: Imperative - Build a better mousetrap

In Build a better mousetrap, we will focus on the tu forms of the imperative -- the most frequently used. While the tu forms of second- and third-conjugation verbs are the same as the present indicative, the forms for first-conjugation verbs are different. The imperative for these is the present indicative stem + -a, as in guarda! (look!). The second anomaly is in the negative command form, where non is placed in front of the infinitive of the verb rather than in front of the imperative...


Episode 8: Imperative - Your call is important to us

In 'Your call is important to us,' we begin looking at l'imperativo - one of the four formal verbal moods in Italian. The imperative is used to issue direct commands: you tell someone to do (or not to do) something. When you address someone formally in Italian, you use the third-person subjunctive, and that's a rather indirect method. In this episode, we're looking at the 'true' imperative, for first and second person. Let's listen as Antonella phones home from the Villa Borghese in Italy...


Episode 7: Subjunctive - Someone's in the kitchen with Pulcinella

In 'Someone's in the kitchen with Pulcinella,' we conclude our discussion of the subjunctive with a summary of all the rules. Remember the WHEIRDO verbs? We'll review all the tenses of the subjunctive: the presente, passato, imperfetto, and trapassato and contrast these with the use of the formal imperative. Pulcinella will get down with the imperative as he cooks up a delicious spaghetti frittata! Gnam, gnam, gnam. Let's listen ... Dialog Frittata di spaghetti Benvenuti,...


Episode 6: Subjunctive - All's well that ends ...

In 'All's Well That Ends,' we are once again backstage at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. We will tackle the imperfect and the pluperfect subjunctive as we continue delving into the sequence of tenses. If the verb in the main clause is in a past tense or in a tense of the conditional, we will use either the imperfect or the pluperfect subjunctive. It's all a question of when the two actions take place in relation to each other. What's going on backstage? Let's listen ... Dialog 1 -...


Episode 5: Subjunctive - Opening night jitters

'Opening Night Jitters' is the second in our series on the subjunctive mood. Tonight we are in Naples at the beautiful San Carlo Theatre for a performance of the Commedia dell'arte. As we learn about the present and past subjunctive, we will delve into the sequence of tenses. We use the present subjunctive when the action in the subordinate cluase takes place at the same time or later than the action of the verb in the WHEIRDO clause, the past subjunctive when the action in the subordinate...


Episode 4: Subjunctive - I'm in the mood for ...

In this episode, 'I'm in the mood for ...,' we will talk about the 'moody' subjunctive. The most common use of the subjunctive is to express actions colored by emotion or doubt, rather than reported as matters of fact. The subjunctive mood is used in a dependent clause introduced by 'che' when the subject of the dependent clause is different from the one in the main clause. It is triggered by verbs in the main clause that we call WHEIRDO verbs. These are verbs that denote Wish or will, Hope,...


Episode 3: Narrating in the past - trapassato prossimo, trapassato remoto

Today's episode, 'Pulcinella Plugged,' will explain the last two tenses in our past tense trilogy, the trapassato prossimo and the trapassato remoto. The function of the trapassato prossimo is to put actions in the right chronological order: to report actions that happened further back in the past than other past tenses. It's the most past of all the past tenses. Like the passato remoto, the trapassato remoto is a tense used in literature and narrative writing. It is very similar to the...