I’m in a bit of a transitional phase right now… new year and on the job hunt (and don’t get me started about boys)… so what better time to get cracking on my 34 before 34 list? I’m working steadily on my museum goal since my free access will expire at the end of this month… I’m about halfway through that one. And since I can’t travel right now, I figured I’d get cracking on #13: Start learning Italian.
So if you can’t tell by my last name, I am part Italian. And ever since I did a report on the Italian Renaissance in middle school, I have wanted to speak Italian. I took French in high school… and because I was an English major in college, I was required to become proficient in a foreign language… so I stuck with French. And for a brief moment, I was fluent. I can still read it pretty well… and I still know the Hail Mary in French (thank you, Catholic school). I also know a surprising amount of Spanish… it just soaked into my subconscious from living in southern California.
But Italian is the language I wish I knew.
So since I can’t afford Rosetta Stone or even an in-house language course, I had to figure out how I was going to get started – and on the cheap. A friend recently showed me a book he was using to learn Spanish – Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish. I flipped through it and it was not only entertaining, but seemed to approach language learning in an interesting and creative way. So I looked to see if the author had any Italian books… unfortunately there was no “magic key” but she did have an introductory series for a bunch of languages – Italian included.
The book is cute and starts with simple phrases and builds you up to slightly more advanced phrases. There are no specific grammar lessons (which I still can’t decide if I like) and no pronunciation guides either – apart from individual letter sounds at the beginning… this resulted in me pronouncing phrases with a Spanish accent (you can take the girl out of southern California, but you can’t take the southern California out of the girl). So because I function on multiple learning modes, I needed an auditory component. So I turned to the Apple App Store.
I quickly found a couple of apps – TripLingo and Busuu. TripLingo is really just for travelling. Busuu actually tries to build your vocabulary. But as I attempted to go through the exercises, I couldn’t get the French and Spanish out of my head. So I downloaded the same app for those 2 languages as well… and found that if I could compare phrases and words in all 3 languages, I could remember them…
It is all slow going… as language learning can be. Obviously, I need to just go to Italy and immerse myself in the language and culture (anyone feel like donating to my travel fund??)… but the bright spot in all this is that my French and Spanish are really improving. I’m also realizing how many other languages I’d like to learn…
So I am going to cross this off my list… even though my polyglottic aspirations persist. My goal was to start learning… and that I have done… maybe for next year’s list I will make a goal to put it to good use.
Blog song title: “Tu vuò fà l’americano” by Renato Carosone (yes, this is the song sung by Jude Law and Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley… one of my favorite movies… I would like to go to Italy in the 1950s…)
Photo credit: ME