It is almost here, my hour of departure for the land of Italians!
I took Spanish in high school. I probably remember the same eight words everyone else does. I started to study the Italian language as a fluke. A friend of mine and her friend were enrolling in a course at a local college…local to them, but about 45 minutes away for me. I do not really have an ear for languages, but I figured that with others available to practice with, I might learn to speak it.
They quit after a few weeks of instruction, due in part to the lack of eligible bachelors also enrolled. I continued on, struggling through memorization of nouns, conjugation of verbs, and differentiation between “masculine” and “feminine” words. I eventually stopped going to that school, and attended one closer to home. While I forgot much of what I learned, some of if stuck, especially the people I met in the class! We try to meet regularly for a dose of Italian. Mostly we practice Italian by eating gelato.
I have been using a software package called “Rosetta Stone” to help learn more Italian. Their claim to fame is that they teach a foreign language the same way you learn to speak when you are a child. As I am no longer a child, the verdict is still out on its ability to teach me Italian.
There are four ways it attempts to teach-reading and listening, reading only, listening only and writing. It also allows you to repeat a phrase by a native speaker then measure the accuracy of your voice to the native speaker.
I think my microphone is broken.
I know enough to know I need a translator to have any semblance of a conversation. Sure, I can say,
“Hello, how are you?” (“Ciao, come sta?”),
“Do you speak English?” (Parli inglese?”),
“I will have …” (Prendo…”)
What I cannot do is understand the words coming out of the mouths of others.
I can write well enough, for a first grader. As long as I speak or write about past or present events, as I have not yet learned the future tense.
Before I leave Italy, I will be sure to learn to say “Ritonerò!” (I will return!)