Italian conversation

The important bit!

The Italian conversation group meets twice weekly – on Tuesdays and Fridays at 3 pm via Zoom.  We normally meet at the Owls Roost Café, Minehead, but while COVID restrictions are in place, we are meeting online, using Zoom.  Please remember to check the Calendar in case of any late changes to schedule.

Our group is led by Bettina Grieser Johns, and she may be contacted at 07405 035063, or by email at

Image shows group members playing scrabble

Italian conversation at the Owls Roost. Photo by Cherrie Temple

Benvenuto/a nel nostro gruppo!  Leggiamo libri di livello B1, chiacchieriamo ed a volte impariamo un po’ di grammatica e parliamo di argomenti di attualità – ma soprattutto ci divertiamo!  Se ti sembra divertente, uniteti a noi.  Attualmente, abbiamo spazio per un’altra persona.  [It may be best not to let the screen reader loose on this!]


March 2021. Cherrie Temple, one of the Group’s members writes “Incredibly, it is almost one year since we went into the first ‘lockdown’. At that time, our group moved to twice weekly Zoom sessions.  For a short while we were able to return to the Owls Roost where we had previously met each week. We also continued one of our Zoom sessions as a u3a member from Taunton had joined us. When restaurants and cafes are allowed to reopen, we are hoping to return to the Owls Roost. Until then, we will be continuing as previously. It goes without saying that we are still learning and having fun, especially via online Italian scrabble.”

We are continuing to meet twice weekly via Zoom.  On Tuesdays, four of us have started a new workbook to provide us with a wider learning experience.

From the cover of ‘Il nuovo affresco’ reading book

In addition, we have become Italian scrabble addicts and play regularly online. At our Friday Zoom session, we welcome a member from Taunton u3a.  We usually read some ‘Easy Italian’ publications: our present ‘book’ is about a number of famous Italian women and their stories  (info. from Cherrie Temple).

Image shows a Scrabble board being used in Italian language

Italian scrabble! Photo by Cherrie Temple

2020. The lockdown in March required adjustment and we learnt how to conduct Zoom meetings.  Having met in person once a week for two hours before the lockdown, we decided to have two weekly Zoom meetings of 40 minutes.  (Heartfelt thanks to the IT Champions who helped whenever we had questions!)  Fridays was soon dedicated to ‘Literature’ (Easy Readers for our level), where everybody took a section to read out loud and then ask the others comprehension questions.  We learnt a lot of new vocabulary this way!  On Tuesdays, we did what we felt like doing, such as discussing articles from the EasyItalianNews.  We restarted the in-person meetings in late August, learning how to play Scrabble in Italian!  With new restrictions in November, we will go back to Zoom meetings twice a week and be grateful for all the material that is out there on the Internet – Easy Readers, magazines for Italian learners, crosswords, etc. – dug up by our active and resourceful members!

Italian Christmas

The Group contributed a page to the Advent Calendar 2020.  It may be viewed here.


The members meet every Monday morning at Owl’s Roost Café in Minehead.  The sessions start at 10 am and last about two hours.  After being in operation for one year, the group has five regular participants.  About half of our time together is dedicated to our chosen textbook.  Having reached lesson 13 out of 20, we are hoping to be done with the remaining lessons in a few months’ time.  The other half of our meeting is given over to listening and speaking exercises, with materials and topics contributed by all.  We definitely feel we have made progress from where we started and look forward to becoming ever more fluent in the course of the coming year.


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