What follows is a chronicle of my attempts to come to grips with the language, along with many diversions and excursions to soak up the art [with some difficulty], history [with great interest], culture [with much pleasure] and the wine [with little encouragement] and the cuisine [with great enthusiasm and gusto] of Italy.
I recently came across this great article via the BBC website by Breena Kerr [22 June 2017] ... I just had to share it.
How Italian Became the Language of Love
I have had many 'highs' and many 'lows' ... the 'highs' come from finally understanding some words AND their context ... in equal or greater measures are the 'lows' that come from starting to realise just how much more there is still to understand ... the paradox being that the more you learn, the less you know because you become aware of how much more there is still to understand! Fortunately most Italians have a good understanding of English and they enthusiastically will help you out ... I always apologise for my very poor Italian and ask if they could please talk to me in Italian ... that is a great ice-breaker.
I have not tried to teach Italian to anyone visiting this site. That is way beyond my abilities, though the odd word is provided here and there. What rather I am trying to do is introduce you to some of the steps in my as-yet-unfinished journey, to provide some pointers and to encourage you to take on some of the amazing challenges that lie ahead.
As with so many things, it is only when you are truly immersed [even submerged] that you start to understand things. The three language schools I have attended in Italy take a similar approach - you are immersed!
The small classes are conducted in Italian. There are no dictionaries or phrase books, no iPad or iPhones ... just the language. If the Italian word is unknown to you then you ask the question [in Italian, of course] as to its meaning, The teachers [insegnante] will provide synonyms [or antonyms] or put the word in context in another sentence, or even mime it ... the very last resort is to quickly, quietly, provide the English translation.
Remember, there are students from all over the world so there is not really a common language other than Italian ... students in my various classes have been German, Japanese, Swiss, Austrian, Danish, Indonesian, Hungarian, American, Polish, Chinese, even some English speakers, with various Australian dialects thrown in.
After two or so days you start to wonder, naturally, "What am I doing here?" ... after three or four days you start to reference the things you may have heard on day one or two and slowly, slowly things become a bit clearer. It is that dawn of understanding, that moment or flash, that makes it all so rewarding .... "a-a-h-h... so that's what that means".
Italian Graffiti Centre for Italian Language & Culture
10 Help Street,
Chatswood NSW 2067 Australia
Italian Language, Cultural and Culinary School
Via Tommaso Pendola, 37
53100 Siena - Italy
Skype Contact: sda,siena
Tel. +39 0577 49533
Il Sasso talian Language School
Via di Gracciano nel Corso, 2
Tuscany - Italy
Tel. +39 0578 758 311
Rio Terà Canal 3116/a
Venezia - Italy
Tel. +39 0415 224 331