Thursday, April 19, 2007

Studio Italiano es Molto Dificile!

Dusk view of Firenze from the Arno
How long has it been since you learned something new? I don’t mean the trivia and minutiae that we all hear and pick up on an everyday basis. I am talking about REALLY learning something. Something that you know little about, have some interest in, have to read, memorize, study, etc? It seems to me like it used to be a lot easier than it is now!

The first half of my class every day is grammar. Grammar in Italian is somewhat different because they have feminine and masculine applied to everything, including inanimate objects, so first you have to figure out whether the word is masculine or feminine, singular or plural before you know what article and preposition to use with it, and what letter the verb that accompanies the noun ends with. Really, it’s a lot to think about! And who ever cared or thought about whether a table or a door was masculine or feminine, and how would you begin to figure out "the sex" of those things?

Then there is just the regular vocabulary. I am in the process now of making "flash cards". Remember those? I spend hours a day conjugating verbs. I don’t think I even remember how to conjugate English verbs, which might make it easier.

The second half of the class is conversation. I like that part much better oddly enough. You know I am not a big "talker". I seem to retain more when speaking and definitely build my confidence around pronunciation, etc. I have been taking a poll, and the good news is that Italians cannot tell that I have a Southern accent. In fact, they sometimes have difficulty discerning British, American, and Australian. I bet that pisses off some Brits (huh, Linda?)
Really it makes sense because in Italy there are a number of dialects as well, which I cannot discern. The best thing about Italian is that every letter they use in a word makes a sound. That seems to be a real difficulty for them when learning English because of all of the "silent" letters that we have.

On Friday, I have my first test. I know it will not surprise you to know that I am as compulsive about learning Italian as I am about other things. Even though it has only been 8 days, I feel like I should be further along than I am. My teachers are constantly saying to me, "Tranquile, Karen, tranquile. Piano, piano" (Translation: Relax, Karen, relax. Slowly, slowly) I guess some things never change.
Wish me luck, I need it.

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