Sunday, January 30, 2011

4th time's a charm.



I have just started my 4th attempt to learn some Italian. First time, I wanted to be great. I went to a serious language school with a serious teacher and a room of serious students (many starting their 3rd or 4th language). Next two times? More casual setting, but I let work and a busy schedule derail me. This time, it's back with the "serious" teacher, except that this time when he emailed asking me what my goals were, I told him that I don't even need to speak Italian well. Just enough to help me make small talk and order competently from a menu.

I don't remember a time when I ever wanted to shoot for mediocre, until now, and it's kind of liberating. My lessons are on Saturdays and Sundays. I wake up at 7 or 8, study, then drive to these private lessons at 10am. He makes us espresso at the start of the class and the empty tazza makes its way around his loft later on: "The cup is on the table. The cup is under the chair. The cup is not on the desk." (That cup, I noted today, gets around.)

After butchering essere and avere verb forms, I grab coffee or a super late breakfast and head home. It's better than racing to a class after work, and because it's private, I can't hide when it's my turn to confuse my le, la, l', il, and los. The whole thing is pretty civilized.

It's kind of crazy to take these lessons. I mean, 3 hours a week won't get me too far, I realize. I may never speak Italian well. But I will settle for speaking Italian badly. Even bad Italian sounds pretty good to me.

If you want to speak Italian badly (or well) and you're in Seattle you can take classes from Marc Mariani HERE.



10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Complimenti Decorno! You're doing it the right way here. I learned Italian in a bunch of ways: college courses(convenient, I'm a prof), adult ed course(limited use), intensive course in Italy (blew off 2nd week for a romance, which taught me a TON of Italian), private lessons (taught in Prague by non-English-speaking Italian; my Czech as well as Italian improved). Enjoy, e in boca al lupo...

Keep us updated on your progress.

Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful language, people and culture.
I married an Italian and had a tutor for 9 months in order to be able to converse with my in-laws as they speak no English. Italians truly appreciate the effort. You will have such a wonderful time in Italy with all your verbs, articles and prepositions carefully rolling off your tongue!

mary said...

Good luck with the Italian. It was my fourth language--now mostly forgotten, but I can fake it. And I love Italy and Italians. Go for it. I promise, it gets easier and your brain will get smarter.

Ashley said...

That great. I just started taking it again recently and I actually started taking lessons via skype. Its unbelievable how well it works. $20 for a private hour lesson any time of the day that is convenient for you. Hard to beat that. ;)

Heidi said...

good luck with the Italian ~ my sister just came home from a semester in Florence and is totally depressed to be back. off subject, would you do pillow carrera marble tiles on a back splash or keep it flat? gratzie!

Anonymous said...

Mediocre is just fine dear. You want to enjoy yourself and connect more while you're there, not buy a villa in need of renovation and have a series of romances. I've finally made peace with that too. It's oddly liberating.

Anonymous said...

I love the language my mom's dialect was my first language. I learned English from watching Sesame Street. I always tell people if you can listen to as much Italian as you can-- music as well as TV (RAI International) if it's available. It does wonders for learning the language. Oh yes, and if you can chat in italian too (online that is).

Anonymous said...

Just in Italy. I too wanted to order from menu and not make an a$$ of meself. However, all the menus were in both English and Italian. Disappointment, but you will be in the one of the most beautiful places in the world with the best food.

allthingsitalian said...

Mi fa molto piacere sapere che vuoi imparare l'italiano.
Just try to stick with it and in a little while prosciutto, salame vino e pane will become familiar to you
Have fun in the mean time and try reading some italian recipes to practice

allthingsitalian said...

Divertiti, non preoccuparti un qualsiasi tentativo di parlare italiano in un ristorante ti farà servire al meglio!
so here you have it some opportunity for extra practice!
Have fun and if you want write to me and we will practice a bit.
Ciao